Friday, April 1, 2011

The Need for Radical Discipleship @christianaudio @caReviewers

The idea of discipleship is a hot topic right now, as is the idea of being a "radical" follower of Christ. Different people have different takes on what discipleship and radical actually mean. In what may be his last book, John Stott writes about what he has learned is the nature of a radical disciple in The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling. He addresses eight topics: nonconformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death.

Each of these topics have been discussed often ad nauseum, particularly in the social justice and missional literature. Add to that the spiritual formation works, and there was very little I heard in the book that hadn't been said elsewhere (and often said better, to be honest). It was not a bad book; it just didn't seem all that radical to me.

The lack of radicalness (is that a word?) may be because the ideas don't seem all that new or that Stott uses more formal language that fits his older British Anglican heritage. Just this reaction itself may be important for us to evaluate how we define radical. At what point do we see radical as ordinary because we are numb to it or bored with it? Do we always need to change what is radical in order to be radical? Should we always be radical?

I thought the final chapters on dependence and death, though, were particularly interesting and insightful. Stott accurately noted that most people do just about everything in their power in order to not be burdens on others. He noted that we are meant to be burdens on one another in order to foster interdependence. I've never heard anyone say that before, but I would agree.

Stott's text (or audio, as I experienced it) was not earth-shattering in my experience, but is a nice short summary of what one person sees as radical discipleship. One of the things I appreciated was that he noted that his form of discipleship may not be applicable to all people, but that we should all seek our own discipleship. That acknowledges and emphasizes the importance of personal application.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review (with no obligation for a positive review).

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