Radical of Radicals
The counterculture landscape of the '60s teemed with radicals,
extremists, idealists, and revolutionaries lurking around
every corner. Mainstream society hated these trouble makers,
these communists, but we loved their passion for peace
justice. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin jumping up and down
on the table in the Chicago courtroom in 1968 didnt
rankle us; they had bucked the system and won a great victory.
Hope welled up within us that maybe we could change the
Establishment. We demonstrated in the streets for an end
to the war in Vietnam, a nuclear freeze, the dismantling
of nuclear reactors, and justice in South Africa. Inspired
by the teachings of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Scott
Nearing, the Chicago Seven, and the Berrigans, we put all
our heart into demonstrating for peace, organizing rallies,
getting arrested, and writing letters to the editors and
our Congressmen. Still the unjust system churned on. Looking
back now, its hard to see any lasting results from
all our radical hoopla.
But were we truly radicals? The word radical, like its
etymological counterpart, radicle, comes from the Latin
word, radix, which means root. A radicle is the first young
root put forth from a seed, the first carrier of life-giving
nutrients to the young plant. Without this radicle, the
seed doesnt have a chance, lacking its most basic
root. So too, any so-called radical or extremist can only
bring about a lasting positive change in society if he himself
is rooted in a life-sustaining source.
So were we truly radicals? Did our roots
go down into a life-giving source that could sustain us and bring
about the goals of the Movement? No! Time and time again we went
home dismayed and frustrated our efforts to organize peace
coalitions had come to nothing and the peace groups we belonged
to had divided into warring factions. Eventually we left the Movement
and fell back into the same system from which we had tried to
escape. Instead of changing the world, the world had changed us.
At one time our hero, Jerry Rubin, had railed against the Establishment
and demanded its violent overthrow. Now he is a New York socialite,
hob-nobbing with politicians and Wall Street businessmen. The
swords have yet to be beaten into plowshares or the bombers to
turn into butterflies over our nation as Joni predicted.
The radicals of the '60s had roots that went only as deep
society which they attempted to change. According to David
"[The Peace Movement is] a movement whose members are still
being crippled by the society from which we are trying to free
ourselves and others. Contrary to some interpretations, the Movements
erraticism and inconsistency tell us more about the sickness of
the society against which we are in revolt..."
He believed that it was worthwhile to continue to be involved
in the Movement in spite of its weakness. At least in that way
ones suffocating human passions would be able to flower
from time to time. But wouldnt it be better if our lives
could flower continually, actually bringing about justice and
For a radical movement to blossom and bear abundant
fruit, it has to be rooted in good soil, not in the barren soil
of selfishness, compromise, and division. There was once such
a movement, an uncompromising people who were in total unity.
They spoke to their generation with one voice, a voice so clear
and exposing that the established institutions were shaken to
their foundations. They came together some two thousand years
ago while the iron might of Rome ruled all of the known world.
Despite its brutal strength, the Roman state came to be greatly
threatened by this gentle people and their message.
These radicals were called together from every segment
of society. One of them was a revolutionary guerrilla who
advocated the violent overthrow of the hated Roman oppressors.
Another was a tax collector who collaborated with the occupying
army and even lined his own pockets by overtaxing his fellow
countrymen. These two, a guerrilla and a tax collector,
would have hated each other unless a greater power had bound
them together. Still others in the group were simple fishermen.
What held them together was their devotion to one man, the
Radical of all radicals. His spirit and His teaching were
like nothing they had ever heard before. He so captured
the imaginations of His followers that they all left everything
behind to follow Him.
After His death and resurrection, He gave them His Spirit
to empower them to live a radical life together that would
astound the whole world. Within days, over three thousand
men and women had committed themselves lock, stock, and
barrel to their Master and to the teachings of those who
had been taught by Him. Banding together out of love for
one another, they threw all they had into a common pot,
giving no thought to their own needs. Their passionate message
to come out of the perverse society backed up by
their daily lives of loving and caring for one another
spoke louder and clearer than all the hollow rhetoric of
the false prophets of their time. Heart by yielding heart,
a new nation was born, as these radicals abandoned their
jobs and old lives to be healed of the crippling effects
of the society they left.
Sadly, this new nation did not endure long enough to bring
about their Masters return and the establishment of
His good government on the earth. Like a tree that stops
bearing good fruit and is cut down, the life of that nation
ceased. However, the root remained, and now, at the scent
of water, it is starting to sprout once again. Its radical
life has returned. There is once again a people who are
putting the crippling effects of societys sickness
under their feet. In our communities, men, women, and children
are being given one heart and one way. At last we are home.
The Radical of all radicals, whose name is Yahshua,
the Son of God, has brought us home. We responded to His
call to give up our lives and all our possessions, and having
died to our old lives, we received His life. Because we
no longer live for ourselves, we are able to live together
in peace and justice. We invite you to come and see this