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Jesus offended people and I’m pretty offensive myself

I need to apologize to those who felt I was attacking “Bill” in yesterday’s email when really I was trying to get the would-be “Chads” of the world to think before they default to a given lifestyle simply because it is expected of them. I’ve been reading Jesus’ in-your-face words to…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I need to apologize to those who felt I was attacking “Bill”
in yesterday’s email when really I was trying to get the would-be “Chads” of
the world to think before they default to a given lifestyle simply because it
is expected of them.

I’ve been reading Jesus’ in-your-face words to potential
followers lately – he didn’t leave a whole lot of negotiating room. He told people the reason they didn’t mature
is that they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures. Yet as students graduate from college this
month, that is exactly the kind of heavy yoke that they are being sold.

Hundreds of recruiters have been out there selling them on
the American Dream which boils down to a pile of stuff and a pile of debt. And I’m wondering, who is making Jesus’ pitch
for an abandoned life?

So, Friday morning I woke up and thought, “Someone needs to
put Jesus’ dream of radical abandonment based on kingdom living before them.”

Inspired by the Mac/IBM commercials, I sent the

In the process I offended some good people whose lives look
like Bill’s out there, people who have been called to that life and deserve
honor for obeying the call. This
morning, eight of them emailed me, and those are just the ones that had the
guts to respond.

Here’s one: “This ad was hurtful to my husband who makes an
impact every day in the work place for Our Lord. He also supports and
sends missionaries. A simple quiet life can be lived right in the center of
God’s will.”

So let me offer some context and an apology: my email was
over-the-top and provocative, intended to arouse young people to action. And it worked – 37 young people filled out an
application to be considered for the World Race.

If they engage in that ministry, they will be
asked to live a life of servanthood and discomfort for a year. I promise you they will look more like Jesus
as a consequence. But I want to find the
balance that the email lacked.

we need Bill. Let me state, I pray that
there are more kingdom-minded, sold-out people who are able to live Bill’s
career track and still do what Jesus instructed his disciples to do in Luke
12:15-47. There are many precious
believers who God has called as senders – they make it possible for others to
go. In fact, I count myself in that
number – in truth, most days I’m in an office helping others go – in many ways,
I’m a “Bill,” too. And I struggle with
the issues that Jesus raised as I engage in my support role. I’m comforted
to know that without the Bills of the world, the Chads can’t go.

So, if I offended you, I apologize. I honor you if you have taken an active role
in supporting those who have been called to ministry.

Here is what those of us who have been called to Bill’s
career track need to bear in mind: Following Jesus in our society is
extraordinarily difficult. Materialism
and distraction are constant temptations.
Young people need to learn what it means to be abandoned to Jesus before
settling down. I have found that unless at
some point you’ve lived a life of radical abandon and dependence on Jesus, you
will struggle mightily in following him on his narrow road. After all, this is a guy who said, “Any of
you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) and “No servant can serve two
masters: you cannot serve God and money.”
(Luke 16:13)

I thank God for those of you who have wrestled through these
issues and have the integrity to get up every day and work out your salvation
with fear and trembling before the Lord.
You are no less heroic in your own way than Chad.

Comments (2)

  • Chad’s light is before all men, let me tell you a true story….

    I participate in a bi-monthly dinner that has been going on for many many years in Washington DC. This group includes the people of the Post, WSJ, Times, AOL, Air America, the people that write the headlines, basically the names. Contextually – we use to meet in Katharine Graham’s office.

    And little old me.

    At the last dinner meeting in Chevy Chase the discussion was on youth, motivation, and the passing of meritocracy, well…there is all kinds of meritorcracy. (A number of the people in the room had been in the Peace Corp in the 60’s and early 70’s) I began talking about the kids of the world race, none of whom I think are going to Cornell or Harvard for their MBA or JD.

    The uniform response to my description is that they all wanted to hire them including the former head of the FTC. They could sense the difference.

  • actually I wasn’t offended by you at all Seth , I feel more offended by the ( characture straw man) Bills of this world who keep a short leash on the teenages that Ive been serving and challenging for much of my life. BIlls often teach kids to be safe, be educated, be rich, be bored, be useless : that’s really offensive to the Kingdom. Keep telling it like it is brother.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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