Reckless Abandonment

I’ve just been reading from The Quotable Oswald Chambers, which lists many excerpts from his teaching and preaching topically. As I’m still in the A’s, his thoughts on “reckless abandonment” tripped my tangent-thought-launcher.

Popular culture isn’t a new phenomenon, as every period of every generation creates their own unique sets of customs and fads. We call the nineteenth and late eighteenth-century the “Romantic” age, when proper ladies always wore gloves and corsets, and never sought careers outside the home. That’s the defining period for today’s romantic novels. Whereas today’s attitude implies defiance of authority and self-determination, back then, ladies knew they’d best be submissive and useful. Men of that bygone era knew that gentlemen always engage in scholarly pursuits, and never drank alcohol before 3pm or mixed their boozing and smoking with ladies. All the vices were well represented, but not as blatant as they are now.

Conformists today practice “reckless abandonment” in, well, reckless and dangerous ways, such as extreme sports, salacious speech and “free” sex, which always costs more than they expect. Interesting, that non-conformists of those bygone times were the artsy, morally loose Bohemian types, while today’s non-conformists are the more conservative, traditional individuals.

Chambers thought of “reckless abandonment” as neither of the above extremes. Here’s one of his thoughts on the subject:

I am convinced that what is needed in spiritual matters is reckless abandonment to the Lord Jesus Christ, reckless and uncalculating abandonment, with no reserve anywhere about it; not sad, you cannot be sad if you are abandoned absolutely.

(The Quotable Oswald Chambers. Discovery House Publishers.)

Is “reckless abandonment,” standing on a street corner soapbox, screaming through a megaphone that everyone is a dirty, rotten, hellbound sinner. While that accusation may be true, reckless love takes a different, more redemptive approach. It holds our tongue when we want to read the riot act. It prays for those who dispitefully use us, and forgives those who hurt us. As Apostle James said, it visits prisoners, and supports widows and orphans, not as an obligation, but as Christ.

Does that characterize today’s Western church? Shamefully, we’re more concerned with not appearing too radical, than impacting our culture for Christ. If we who call our selves “Christians” were to practice that sort of “reckless and uncalculating abandonment,” the entertainment industry could no longer get away with ridiculing us, and the news media could no longer publish stories slanted against us, because everyone would know they are lying. People would have to take Christ seriously because we who claim his name would show who he truly is by the quality of our lives.


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