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Radical living in a comfortable world

It’s a new year, time to take a fresh look at the focus of this blog.  I’d like to solicit your input on two fronts:   a) Is this blog working for you? Where else do we need to focus?    b) Look at your own life in light of the blog’s theme.   Radical living i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
It’s a new year, time to take a fresh look at the focus of this blog.  I’d like to solicit your input on two fronts:
  a) Is this blog working for you? Where else do we need to focus? 
  b) Look at your own life in light of the blog’s theme.
Radical living implies looking at Jesus and his ways and making them our own.  Radical is a word that means “from the root.” Jesus put it another way, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” And if he’s our vine, he’s also our root. A disciple lives like his master lived.
A comfortable world is where we in the west live.  It’s so disproportionate when compared with the misery of the world’s poor, it makes doing what Jesus did almost impossible.
We need to work hard at reconciling the tension between our two realities. This blog I wrote a while back clarifies our challenge and the video below brings it home at a heart level.   We need to feel the urgency of it.  Matt. 25 describes how our creator will weigh our lives according to how we negotiated this tension.  So, here’s the question of a lifetime: How do you propose to live radically in our comfortable world?

Comments (15)

  • Thanks for challenging us – great question and moving video. Thanks for the reminder. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog – but will be following along.

  • Hello my friend. The question you pose is a tension we manage not a problem we solve but it must involve letting go, leaning in, learning more, lifting high and lonely roads.

    I’ll explain that “path” in an email to you.

    In the meantime, much love.


    There are so few people who really “get it” these days, particularly in ministry. You do, & you share it with the world through this blog.

    Keep doing that.

    Thanks a lot for the word you share each day.

  • we are listening & praying – trembling- as you & your teammates remind us that loving God involves action & discomfort & so easy to miss hope.

  • That really is a huge question! And it is one for which the answer is fluid – sometimes it can mean putting everything else on hold, going off on mission for a year or longer. Sometimes it can mean being a consistent Christian influence where you live and work. I think God’s call is to radical commitment to loving Him and being flexible as to how He wants that expressed, allowing Him to redirect your living, your giving, your very life.

    Chewing on the question of what God’s doing right now in my life……..good prompt as ever.

    A PS: I note Dan’s worry above, which probably reflects a few people’s thoughts out there, who would miss what you say if you didn’t say it anymore on here. But thinking back over your comments from the past few days, maybe you should write less frequently? Daily is quite a commitment. Weekly would still be wonderful. Just a thought. Your focus needs to be where God tells you to put it. Sometimes things need laying down or changing, as well you know from experience!! The most fruitful things get pruned or they cease being so fruitful. Most important thing is to obey God’s voice to you.

    Love ya! Cxx

  • I had not considered the concept of radical living in a comfortable world before I started reading your blog this past year. Most of the time, I am just trying to deal with my own daily struggles, but I have opened my heart to others more than before and I’ve been able to be less selfish with my time. And the whole thing is more clear to me now, what being a Christian really is. I am not radical, but my thinking has changed and I believe my heart is changing, too. Thank you for your help.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    a) yes, this blog works for me. Am really interested in what everyone has to say to help us be “bloggers” for Christ.
    b) many times the blogs hit me right where I am at…and challenges me to do something about it, not just say amen, and not be changed.
    I really need this blog, and truly appreciate all the things you all say. thanks

  • This blog has changed my life. When I became a Christian many years ago, I was converted to Christ and the church instead of to Christ and the Kingdom. There’s a huge difference there. I am shifting life in the kingom, and you have helped me wake up to my “identity and role” in the Kingdom, Seth, through this blog. So yeah I guess it’s kinda workin’ for me. 🙂

    In light of the blog’s theme, I am in the process of “de-Americanizing” my dreams. My life is not about achieving ever increasing levels of comfort and security like it used to be. I am now cutting the ropes that hold me back one by one until we are free to go wherever God calls us to go. May we go to the darkest places and we’ll take a little of God’s dynamite and pray and pray until He explodes it for the kingdom.

    We are ready to pull up the stakes of our tent and move…either to Gainesville, or to Swaziland, or wherever… All we’re waiting for us the word to go forward. To me, that’s radical.

  • seth…

    i got turned on to all this thru a friend who knows rusty jackson, and i started reading his blog, and from there i got here. much of what you write resonates with me… some of it confirms things i’m already feeling, thinking about and doing… some of it convicts me of things i should be about but have not been.

    a number of years ago i went through a study called “Experiencing God” and one of the foundations of that study is to see where God is already at work, and join Him there. i think that takes on many forms, including right where we live, as well as to the utter ends of the earth. doing what i can, and supporting those who are doing what i cannot do are the ways i’m trying to live radically in a comfortable world. but i’m never really quite satisfied, and will never get to the point where i am satisfied… not in this lifetime.

    keep on doing what you’re doing, and writing what you’re writing.

  • Seth, the number of comments – I am quite sure – is only a small fraction of those who actually read and benefit from your writing. I, for one, would love to make it required reading of all my youth group students. I’ve printed many of your articles in order to refer back to them easier, or to share them with others. In the meantime, in a church that values keeping the status quo, and struggles with people who want to change things to be a bit more like Christ’s heart, your blog helps me keep my heart and mind fixed on Christ’s heart for the lost, broken, hurting, poor, and those in captivity – literally, emotionally, or spiritually. Please continue to write and challenge us. In light of my printing things off, one change I would suggest is creating a link that would put your post in a printer-friendly format. Please continue to pursue God, and thank you for sharing how you’re doing that with humility, passion, and honesty.

  • Seth, I appreciate this blog SO MUCH! It has made a huge impact in the life of myself, my husband and our family… thank you for helping me to come back to some of my forgotten/abandoned dreams of helping orphans around the world. The title of the blog is so true, as I struggle with that tension all the time…and at times am very frustrated as to how to live 100% for Christ in our current comfortable suburban life. But I am trusting God to lead us, and thank Him for using people like you and the world racers and others at AIM to help us seek Him and all that He has for us to do in this world. We are hoping to make some major adjustments in our life this year if and when God calls!

  • I hope you know that I appreciate the blog and the insight and challenges you present for us to pnder. If you miss a day or two, that is OK because the thoughfullness of your messages is worth the wait.
    Between Allison’s Race experience, your blog and the challenges we are having here, I appreciate your messages more and more. While I can’t rip away physically and do a trip, I am living it daily as I read the Racers reports on what they are seeing around the owrld. So, keep inspiring them, teaching us, and loving all those people you care about. We care about you t,oo.

    As for the dust and cobwebs…there may be gold hidden away so don’t just sweep them out, at least glance at them.


    Steve J
    The World Race Dad

  • a) heck yeah. I like checking in, and sometimes what you write is an encouragement, sometimes a challenge, but you keep me on my toeswhich is a good thing

    b) case in pointI have been living too comfortably and veering away from the radical side too much. I’ve recognized it in part on my own, but there’s something really powerful about being called out on it. Thanks.

  • Erin Brumit (Matamoros, Mexico)

    Seth, thanks for posting that video. I needed that reminder of what is truly important today.

  • I hope to continue to give away, share or use “my” comforts towards the Kingdom of God for the sake of the poor.

    Spend less, give more. Stop wasting time and invest it in family and ministry. Use my energy towards encouragement, prayers and service to others.

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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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