Something that Meghan (my fiance...yes, I'm engaged) and I both really like to do is read. It is something that we have always done in our spare time alone, but has never really been something that we do as a couple. Since we started dating, we have read a couple books together (a couple relationship books to help me be a better boyfriend/fiance). We have both really enjoyed reading together and spending time together that way, so we decided to keep that going.
Tonight we started a book called Radical. Just from the opening chapter, it seems like its the kind of book that is going to either really challenge me to start living my life in a different way, or make me question exactly what the author is getting at and be almost judgmental of the whole book.
After reading the first chapter, Meghan and I started talking about what we thought and parts that stuck out to us. We started discussing how we thought the author was almost intentionally making us feel like we suck at being Christians because we fail to reach out to the poor or follow Jesus in a more radical way. The author mentioned some of the tactics that Jesus used in His ministry such as using teachings that were so challenging that He drove followers away, asking His disciples to give up everything to follow Him, require suffering and persecution along their journey, etc.
This was a point where Meghan and I had some differing thoughts. She mentioned that this thought kind of scared her. She said that it made her really uncomfortable to think that she might not be sacrificing enough. That by the time we are done reading this book, that she will have rethought things so much that living out our daily lives feels like its not right and we will feel a need to change everything and step out of our comfort zone. It scares her to think of Jesus as something other than a comforter, especially if He is someone that requires such a radical life of His disciples.
This same thought that scared Meghan gave me a different feeling. I immediately thought that I love this about Jesus. I love that He required so much of His followers and taught things that were so hard to grasp that by the time He was done teaching, and there were only a few followers left, He really knew who was in for the long haul. I love seeing Jesus as the "all that is man" type of guy. The Jesus that wants the most out of His disciples and expects great things from them because He knows that they are capable. The Jesus that calls people into a radical relationship with Him. It excites me!
At the same time though, I see how it is a scary thought. I have always been someone who likes change and ushers it in with open arms. I generally like being challenged to step outside my comfort zone. But I know that there are people who get scared by the very thought of change. Who love their comfort zone and would stay there forever if they could. I was really encouraged by my conversation with Meghan after reading this book for a few reasons...one...it is really nice to have a time like this to just spend time together and talk, which is something that I think people take for granted...two...I love that Meghan and I can push each other a little bit to see things in a way that we normally wouldn't...and three...I really think that this book is going to make us think about a lot of things in our life right now.
I'm excited for what else this book has to bring...for the conversations it sparks. And I hope that everyone reading this blog has some kind of opportunity to do something like this as well. It is always good to learn and strengthen each other up in love.