Sunday, July 12, 2015

Radical Christian

All my life I've wanted to be a world changer, to make some big difference in the world. That's what led me to initially consider becoming a missionary or going into the medical field. I was the guy who would eat up books like "Radical" or "Not a Fan" or "Christian Atheist"--you know, those books that promote a radical Christianity. For the longest time, I didn't want a family because I thought they would slow me down. But, one of the things I've been learning (and am still learning) over the past several years is that the greatest ministry anyone can have is in loving his own family. The greatest difference anyone can make in this world is in raising up the next generation and loving those around him.

That's a hard pill for someone like me to swallow. You see, I have this thing called an ego which says it needs to be important. It needs to be noticed. Or at least feel it's going the extra mile to change the world. Somehow, if I'm not doing something that feels "important," I begin to feel unimportant, unrighteous, and lazy. I feel like I'm lost in a sea of people. How will I ever stand out to God?

The ironic thing is that radicalism somehow frees you from what really needs to be done. The more time you spend trying to change the world and talking about how we need to change, the less time you spend doing the little things at home. Radicalism makes you feel fulfilled, like you are accomplishing something, even without any real results. It's like empty calories. The truth is, radicalism is a drug, and I am addicted.

The other day I was reading this article about the future of world religions from the Pew Research Center and found some interesting statistics. Christians have the highest rate of converting out such that 66 million are projected to leave Christianity over the next 40 years. This is orders of magnitude higher than for any other religion. Yet, we will still keep pace with the world population (by percentage) because our birth rate is the second highest of any religion (2.7 children per household). On the other end of the spectrum, the "unaffiliated" category has the highest conversion in rate (again, orders of magnitude higher than any other), yet their percentage total of the world population is projected to decrease simply because of a low birth rate (1.7 children per household). The takeaway here is that our faith, our tradition, is not sustained by winning converts or proving to others that we are right. It's sustained by families.

So the message to myself and anyone else who can relate to this struggle is this: If you want to do something radical, raise a family. Be a part of your community. Forgive. Be kind. We like to make obedience into this big complicated thing so that we might have reason to boast. "Look at me! I'm a ChristianPlus!" But it's not like that at all. It's really quite simple.


  1. Wow! What a thought-provoking insight. The way the statistics play into it is so interesting ... I knew family was important, but this makes that even more apparent. It also goes to show us how much we should dedicate ourselves to raising a godly family or encouraging the family we have ... it's the most important thing we can do with our time and resources. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for commenting. The statistics surprised me as well. I never knew birthrate had such a high impact on the survival of a religion...especially when you consider that the difference between the Christian birthrate and the unaffiliated birthrate is only 1 child per family.