Radically Normal was a normal book. (Hey, what did you expect?) In a culture where we are constantly urged to be “radical” Christians, author Josh Kelley provides a more balanced perspective by suggesting that it’s okay to be normal for Jesus. Rather than feeling guilty for not being radical enough, maybe we should strive to be radically normal. It’s a refreshing counterbalance to the prevailing ideas of what it means to live for Christ in the world today.
Here’s a brief excerpt to give you the flavor, humor, and perspective Josh Kelley brings to the content.
As I mentioned, in my grandparents’ day, all movies were considered taboo by many Christians. By the time I was born, G-rated movies were acceptable, but the idea of a Christian watching an R-rated movie was scandalous. Now many pastors routinely use R-rated movies for sermon illustrations. As much as I want to dismiss the archaic “no movies” rules as silly legalism, Philippians 4:8 gives me pause. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I’m hard-pressed to think of any movie that’s only pure, noble, and excellent. Is any amount of worldliness like a drop of poison that contaminates and entire glass of milk? Does one sex scene make the whole thing off-limits? Or can one good teaching point excuse any amount of depravity? And where to we find answers to questions like these? Records of the apostles’ favorite movies are sketchy at best.
Live theater and sports were the most popular forms of entertainment in Paul’s day. Many Jews and Christians avoided these events because of their immorality and brutality. Athletic events were dedicated to pagan gods, and participants competed in the nude. Ancient theater was filled with sex and potty humor. These forms of entertainment presented challenges to ancient Christians similar to the challenges modern entertainment presents for us.
What do you think Paul would say about sports and theaters? He never tells believers to avoid plays or athletic competitions. Instead, he uses more sports analogies than I do and even quotes from a pagan play. If he wanted his readers to completely avoid these events, he could have easily said so. But instead, he looked for things of value in them.
–Josh Kelley, Radically Normal
Josh Kelley (@joshkelley)