Living the Dream

I was just reading a blog of a guy I never met. He was describing his life, his house, his wife, his kids, his neighborhood, his education, his past-times; he summed it up with “Life is good.”

It immediately made me think. I think slowly, and I just finished reading his blog less than 2 minutes ago, so I want to wash my hands of anything I choose to write about in the next few minutes.

I want to take you back to a very specific moment in time in my life. The year was 1990 and the month was June. I was in the foothills of Altoona, PA with several tens of thousands of people at a little party called “The Creation Festival”. Never heard of it? Get a glimpse here.

Let’s just suffice it to say that it’s a 5 day campout with Jesus. And loud music. And renowned speakers like a guy named Tony Campolo.

At least, Tony was one of the speakers when I was there. In fact, as far as I’m concerned he was the only speaker there, because I don’t remember anyone else. That’s the impact he had on me.

One of the many statements I remember Tony saying was this:
“If you’re living a safe life, you’re not walking with Jesus.”

And I look around at my neighborhood. My house. My car. My ministry. My paved driveway. My lawn. My suburbia.
And I think to myself, “Is this relative safety a mark of a contentedness of sorts?” I mean, because I live in a white-bread suburb of Richmond, VA…does that make me or my ministry lame? What was Tony getting at? Was it an indictment on the relative quiet of suburbia and the ministry that happens there?

Is the so-called “American dream” of living in an established environment a sure sign that I’m ready for the ministry morgue? I don’t think so.

Here’s what I think Tony meant. And if you know anything about him, you’re likely to agree.
It’s more about radicalism. It’s more about activism. It’s more about making sure I’m being, but just as sure that I’m doing. It’s about running past the gates of Hell and dragging people out. It’s about wrecklessness, wild-eyed obedience to Jesus, and doing and going where others won’t go, doing what others won’t do. Because life like that isn’t likely to be comfortable, or stay comfortable, or be concerned or consumed by comfort.

I’ll put the screeching halt on this before it turns into some full-blown manifesto. The world doesn’t need any more of those–what it needs is Jesus, alive and well in me.

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