I once had a professor who said that any book worth reading is worth reading at least three times. I wasn’t certain of that years ago, but have become a believer along the way. I’m currently reading, for a third time, an excellent book by David Augsburger called Dissident Discipleship: A Spirituality of Self-Surrender, Love of God, and Love of Neighbor. Augsburger connects us to the spiritual journey of discipleship intentionally “confronting self, encountering God, and engaging the world.” He begins, “This is a book about spirituality, not your ordinary garden variety, but the stubborn, persistent, radical spirituality appearing in unusual people across the last two thousand years who combined three strands – love for God, others, and self – in a unique way. This three-dimensional kind of discipleship that I call a tri-polar spirituality links discovering self, seeking God, and valuing people into a seamless unity” (p7).
His approach to discipleship of Jesus and the practice of spiritual discipline centers primarily upon seven key practices. What Augsburger calls, the practices of: Radical Attachment, Stubborn Loyalty, Tenacious Serenity, Habitual Humility, Concrete Service, Authentic Witness, and Subversive Spirituality.
I have in mind that over the next week or two as I re-read the book that what I’d like to do is succinctly unpack each practice for you and pursue the key elements of these seven disciplines.
And so today, Radical Attachment….
Radical Attachment is what Augsburger describes as “core Christianity.” Radical Attachment is “not believing something about Jesus (a pietistic experience), or even believing in Jesus (a conversionist experience), but believing Jesus (in discipleship) and believing what Jesus believed (in imitation). So, as He believed – love of God, love of neighbor, and becoming one’s true self are three indivisible sides of the primary spiritual triangle” (Augsburger 23).
The practice of Radical Attachment to Christ demands that the believer truly seek to disciple oneself after Christ (attaching oneself in a radical way to our Savior). The way of Christ, is the way of the cross and the way to the cross. Augsburger’s call is not to religiosity, but rather, to the person of Jesus Christ. As we study Scripture, we come to better understand in greater detail the character and nature of Christ (and in the process, the character and nature of God). We must be rooted in Christ, compelled by Christ, and view all of life and discipleship as a participation in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – fully lived and fully engaged. Radical Attachment is at the core of the Christian faith. Christ is both the One who is pursued and the One who pursues. Imitating Christ (being defined by Him) entails the investing of heart, soul, mind, and body on the part of the disciple, bound through relationship with Him. Seeing Jesus as true, as valid, as real – and following not the idea of Jesus – but actually following Jesus!
Glory to God!