This last August I attended at the European Christian Workshop in Lancaster on the campus of Lancaster University. It is an annual meeting planned by members of the churches of Christ in the UK. I was invited to teach five classes:
The Good News of the Kingdom of God for Europe
Walking with Jesus, the Good Life, and the Secular City
Walking with Jesus, Radical Discipleship, and the Gospel of Mark
Walking with Jesus by Serving the Poor and Marginalized
Walking with Jesus by Serving Immigrants and Refugees
I pray that the classes were a blessing for those who attended the Workshop as we try and navigate together what it looks like to walk with Jesus in our secular cities.
— Jonathan Hanegan
Here is an excerpt from my class on radical discipleship:
True discipleship is the last adventure left to mortals. Have you any spice or daring in you? Is there anything in you that rises to the call of a high romance, of a deed that shall flash out in a glorious blaze of lofty courage? If so, you can be a disciple: for it is not the explorers, not the captains of hosts, nor the knights of chivalry, who do the greatest deeds or take the road of the most glorious enterprise. It is the humble Christian who sets out to follow the road that leads over Calvary to God. Why is it, you may ask, that this is such a great adventure? It is because you cannot be a disciple without giving to God all that you have. Isben, in one of his plays, claims for God the motto, “Nought or all”; but God’ motto is far simpler, it is ALL. If you would gain all, you must give all: all that you possess, all that you desire, and all that you hope for. It matters not whether God lets you retain a part of your gift or not, the point is that all must be given. Let us have no more compromise; we have had, God knows, too much of it in these days. We whittle down the call of Christ to suit the size of our houses, the amount of our incomes, or the interests of our lives. It is time God’s priests rose up and proclaimed again the truth, that you cannot serve God in part and the world in part; that the pearl of great price still goes to those who sell, not a part, but all that they have; and that the disciple is not greater than his Master, but a copy of his Master. There is, there always has been, only one policy for the disciple, and that is the policy called “thorough”. It is the general trouble with exhortations that while we agree with the principles set forth in them, we do not see the practical results coming from them. What would be some of the practical results of giving all to God? It means giving all our time to God in the first place, and that means that our time must be consecrated by setting aside a considerable portion to prayer; I do not think you can follow our Lord as a disciple with less than one. But the cry is raised, “My duties will not allow the time”. They will if you make them, and if they did not, it should not be the highest but a lower duty that suffers. Or take our possessions. If they belong to God, it would not be too much to give half or a quarter to His service. How many of us give a tenth? Or take our talents and our reputations. If they are God’s they must bear His hallmark. This means that all our so-called proper pride, our so-called rights, our position and rank, must be marked by humility after the example of our Lord Who was born in a manger. We must accept rebukes unwillingly, we must be pleased with criticism, we must in all things meekly give place to others. If these few scattered points help us to a truer idea of the great venture of discipleship, then God will have indeed blessed them.
R. Somerset Ward. To Jerusalem: Devotional Studies in Mystical Religion. London: Mowbray, 1994, 9-10.