Radical Discipleship: An Invitation to be Led by the Spirit in Prayer

JoBy Rev. Joanna Lawrence Shenk

*This is part of a series of pieces from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

A version of this article was first preached at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco on March 31, 2019

During Lent this year I experienced a stripping away, a reorientation in a vulnerable and uncomfortable way. I recognized my need for God and guidance by the Spirit anew. It has led to questions such as:

Where is the Spirit at work?
Am I attentive enough to follow the Spirit’s leading?
Am I courageous enough to follow?
Do I actually need God or do I think I’m okay with my analysis and intention to do good in the world?

 

In this time prayer has become a central practice. Continue reading

Everyday Radical

IMG_1388By Rev. Joanna Harader (right)

*This is part of a series of pieces from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

I was struck by Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie’s statement that, in thinking of “radical discipleship,” “there is only discipleship.” The adjective is unnecessary, because to follow Jesus is radical. Period.

I get the temptation to add “radical,” though. Because we want to differentiate actually following Jesus from what too often passes as being Christian in our society. We add “radical” to remind ourselves that discipleship is not about just believing the right theology or showing up in the right place every Sunday or voting for the right political party or hanging the right calligraphied Bible verse poster above our couch. Continue reading

A Faith of Expansive Hospitality and Prodigal Vulnerability

NephsBy Tommy Airey (right: posting up with the nephews)

*This is part of a series of pieces from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

In the wilderness journey of deconstructing the white suburban fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity of my adolescence, I am reclaiming a Christian faith of expansive hospitality and prodigal vulnerability. My foot race to the empty tomb has been spurred on by conversation partners who are non-white, non-male, non-hetero and more-than-human. The binary bombs are bursting in air! I am intentionally taking my cues from Black and Indigenous and Immigrant freedom struggles. This marks the trailhead for my journey of radical discipleship to a divinity defined by Steadfast Love. Continue reading

In The End, It’s Not Perfection

20181215_122508 (1)By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie 

*This is part of a series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

When I think about the definition of “radical” discipleship, the first thing that comes to mind is there is only discipleship. In other words what has come to be known as “radical discipleship” is discipleship. All else is “nominal discipleship.” That is not to say that disciples are perfect, as Peter clearly demonstrates. Rather, it is aspirational and made concrete through actions in accordance with what Jesus taught. It is not enough to call oneself a Christian, a disciple. Nor is it enough to be able to quote scripture. Rather, the measure of our discipleship is our capacity to love as Jesus commanded, including our enemies. Discipleship calls us to love and seek justice for the poor and marginalized among us, especially the vulnerable, which in our time includes the very Earth and her endangered flora and fauna. Continue reading

Latin-X Discipleship

Josh LR2By Rev. Josh Lopez-Reyes (right), Pastor and Community Life Specialist at The Loft in Los Angeles, California

*This is the 15th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

What is radical discipleship? As I reflect on this question, the image of deep-dirty soil comes to mind. As many contributors have reminded us via this wonderful online community of resisters, the word ‘radical’ comes from the Latin radix or radic meaning roots. Therefore, radical discipleship is the inherit, deep and primary essence of apprenticeship concerning the brown Palestine prophet and peasant. As the Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre reminds us in, The Politics of Jesús: A Hispanic Political Theology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), this is nevertheless saying “no” to Jesus.[1] That is, it is the rejection of a comfortable, gnostic, white supremacist savior. Radical discipleship is about going to the roots of our tradition, to recover the profoundly deep solidarity of Creator’s love demonstrated in the one who was crucified on Good Friday in unity with the crucified communities of our world.[2] However, it is also about going deep into the roots of who we are. It is about revealing the beloved community as the unique creation that the Creator birthed us to be. In my case, it is about being Latin-X. Continue reading

On The Floor

Rev Spaet (1)By Rev. Erika Spaet (right)

*This is the 14th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

I learned to cook from the kitchen floor.

As a kid, while the evening rituals unfolded in our suburban New Jersey home–the nightly news, the coming in from traffic, the smell of onions in the skillet–I would get onto the linoleum floor and recline under the kitchen prep table that held my mother’s cookbooks. From there, I watched her rock back and forth, from stove to fridge, and make our meals. She, my unknowing teacher; me, her odd, lackadaisical student. Something about the canopy of that table made it my favorite place in the house. It’s also where our labrador, Max, used to hang out. Continue reading

Taught By The Trees

Kim RedBy Kim Redigan, a teacher, organizer and author in Detroit, Michigan

*This is the 13th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

There was an April day in a small West Bank town when a group of us serving on a peace team witnessed ancient olive trees ripped from the ground by a confluence of machines and the military – an act of violence that literally drove us to our knees in grief.

Years later, I danced among the olive groves in a small village in Greece with my great-aunt Demetra where ancestral trees brought me home to myself, awakening something deep down inside that speaks truth older than history. The same brilliant Mediterranean sun throbbing against a canvas of brilliant blue, the same terraced hills that undulate like patterned green blankets rolled out by Mother Earth, the same brown ground that feels solid and familiar under the feet. Continue reading