Here’s a wee preview of the opening introduction to ‘Radical Church’.
In Scotland, 18 years ago, I was living a life which was at odds with mainstream society and the law. A constant cocktail of narcotics and alcohol had rendered me unfit for work. I lived in a constant drunken state. Most nights on the drink led to either a pub fight or a street fight. I landed in a jail cell twice for a combination of breaching the peace, assault and vandalism. As I’ve recounted in my first book, Christ, the Cross and the Concrete Jungle – my life was completely turned around by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Scotland has often been referred to as ‘The Land of the Book’ – a reference to the rich Christian heritage. As I turned to the Book, the Book worked its magic. Instead of living on benefits, and abusing the system; I work full time and pay my taxes. Instead of living life drunk, I live life sober. Instead of drifting from one sexual encounter to another, I’m happily married and the father of two amazing sons. Instead of cursing Christianity, I now preach and teach Christianity. My children, instead of growing up in a godless environment, are growing up learning the ways of God. Yet here’s the irony – in turning back to the Book that once underpinned the social fabric of the land, I once again find myself living a life which is becoming increasingly at odds with mainstream society and the law. It is not outside the realms of possibility that I could, in the future, find myself in jail, for living my life according to the Book, and teaching my children to live according to the Book, and calling society to turn to the Book.
What’s happened? Whilst Jesus has been saving sinners, like me, to himself, society has been transitioning away from the faith that once defined our culture. Almost overnight we have seen a dramatic shift in our culture. The dramatic shift is this: to live and speak according to the values and customs, that were once taken for granted, is to live and speak as a radical extremist. What was a cultural norm yesterday, is a cultural taboo today.