A few months ago, I stopped reading and then slowly writing. I was tired of reading all sides of the same story that was actually the same side from different perspective. So I have started reading things that I don’t agree with. Don’t worry I still can’t read Fox News or TMZ but I did start trying to give another chance to those whom I dismissed previously.
I have grabbed some books off my shelves that have been hard to take and restarted them.
Radical is one. I never read it because I listened to the author’s preaching first. I didn’t agree with a lot of what he said. Specifically hell and how many people were going. I am not sure I agree with a literal hell…but I am not sure I disagree with a hell either, or need to know if it is real for me to love my neighbor as myself.
But I picked it up and hoped to read through it before I made judgments. In the first 6 pages I think I read every Christianese phrase that has made my skin crawl in the last few years.
I agreed with his stories, just the filter it was presented through and the inappropriate emphasis made me put it down…4 times. Then I start skimming in the second chapter and into the third. By the 4th I dropped it again and left it in the car for another week.
Last Saturday I went to get some tires on the car and needless to say it took a while. I grabbed the book and started reading. And started watching the infomercial about a new exercise program. Then read some. Then watched another special presentation on an infrared cooker. Then read a little before I was skimming 10 pages a minute and glancing at headings. And well I finished the book before I judged.
But I barely read it.
As I wondered if I was messed up and why I just couldn’t read a book. Was I really that stuck in my ways that I refused to even listen to a counterpoint.
Then, I realized I wasn’t the target audience. The book wasn’t radical to me. I lived his stories and experienced the craziness of going back to the US church and telling them there are more important things than what color the vestments are….like the starving people we passed on the way in.
I’ve been living it for 10 years now. Giving time and money away. Giving up cars (twice), places (4x) and friends and family (12x). I have been rejected and called crazy to my face and maybe that is what he wanted. So maybe this book impacted people that chose the career, spouse or money over the call or sacrifice.
But when I say that it is for others and not me, I am writing in the same style that annoyed me in Radical. The style of the “I am better at this life thing than you”, which I guess why the genre is called self-help…I am sorry “Christian Living”.