Kayla's Reviews > Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

Radical by David Platt
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's review
Sep 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: christian-living
Read in January, 2011

The American Dream. It’s something we’re conditioned to long for, work towards, and (hopefully) someday attain. It involves long hours of working to pay for “necessities,” like flat screen TVs and a better car than our parents had. Our house has to “enough space” – meaning more than we really need. We have financial goals, like having a nice cushion of cash to retire on. All this and more… at what cost?

In Radical by David Platt, he examines this mindset and, as my dad put it while we we discussing the book, “it’s a slap-in-the-face.” You think you’re doing just fine, but when Platt tells you of his experiences with the persecuted church, you begin to realize how we’ve lost the meaning of “faith.” “I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe.” (p. 3) We don’t understand total obedience the way the disciples did; we do “just enough” to satisfy our convicted consciences and move on.

Platt takes a look at different Scriptures throughout his book (which are conveniently noted at the back of the book by chapter and order), and discusses issues such as our lack of fervor for studying God’s Word. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him. (p. 29) Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, “No.” (p. 31) To know the Creator for Who He is and how He has conducted Himself from before time began, we have to be in His Word. This chapter challenged me to return to my First Love and fall in love with Him all over again. To desire to read His Word. And to desire to discuss it with others, rather than discussing who’s going to the playoffs or what the latest-greatest movie is all about.

Platt also talks about the importance of relying on God’s power. The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. (p. 46) In direct contradiction to the American dream, God actually delights in exalting our inability. (p. 47) In that chapter, Platt talks about how God desires to empower those who willingly set themselves aside in order to make much of Him. How little I trust Him!

I could quote this book for days. I’m pretty sure I highlighted at least every other page, and I definitely highlighted something on more pages than I left blank. In so many ways, God used this book in my life to refocus my attention. My money – I can spend it frivolously, I can save it selfishly, or I can give it away freely. My time – I can hoard it, I can give it away to those who “deserve” it, or I can share it openly with those who need it. My prayer – I can focus inwardly, or I can focus outwardly.

While this book it definitely a “slap-in-the-face,” it was a much needed read. It took a while for me to get through, even though it’s only 216 pages. Much of this was because it was so convicting that even though I wanted to read it, part of me couldn’t handle any more conviction. My theme of Simple Elegance beat strongly throughout this book, which is why I wanted to continue reading it. Here are Scriptural examples of how we are supposed to live simple lives for the sake of the God of the Gospel. Whether you want a challenging book or not, I highly recommend this book.

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