Friday, February 17, 2006

Barbaric Orthodoxy

The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus is a short read in the storybook style which anybody could read in an evening. With a background in political military affairs, I found the constant reference to being a "barbarian" a little discomforting as I am quite particular about historical accuracy. But, if one were to read his work critically, you would easily be able to separate the difference between the literal and the implied meaning. It is obvious that he is relying on the connotation of the word and in no way hopes to make a historical commentary . However, let us not dwell on semantics.

My real point of this post is why must we refer to an authentic faith as "The Barbarian Way"? Is it that when we water down the gospel, pervert, or distort it, a return to authentic faith requires us to get radical in our descriptions?

Pastor Mark Batterson loves this quotes from Dorothy Sayers. "To do them justice, the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because he was a bore. Quite the contrary; he was too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have declawed the lion of Judah and made him a housecat for pale priests and pious old ladies."

Are we called to radicalism or is it that the genuine call is radical when compared to the norm? G.K. Chesterton states "People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy."

How is it that fishermen are turned into fishers of men, a shepherd boy slays a giant and is made king of Israel, a cupbearer made governor, and one of the greatest persecutors of the faith becomes one of its most ardent defenders? Was there journey perilous? Exciting? Adventurous? Without a doubt. Is this way barbaric? Maybe. If you do not think so, perhaps we must get more graphic than this.

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