Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Radical, by David Platt

First Lisa read (and raved) about it (more than a few times). Then Melissa did. Then Ronnica did and made the statement that the only thing she needed to say about it was: Go out and buy it. How could I possibly resist after that?!

In short, this book came highly recommended to me. So I put it on my Amazon wishlist and Jonathan bought it for me for my birthday. I instantly devoured it (sharing one passage here) and then Jonathan devoured it and we both LOVED it!

This book gives the church of God (and the Christians in it) a good kick in the pants. A much needed kick in the pants! Platt writes to challenge American Christians in particular to dive into a deeper faith that might actually cost them something.

These days, Platt argues, American Christians have become far too complacent, settling for what is easy and tastes good to the spiritual palate. We are no longer wrestling with gospel truths that might demand anything from us. Just let us find a cozy church, settle down, remain anonymous, do our own thing and really, sacrifice nothing. The first half of the book is a real zinger to the modern mindset that we're all ok just pluggin' away at half truths and accepting whatever watered-down version comes trickling down the pike. He says:

"In this book I want to show you that, with the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus. We have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel he taught. Here we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, by individualism, materialism, and universalism. Yet I want to show you our desperate need to revisit the words of Jesus, to listen to them, to believe them, and to obey them. We need to return with urgency to a biblical gospel, because the cost of not doing so is great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us." (page 19)
He makes some pretty bold statements as to what the church today is doing to water down scriptures and how it is having the effect of producing watered down Christians. (Actually, it reminded me of a quote by Charles Swindoll in which Swindoll said that if you preach sermonettes, you'll get Christianettes.) Platt says this:

"We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. Our hearts resonate with the idea of enjoying God's grace. We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the sad result is a self-centered Christianity that by-passes the heart of God." (pages 69-70)
Like Lisa, I'm tempted to just go on quoting the book to you in this review. Let's just say that a lot of what Platt said resonated within me and I'm excited about it. Add my recommendation to the pile. That sort of thing. This is a much needed book.

One thing I'm glad of:

This book made it to the New York Times Bestseller list. I can only hope it has an impact.

One thing that kinda rankled me about it:

Platt has a very mission minded approach to the church which is absolutely fantastic and something I'm not inclined to quibble with. We should all have a heart for missions in some form or fashion. No beef there. But I did feel like he wouldn't easily accept the idea that a mother is working her own mission field in the home. He was bent on thinking outside the home, your church family and the local community. He really does work hard to preach a global mission message and I know that has great appeal for those who do feel called to go global. I don't believe we're all called to go global in the sense that we all need to dash out and purchase international airplane tickets. Right now I'm called to the bedroom upstairs and the two little people who lay their heads to rest there. That's my call. That's my mission for the moment. And I'm not about to start apologizing for it. I think that a stay at home mother has a great work to do and her work does and will effect the future. I don't know what my children will grow up to be, but I know that I am called to act responsibly towards them at the present moment and so home truly is where my heat is - and needs to be.

That's the one and only issue I took with the book, but otherwise, I think its hands down fantastic and he said some things that just needed to be said! Furthermore, he said some things that need to be heard and acted upon.

Yes, I do highly recommend this read. And I feel like I'm in good company in doing so.

This review linked to the I Read It carnival at 5 Minutes for Books.


Melissa said...

I'm so glad you read it! I've loaned my copy out, and really want it back soon. I'd like to refer to it every now and then when I need that kick in the pants!

I didn't get the impression that Platt was minimizing the mission of motherhood. I never thought about it, actually...and it's been a while since I read it, so maybe I've forgotten or missed it. I felt that his call to be globally-minded could mean just being more aware & praying, or sending financial support if you're able.

One of the main things I took away from this book was my own willingness to take my freedom to worship for granted, and turn it into a license to be entertained. In light of what others around the world sacrifice to have just bare bones worship, I should be ashamed.

Great review!

Lisa notes... said...

Amen! I love your confidence in your call. It is where God wants you to be right now, raising your little ones and taking care of the one on the way.

I loved this book, too. Very inspirational and I'm so glad I had a chance to read it. Thanks for your review. said...

Thanks...I keep hearing about this book over and over again, and he has a relationship with my pastor.
I need to read it.

I totally agree with your ending comments on a stay at home mom...I have been one for 27 years with six children. Their lives will touch more than mine every will...either for good or my first obligation is to raise them pointing them to the Lord.

I also believe that the mission field is right in my back yard, down my streets, in my own city...I don't need a passport for that...even though my children have gone globally, I feel mine is more right around me...mentoring in the schools to a high risk child

Hull.Margaret said...

Yes your mission field is your home and your children...but perhaps (although I have not read the book) to look at it from a "global" standpoint, do you have playdates for your children, that way you are reaching out to other kids and affecting their lifes too. That is what I did when my children were little and I wss a stay at home mom. I had the neighborhood children play with my kids and verbally told them "jesus Loves you". Just a thought

Kara said...

I have this one sitting on my Kindle app waiting to read. I appreciated hearing your thoughts on it! I also liked what Kevin DeYoung over at Gospel Coalition had to say about it. Now, I just need to get it to the top of my list and actually read it! :-)

Unknown said...

It was a good book, and I need to write up a review on my blog (since it was a review copy!!!).b

Ronnica said...

Glad you followed my advice. =) I think we all have our biases. Platt, as a man, can forget what a calling it is to be a mother. That said, he did mention how Christians fostering and adopting children is one way to live out our Christian faith, which is one way you are.

I hope that this makes a difference, but I'm afraid it won't. I liked this article on the topic.

Lisa Spence said...

Glad you read it. Re: what rankled, I can see how he could give that perception but I don't think he purposely excluded the mission of motherhood because he sought to intentionally minimize it. But I don't really know because like Melissa I never really considered that when I read the book. All that to say: you're right in that motherhood is your primary call and mission field and you are right to see it as your priority!

Hope you are feeling better these days!

A Faithful Journey said...

I have been wanting to read this book ever since hearing about it on Ann Voskamp's blog! Must go out and buy this! :)
Thanks for the excellent review!

Janet said...

Sounds like this book has a thesis I agree with. Sometimes I think that the "cultural Christianity" America has had -- which some folks want so much to "reclaim for America" -- is the worst thing that ever happened here. The gospel is more likely to regain its original sharpness and glow in the midst of adversity.

Don't mean to be preaching. I enjoyed your review, and get the sense that this book has the tang of truth. Good stuff.

Amen to your thoughts on motherhood, too!

BerlinerinPoet said...

I'm glad I found this review. I'm just about to start this book and I'm glad it came with a Carrie approved stamp. :-)

I think my mom would sympathize with "your mission" by the way. I think someone needs to write about the mission of motherhood (perhaps this has already been done). I mean, you're with your children all day, and just because they are born into a Christian home doesn't mean they are saved. So, you ARE witnessing and disciplining. So many people overlook how important that is. I went to a Mission to the World conference back in 07 (I think) and one of the lectures was about starting an outreach to missionary kids. I found that heartbreaking. I can't believe your own children have to be sacrificed for your "mission." *rant rant rant* hahaha

OTHER than that, I'm sure I'm going to love this book, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

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