Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Barbarian Way

I have to admit, I'm just getting around to reading "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus. It was recommended to me by my friend, Tom "Hit Man" Hartman. I found some really intriguing words. After you read them, I'd like to know what you think. Perhaps you've read the book and have some feedback. Or maybe something inside of you is stirred and you have to respond.

McManus writes, "Two thousand years later the call to follow Christ has been repackaged to be smooth and trouble-free, filled with opportunity and promise but lacking risk, passion, and sacrifice. Is this really what Jesus died for? If He chose the way of the cross, where would He hesitate leading us? Is it possible that to follow Jesus is to choose the barbarian way? Jesus never made a pristine call to a proper and safe religion. Jesus beckons His followers to a path that is far from the easy road. It is a path filled with adventure, uncertainty, and unlimited possibilities - the only path that can fulfill the deepest longings and desires of your heart. This is the barbarian way: to give your heart to the only One who can make you fully alive. To love Him with simplicity and intensity. To unleash the untamed faith within. To be consumed by the presence of a passionate and compassionate God. To go where He sends you, no matter the cost."

I know the quote is lengthy, but as I read this, my heart was challenged afresh. Do we (Christ-followers) play it too safe at times? Are we guilty of following the path of least resistance rather than passionately pursuing Christ? Do we (pastors) try to make it too easy for people to follow Jesus, failing to explain the true cost of discipleship as laid out by Jesus in Mark 8:34-38? Have we become accustomed to a "smooth" cross? What happened to the old rugged cross?


  1. I believe that as a follower at least in my case I do at times tend to take the least resitance path. Only because being a little bullheaded I am not sure its God's will or mine. After a period of time and lessons learned I see then, that it was God's way. So over the past couple years I listen more to what I feel is God's way, then what I concieve to be right. By doing this the outcome has much better results.
    Not to be critical, but yes I see pastors make it easier now. When growing up and going to church with my grandmother things have changed to the more informal approuch. Not to say that is wrong, but for me different.

  2. We are studying hard what it means to become a disciple. We are challenging each other to "do" something with our discipleship. We are finding where the wolves are because where the wolves are we will also find the lost sheep. Wolves dont just hang out for no reason. They are after the lost sheep. Go to the wolves to find the lost sheep aint easy! Can be scary and down right dangerous. Perhaps thats part of the Barbarian Way.

  3. Greg, good insights. And yes, we pastors are guilty of trying to make things too easy for people at times. I think part of it comes from the "competition." In the quest to grow the church, some pastors are reluctant to "raise the bar" of discipleship for fear that potential congregants will leave and go somewhere else. It's tough, because most pastors are "graded" on two things: 1) how many people were in church on Sunday; and, 2) how much money was in the offering. It's a sad truth, but discipleship, conversions, and other important aspects of faith are not evaluated on the same level. So in order to appeal to the masses, many church leaders (pastors and board members alike) choose the path of least resistance. And Dennis, any time you are going to seek those who mean the most to Jesus (the lost), you are going to be right in the middle of the wolves. It makes perfect sense. Perhaps that is why so few believers choose to be missional. It's easier to have a "field of dreams" mentality (if you build it they will come). But where the rubber meets the road is fulfilling the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.