how to be a radical.

31 July 2013

last week, i saw the above quote on the back of a bathroom door, and it jumped out at me. how very true, i thought to myself, how very true indeed.

two days later, i saw a blog post pop up in my rss feed: 'choosing to be lonely over a bad relationship is radical self-respect.' boom. that hit home.

i want my life to be radically different than the world around me. 

it was easy to feel radical when i was preaching the easter sunday service in a russian prison. it was easy to feel radical when i was a teetotaler, even, or when i was attempting chemical-free living. it was easy to feel radical when i was sacrificing time with my family for time with a bunch of skateboarders on the other side of the planet, who just wanted a place to belong.

but now i'm just living an everyday life. i have a job that pays me money (real money! not like, 'treasures in heaven' money...), i have an apartment where i can afford rent. i have a car that is not falling apart. i have friends, i can spend time with my family. heck, i can walk to my sisters house... quite the change from having to calculate the 19-hour time difference before i pick up the phone. i have enough time to explore the arts, and i have the brainspace to make things, to try new things, to read stuff and to spend time with people who inspire me. my life looks more 'normal' in comparison to my peers than ever before.

and in the middle of it, more than anything, i still want to be radical. not simply for the sake of being radical, as punk rock as that may be. i want to be radical because who i am is mysteriously, indivisibly, fundamentally connected with the one they call god with us. in him i live, and move, and have my being. and he is the most radical man i have ever known.

and these two sneaky reminders this week are vitally important. what does it mean for me to be radical?

in this new, 'normal'-looking life i find myself in, i am radical. i am radical because i refuse to ingest the lies fed to women, designed to make me hate my appearance. i'm radical because i know that god made me just the way he wants me, and that my body and my face and my hair are NOT flawed.

i'm radical because i'm choosing to be single rather than hook up with whomever shows a bit of interest, as discouraging as it can be at times. i'm radical because i'm opting out of the mentality that romance is the 'be-all and end-all', the prime goal to which we should aspire. that is not to say that i am not still looking for it, or that i love being single all. the. time.... i don't. i'm radical because i know that my worth is not found in my relationship status. i'm radical because i choose to build relationships with a small army of support people who come through when i need them (and hopefully vice versa), who give me more love and cheerleading as a whole than i could ever expect one man to. 

i'm radical because i am still pursuing my dreams, even though many of them seem farther away than ever. i'm radical because i don't believe in 'retail therapy'. i'm radical because i still like ska, even though the nineties are over. i'm radical because i still send handwritten letters. whatever. the point is, there is room for being radical in who we are, not just in the things we do. and the point is that being radically different from the world around me, even in ways that aren't obvious, is how my faith in christ is played out in my everyday life.

whether you are radical, as inspired by christ, radical because that's just who you are, or radical because it's so punk rock.... what makes you that way? how are you radically different from the world around you? how do you want to be?

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