Radical Discipleship 101 – Part III
Posted on July 7, 2009
I’ve been asked to write some website material for a Christian conference in 2010. I thought I would post the 6 sections here and see what response I get. The audience for the website is likely to be Christians who are attracted to justice but haven’t heard much of the theology behind it; this is entry level radical discipleship.
‘Where does this journey start?’
The journey of compassion & justice begins when we see things clearly. When William Wilberforce set foot on a slave boat and saw, truly and clearly, the horror of oppression, his journey of radical discipleship began. When we see the injustice of the gap between our wealth and the poverty of millions, our journey of radical discipleship begins. Whenever we open our eyes to the cruelty around us, and respond with compassion, we have already embarked on the journey.
The journey starts wherever you find yourself. Zacchaeus the tax collector was in a very different place to Bartimaeus the blind man or the Samaritan woman at the well. That didn’t matter. They all followed. The journey starts despite how inadequate you feel or how little you know. The disciples knew very little of Jesus when they started and not much more by the end. That didn’t matter. They all followed.
In this river of compassion, truth and justice, Jesus doesn’t really mind what sort of stroke we do, how fast we swim or if we need floaties. In fact, knowing our own inadequacies and poverty is essential if we are to enter into the poverty of others. We do not love the poor because we have the answers. Our wealth & privilege are actually barriers to reconciliation with God, and with all those who are oppressed. By serving those on the margins, we are given the opportunity to shed the skin of privilege, thereby entering the kingdom of God, where there are no rich or poor. We love others because we know that, despite our indifference, selfishness and greed, God loves us.