This time last year, I began reading Radical by David Platt. About three chapters in, I chucked the book and refused to finish it.
I did not like the things Platt had to say. I disagreed with his philosophy on life. I disagreed with his theology about God. I viewed him as a radical extremist.
More specifically, I presumed he was a young punk who visited India on a mission trip and became indoctrinated with hate for America.
Then I went to Thailand, and my life upside down.
I came face to face with horrible sin problems and people literally enslaved as a consequence. I also came face to face with my tragically misguided heart and beliefs about Jesus and His Church. I learned that I had unwittingly cloaked the cross in an American flag and bathed the Church in Southern Baptist waters.
You see, before I went to Thailand, I would have told you the Cross will save you from your sins and American ideals will lead you to an abundant life, full and free.
I also would have told you that while any person in any Gospel-based church could be saved, the likelihood of that happening outside of a Southern Baptist church was slim to none.
I would not have actually told you those things because I did not know that I actually believed them.
While serving in Thailand, I worked with an incredible group of godly women that included Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, Catholics, and everything in between. These women, through their myriad of faith expressions, showed me that God is much bigger and greater than I imagined.
They reminded me that He authored the Church not just a specific denomination.
As I interacted with women working in the sex trade industry and the ministries seeking to help them find their way out, I realized that the solution to the problem ran both deep and wide. Americanizing Thailand would not resolve the problems of poverty and injustice and therefore human trafficking.
I have been home for almost a year, and I am still processing my 10 days in Thailand. God is using this time to eradicate false beliefs from my thinking. Deep truth is being rooted in my heart. He is transforming the way I live and opening my eyes to a radical new paradigm. One that I hope looks a lot more like Jesus and a lot less like me.
It is through this perspective that I reopened the pages of Radical.
As I read, I realized what an enormous shift had taken place in my heart. Many of the things Platt said were uncomfortable, and I still did not like them, but I agreed with his philosophy on life, as well as his theology about God.
I now viewed David Platt as a believer following a radical Savior whose heart breaks for every nation and every tribe- American, Indian, and every one in between.
Based on other things I read and the ways God has been working in my life, I thought my biggest takeaway from Radical would be to reduce and live simply so I can go and serve others.
I was wrong.
Radical did not drive me to sell all I have. It drove me to Jesus. It did not put me on a plane. It put me on my knees.
Jesus to the disciples, The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. ~ Matthew 9:37-38 NLT
I am taken aback by a Lord who loves me with such a fierceness that He will not let me go or settle for less. Jesus continually draws me to Himself, and in doing so He draws me toward the rest of the world.
I fear that in sharing my wrong headedness as bluntly as I have, you may miss the point.
The point is not that America or her ideals are bad. The point is not that the denomination I affiliate with is as narrow-minded as I was. (Point in fact, David Platt belongs to the same denomination.) The point is I did not recognize I held the beliefs I did until I was confronted with something different.
Oddly enough, anyone who travels to Thailand will be struck by both the differences and sameness of us all. I suppose that is why the phrase Same. Same. But Different. rolls off the Thai tongue with such ease.
It is a radical lesson, and I am glad I learned it.
What is a lesson that took you time to learn? What changed your mind and how did it change? Share your radical shift in the comments section.