Who comes to mind when you hear the word, “radical?” When used as a noun, a radical is someone advocating complete political and social change. As an adjective, a radical describes someone who “affects change.” The greatest radical ever was Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to bring us more religion. He came to show us the true character of God, and He shook things up a bit while doing so. The change He affected remains over 2000 years later.
What??? Wasn’t Jesus the pacifist who told us to pray for those who persecuted us, and to turn the other cheek? Hey, He didn’t even stand up for Himself when He was on trial for His life. Jesus doesn’t sound like much of a radical.
When teaching the crowds and disciples, Jesus called the religious leaders, the Pharisees, hypocrites! The Pharisees were the guys, above criticism and reproach. It was unthinkable, even risky, to challenge them or their authority. While some may have been critical of them in private, Jesus called them out publicly. Sounds pretty rad to me.
When Jesus went to the Temple, He found it overrun with thieves and disreputable traders. Jesus made a whip and drove out the sheep, cattle and crooks, thereby returning the Temple into a true place of worship. Again, Jesus sounds pretty rad!
Most of Jesus’ teaching took place in public. He went to people’s homes, orated the famous Sermon on the Mount; He even had dinner with despised tax-collectors. Jesus went where the people were, reaching out compassionately, offering hope, redemption and restoration. Jesus method of teaching was different from the Pharisees, and the people responded.
Street theology is getting away from the safety net of the church. We go where the people are, serving their needs, offering hope as best we can while not being concerned if the population we serve ever goes to church or not. We meet them where they are. The heartbeat of any faith is it’s people, not the building, rituals or beautiful stained glass. We must think and act differently to effectively reach and impact others.
We can continue playing it safe. We go to church on Sunday, hear some music, throw money into a collection plate followed by a message from our spiritual leader. We go home. Live our lives. Rinse. Repeat. Let’s be risky. Let’s hit the streets…