The call of God for his people is discipleship but discipleship doesn’t happen without an unyielding untamed missionary mindset. Yet countless numbers of people today who would identify themselves as Christians could hardly define “missionary” let alone be one. Why is that? There are 6 reasons that stood out to me. Untamed, however, was far from simply being a book of reasons. It is a passionate, story-filled appeal for Christians to embrace the wild untamed way of Jesus and in so doing be who they were meant to be.
- Love versus Reason — Reason is always in the employment of love. Our heart tells us what we want and our minds do whatever is necessary to make it happen. In short, people aren’t interested in missionary life, because they don’t really love Jesus.
- Holy Spirit — In referring to Alan’s conversion they talk about how he had an ecstatic tangible experience with the Holy Spirit after which Alan said that he felt as though his mind was on fire and that he had never really had thoughts before that time. Later on, an appeal is given to the reader to take the risk of encountering the divine so that “you can experience God in wild and wonderful ways” What does that even mean? What if the reader (like me for example) doesn’t have any experiential frame of reference? Without answers to these questions, the point is clear enough: the Holy Spirit’s power is what makes missionaries and his very real presence is absolutely necessary.
- Consumerism — Entertaining consumers into being disciples is a failed experiment. One does not consume his way into following Jesus. Consumerism is what has filled the vacuum of meaning in the 21st century and the church has not been unaffected. The church has become a vendor for religious services and a mature Christian is one who makes good decisions on what he will consume. The church has become a feeding trough where people come to “get fed” by trained professionals. Hirsch points out that it is babies who need to be fed, and laments that we have created a religious system designed to employ professional food distributors while keeping Christians in perpetual stages of infancy.
- Fear & Laziness – The two greatest vices that keep Christians domesticated are fear and laziness. These vices are employed as an attempt to obtain security and comfort. Sadly, what is sacrificed in the vain pursuit of security and comfort is freedom and life itself. Like a domesticated goose that ends up on the dinner table because he is too fat to fly away so it goes with Christians who give in to these vices.
- Sexual judgement — Christians are masters it seems in their universal condemnation of sexual sin. Sexual sin is frowned upon far above any other sin. This judgemental reaction against all things sexually illicit greatly reduces the possibility of actually being a missionary in the sex-saturated culture of the west. The Hirsches advice when it comes to sexual sin: “it’s not what we believe about sexuality that matters it’s how we treat those with differing perspectives on sexuality…when it comes to sexual sin disciples must leave the judgement of those sins to God” If all this was only considering not yet believers, absolutely, I agree. Where the issue gets complicated is with regard to Christians who embrace sexual sins. On this the Hirsches are silent. But the Bible is not. Biblically informed Christians know that what they believe about sexuality matters and that they are responsible to help restore brothers and sisters who stumble. This restorative process requires judgement.
- Mistaken view of Holiness — Christians seem to think that authentic holiness requires separation from all things sinful. In looking at the life of Jesus that doesn’t really seem to be the case. Sinners flocked to Jesus who was as holy as you can be. It was religious people who were repulsed by his holiness. Somehow our version of holiness seems to attract religious people and repel sinners. The mission heart of Jesus established in his followers will not embrace this mistaken view of holiness which runs in terror from all things unclean.
“Abandon the safe and tame life of conservative religious morality and live a life that has stories to tell”