Common Sense Christian

The Thinking Christian’s Site

Daily Devotional – August 14

THE RADICAL

I was called a radical today and banned from the church.

Last Wednesday night I spoke the “truth in love” confessing to my former class that I, along with some in the church, had been complicit in “discarding” a spiritual baby upon the scrap heap, and leaving it for death.


First, I love this church, its people and its pastor.  Dearly. I had left this church once before, years ago, because some black kids had come to my class, and I had been asked by the church leadership to ask them to leave and go to the “black church.” I refused, but they were still asked to leave by others. I struggled with my conscience and my heart for two weeks and finally resigned and left.Two years later I came back to the church, hoping it had changed.

I served again for over 6 years when one day a young man who had just accepted Christ started coming to the class.

Dennis was an interesting, albeit troubled, young man. He wore pants with large chains on them, painted his fingernails, wore mascara, and did funny things with his hair.

Not long after he came, the murmuring began. There were even those in the church that said that if Dennis stayed, that they would leave the church. “Dennis was just there to flirt with the girls,” some said. “He is out of control and dangerous, he has caused trouble in other churches!” said others.

The leadership of the church approached me again (like before) and “encouraged” me to “encourage” Dennis to move on. There were confrontations forced between several of the members and Dennis, and it wasn’t long until Dennis was given exactly 3 weeks to “change.”  Failing to meet the deadline given he was pushed away.

A spiritual baby.

A tiny spark of God’s, abandoned, tossed out into the cold to die.

A gift of God’s love–an opportunity given to us to prove our love and maturity.

However…

We were uninterested in dealing with the baby poop, uninterested in the inconvenience of teaching him to eat his food, uninterested in protecting and nurturing him.

I fought for Dennis–I wanted to keep him, but in retrospect, I didn’t fight hard enough and have to admit my guilt that I was relieved to see him tossed into the cold and left to “die.”


I have confessed this before my God, but on Wednesday I confessed before my former class as guest speaker.Today I was told that I was a radical with a “head full of nonsense,” and to never come back.At first I was a little disappointed. I do love the people, I do love the pastor.But…as I was being told this, I experienced a peace like I have never felt.  And then began the REJOICING!

Matthew 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

I have no idea where he is now, but I begin a pilgrimage to seek out and find Dennis. I have much to do.

Paul – The Radical

Note: In regards to the video, I would NEVER compare myself to my wondrous Savior, but pay attention to the words.  I think I LIKE the title I have been given: RADICAL.

Prayers for me and my former pastor and church are appreciated.

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August 14, 2007 - Posted by | Spiritual Growth

5 Comments »

  1. Dear Paul, Prayers are being prayed. In those that are somehow unworthy, we meet Jesus. And in the RADICAL, He walks the earth. May you enjoy forever the title: RADICAL, a son of God like the Son sent to show the way He made for us to approach the Father, sins forgiven.

    Jesus was God’s True Wild Man. He was a radical, whose shed blood brings young men like Dennis into God’s Kingdom. May Sweet Jesus touch both you and Dennis, whether you find him or not.

    May God give your former pastor a taste of this freedom. May he throw off the shackles of religion. May God’s peace both abound and grow to the ends of the earth.

    Comment by helenl | August 14, 2007 | Reply

  2. Free?

    Comment by Voice of Reason | August 14, 2007 | Reply

  3. I thought Christ taught inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. God Bless. —Doug

    Comment by unitedcats | August 15, 2007 | Reply

  4. Christ does teach inclusiveness, which is why prayer is in order for the pastor and church. They don’t seem to know that.

    Comment by helenl | August 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. Hi Helen, Doug, Voice!

    The sad thing throughout history is that the “religious” have always placed themselves and others under bondage. But even though Jesus often became angry at the Pharisees for their unbelief, I’m sure he was saddened by it.

    I hurt for these people. I have known many of them since I was a little boy. It hurts to think that even now they have convinced themselves of righteousness, even though surely their conscience sears them. They struggle to find joy, peace and victory in their Christian life, and can only find anger and unrest.

    The justification is always, “We need rules” and its intent has always been to restrict, bind and bring one back into bondage to the beggarly elements of the law. (Gal 4:9). It becomes about an organization, not about individual spiritual growth. It denies the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, in ones’ life, and turns one to works of the flesh–Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    2Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

    We find an example of this in the early Christian church in Acts when the Gentiles who had accepted the Lord were being pressured to be circumcised, and many examples throughout the Bible where men have used religion to control and corrupt those who are simply looking for the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

    A quick story:

    There is a great missionary named Dr. Jack Manly who served in New Guinea, Africa and Australia. The church referenced in this post supported him financially many many years, but it always puzzled me why they seemed oblivious to his example. Dr. Manly, an accomplished linguist, had gone to tribes in New Guinea, primitive cannibals who had never seen a white man, and had broken down the barriers of language, fear and hatred through God’s love. His first congregation were black “nudists!” Yep, they had no clothes, and it was a long while before these people actually wore clothes or even understood them. These people were martyred for Christ–every one of them killed by their own people for their faith as they stood singing to God.

    These saints would not have been welcome for long at this church. They were too different. “They might want to date our children!” or “they aren’t changing quickly enough.” And yet each of those brothers did what we would be hesitant to do–give their lives for the cause of Christ.

    Helen, at first I struggled a little with pride at being called a “radical”-ha! God has reminded me that its not ME, but HIM working through me. I am nothing–HE is everything! Thank you so much for your caring and tenderness! (Love is a radical concept isn’t it?)

    Doug, there is a difference between playing religion and actually having a relationship with our dear Lord. I strongly desire the latter.

    Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Voice, Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    God bless you all!

    Paul

    Comment by bereans | August 15, 2007 | Reply


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