Timelessly Radical

I was reading this morning about Jesus’ parables. About how they were spoken (and recorded) thousands of years ago, but have reminded timeless, pertinent, and meaningful for each generation that has passed. (Which would be approx 26 generations if the average lifespan was 75) I think of how much has changed in just my generation alone and it is remarkable that Jesus has remained relevant throughout 26+ generations.

Timelessness is something that people seem to be searching for a lot right now. To stay young, to stay relevant. But even the best products and people still grow old. The most slick and futuristic gadgets become irrelevant given a short amount of time…and getting even shorter month by month.

But these teachings of Jesus have stayed young…even reading them over and over again, as I have throughout my life, they still hit me in different ways with nearly each reading. Jesus created a worldview that wasn’t just radical for the Jews who first heard him when he was just 30 years old…this worldview is radical for me, a 30 year-old American-born, nomad living in Europe.

Well, at least they should be radical…and urge me on to being radical.

I like the phrase that an author used: Ordinary Radical (Shane Claiborne). I like this because the there is a truth hidden in it. That followers of Jesus should be radical. I ‘ve been using the word ‘rad’ for a long time…well used to use it (and still love the 80’s BMX Movie) But I hadn’t really looked up what it means. My computer’s definition of radical is: relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something.

I like that…affecting the fundamental nature of something. Jesus affected not only the fundamental aspects of Judaism, but also the very nature of being human. Truly radical.

I was watching a documentary about early Christianity the other night and it was saying that over 1/3rd of the earth’s population is Christian (including Catholics) and something didn’t add up. If 1/3rd of the world is following Jesus who was and still is a radical then why does the world not seem like it is constantly radically changing towards being good?

But I started down this rabbit trail because of something closer to home. I was talking with a friend yesterday and he was asking about what we’re doing and his words were, “you’re a radical man…” I didn’t feel like I deserved the title. And this morning I my reading about Jesus’ parables has kind of haunted me. I’ve been in survival mode the past number of months, but now I’m at a place of real inventory. I’m really processing this question: “What does it look like to be a follower of the radical Jesus?”

I think that it looks like generosity
I think that it looks like grace
I think that it looks like gratitude
I think that it looks like being willing to embrace hardship and suffering
I think it means choosing humility
I think that it means these things and a whole lot more…now that I am thinking about it.

I mean, as followers of Jesus our very role is to change the way the world around us to look the way God intended it…our role is to be radicals. Do we deserve the title?


  1. Matt on May 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm


    thanks. I wonder about hunger and brokenness and the touch of honey to the tongue and the IV drip of love into the toxic pool of my shame, and radical to me means in spite of anyone and anything, I risked believing that I am loveable and deeply loved. I am glad you posted today. Glad I got to read it.


  2. Troy on May 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for this, Justin. Great thoughts!

  3. Christine on May 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    great post Justin. deep (as always…unless it has to do with sports. ha ha). so grateful for your transparency.

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