Not everyone was amused by the error of an elementary school principal in Parkdale when she sent in October to 700 parents commemorating Islamic Heritage Month with the flag of ISIS emblazoned in its headline graphics. The reaction was palpable. Muslim parents stated that they felt unsafe sending their children to the school. Non-Muslim parents wrote letters of protest that went unanswered as the principal’s office went into crisis management, and the questions raised are still unanswered three months later. The problem was quite obvious, of course. The principal was merely ignorant that the current government of Afghanistan has been designated as a terrorist organization because of their radical embrace of the Quran’s declarations of a caliphate state. Such radicalism is not practiced by many moderate Muslims that populate our Canadian landscape, and certainly not by the residents of Parkdale whose children go to that school. It appears that radical Islam is a dangerous thing, and that moderate Islam is much safer indeed.
My mind goes to a young man I once discipled in his walk with Christ. After pouring over the Bible every week for two years, he said something one evening as we met that was more profound than his years betray, “I’ve decided that the only way to live the life that Christ calls me to is to take the path of radical obedience to all He says in His Word.” Interesting observation. Joshua 1:8 calls us to “do all that is written” in His Word. James says to know His Word and to do them lest our faith be dead. I have come to understand since my conversation with that young man that radical Christianity is the safest Christianity one can imagine. When Jesus says to love our neighbour, radical Christianity loves regardless of the neighbour’s weaknesses, or country of origin, or financial or social standing. When we are radical with God’s Word, we don’t just forgive when it is convenient or when we can get past our own hurt, but we forgive regardless because Christ forgave us. Moderate Christianity, it seems, makes for a far more dangerous believer. Kindness would be inconsistent; gentleness would be selective; love would be driven by the mood of the moment. Jesus says to us, “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:38) That sounds quite radical. Here’s what I think. Let’s walk the pathway of being the most radical Christian we can be, reading His Word and obeying it, being filled by His Spirit and walking by Him. Radical Christianity is the only Christianity acceptable to God. The alternative of being a moderate Christian is an anathema to Him, and besides, moderate Christianity is dangerous indeed.