It’s such a conundrum being a Jesus-follower. I want to live my faith, I want to trust God’s will, I want to follow His word but everyday my humanity paralyzes me from doing so. I think, what if He gives me what I pray for, what if I ask Him for an opportunity to live out my faith and He presents it and I fail! God is gracious…I know that, but graciousness has to have limits and when I ask for something and He gives it and then I ignore it how could He possibly continue to extend grace. Maybe this makes sense to you, maybe it doesn’t but as I continue to read the bible in combination with “Irresistable Revolution” I find myself hesitating to pray for an opportunity to live the life of such amazing sacrifice because I know it has many more implications for the long-run than just feeling good because I gave something to someone in need.

Today I read 2 Corinthians 9. I didn’t actually check if it was in my scheduled reading but I figured I’d just go with whatever chapter was next after my last reading (it actually was purely laziness in not wanting to trek up the stairs to get my daily reading pamphlet). What was more funny though was that in my laziness God spoke to me…”12. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what they need. Then there will be equality.” Powerful hey??? Paul was extolling the Corinthian church for their generosity despite their poverty. Honoring their sacrifice for the love of God and each other. What if we did that. What if just our one lowly town decided that for even a week we could sacrifice a portion of the immense wealth we have to assure that every homeless, starving person on our streets could eat, dress, sleep properly. Could you imagine the effect that would have? It’s crazy cool to imagine but a whole other thing to live out right?

Here are a few more challenges I saw over the week from Claiborne’s book:

“I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” (p. 113)

“Many spiritual seekers have not been able to hear the words of Christians because the lives of Christians have been making so much horrible noise. It can be hard to hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit amid the noise of Christendom.” (p.127)

“I heard one gospel preacher say it like this, as he really wound up and broke a sweat: ‘We’ve got the unite ourselves as one body. Because Jesus is coming back, and he’s coming back for a bride, not a harem.'” (p. 145)

For even if the whole world believed in resurrection, little would change until we began to practise it.” (p. 150)

“I’m convinced that God did not mess up and make too many people and not enough stuff. Poverty was not created by God but by you and me, because we have not learned to love our neighbors as ourselves.” (p. 169-170)

So much truth in each little nugget of a statement. Do you see why I can feel the push to trust God and take the gigantic leap of actually living out this biblical truth of loving my neighbor as myself but at the same time feel my heart’s thunderous beat in anxiety over what might come of that? I know God is great, I know He is merciful, I know He will supply for me even as He takes care of the birds of the air and lilies of the field. But then I hear the booming voice of my greatest enemy, my own doubt, telling me…”but what if He isn’t and doesn’t”.

So I’m reading this amazing book that was recommended to me by a co-worker! I think it’s funny actually because I’ve always been more of a fiction reader but in the last year or so I’ve picked up more than a few non-fiction books and actually finished them.

This one is definitely a little more challenging as far as what I’m going to choose to do with the conviction in my heart to actually follow through with some of the points the author is trying to make. What I love most about this book is the no nonsense approach he has and the truth he speaks. He refers to scripture accurately and asks many of the questions I believe our generation has been thinking for some time now but feel intimidated to ask. His heart is the heart of all Christ-followers who yearn for something more but fear seeking it out and what it will mean. His style of writing is unique in that it’s challenging without holding a tone of condemnation or judgement, as many authors tend to do. He makes me want to seek what God is doing and take part in it and affirms a few ideas that have been purcolating in my mind over the last few months.

I haven’t finished it yet but here are a few snippets that have made me think and laugh all at the same time:

“I’ve seen people gather around and lay hands on the sick. Others anoint people with oil. But when Jesus wants to heal a blind guy, he picks up some dirt off the ground, spits in it, and then wipes it on the dude’s eyes (John 9:6). That’s weird. No one else did that. Can you imagine the other religious leaders? ‘Rabbi, could you hack me up a holy loogie?'” (p.40)

“Rich [Mullins] stood up in chapel and said, ‘You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to a guy too…But I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.'” (p. 98-99)

The last comment I’ll share really did strike the deepest nerve for me in my “comfort” level and the sacrifice my Savior has made for me.

“True, the cross is not always seeker sensitive. It is not comfortable. But it is the cornerstone of our faith, and I fear that when we remove the cross, we remove the central symbol of the nonviolence and grace of our Lover. If we remove the cross, we are in danger of promoting a very cheap grace. Perhaps it should make us uncomfortable. After all, it wasn’t so comfy to get nailed there.”

I’m sure I’ll have a few more great quotes to share as I continue reading this book and being challenged. Just a side-note that I have tried to be diligent in picking up the bible first and doing some “straight from the source” reading before returning to this latest find and I’m consistently amazed and inspired that God honors that with words that I need to hear or thoughts that I can journal and reflect on how my life is changing and maturing.

If you want some inspiration for yourself and would rather read everything in context I really encourage you to pick this up and delve into it. It’s called “Irresistable Revolution” by Shane Clairborne. It’s published by Zondervan and copyrighted 2006.