Posts Tagged ‘Risk’

There is no such thing as “Risk Free”

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

There is no such thing as “Risk Free.”  It is not what God promises despite the fact it is what the world clamors for.

Risk and growth are inseparable.  Christianity at its best testifies to the core of a counter-cultural “risk”, a risk that asks us to forgo our cherished views of the world and its working in order stake out a new place of grace.

Imagine the monastic vows many have taken over centuries, vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, vows that run directly counter to promiscuity, gluttony, and freedom.   Hmm.  Where does risk lie here?

I love these words of Seth Godin….

How much does it cost you to avoid risk? Not actual risk, but the feeling that you’re at risk?

How many experiences are you missing out on because the (very unlikely) downsides are too frightening to contemplate?

Are you avoiding leading, connecting or creating because to do so feels risky?

Feeling risk is very different than actually putting yourself at risk. Over time, we’ve created a cultural taboo about feeling certain kinds of risk, and all that insulation from what the real world requires is getting quite expensive.

It’s easy to pretend that indulging in the avoidance of the feeling of risk is free and unavoidable. It’s neither.

So the question is not am I doing enough to avoid risk?  The question, am I welcoming enough risk?


We stopped risking long ago.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Some risks are plain stupid.  Others absolutely necessary for growth.  Much of faith stopped risking generations ago.  And how do we recapture that, that “risk?’  Not foolish risk but risk necessary for growth? Maybe it is by becoming a loyal opposition within our culture – both the broader, secular culture and the faith culture.

Walter Brueggemann writes of this “opposition” when he speaks of criticism as “not carping and denouncing.  It is asserting that the false claims to authority and power cannot keep their promises, which they cannot in the face of a free God.”  Such criticism in a word reframes the world, a world in which the secular and religious have so bled together that it is hard to see much of an authentic alternative any more in Christianity – the “City Upon a Hill” now leveled into trackless suburbia.

Christianity though is an authentic alternative.  Risky yes.  But also authentic.  Easter very much encapsulates that authentic alternative.  Neat and tidy theological “packages” give way to the mess of crucifixion.   Hatred and hopelessness are met with the authentic alternative of love, grace, and forgiveness – Christ’s lament from the Cross to “Forgive them for know not what they do.”

My prayer is that this Easter be a conversion experience.  My prayer also is that maybe we can re-invite ourselves into a world of risk, and in that process reclaim in some small way the heritage and hope of Christianity – a world made new.   Resurrection and transformation.   Mess and all.


What is risk?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Last night I finished the Movie, “Of God’s And Men.”  Deeply powerful.  Working through more and more what it means to give one’s life to God, not in a brash way but in the quiet understatement common among those whom we would call “saints.”

In that quiet, there is deep freedom.  I imagine many of us have met those who live that freedom.  And paradoxically, in that freedom lies tremendous courage, strength, and determination.  Risk is then redefined.

“Risk all for love, Jesus tells us, even your own life. ‘Give that to Me and let Me save it.’ The healthy religious person is the one who allows God to do the saving, while I do my part to bring up the rear. It always feels like a loss of power and certitude at the beginning, which is why it is called faith, and why true Biblical faith is probably somewhat rare.”

The men in the movie did loose their lives.  They “risked” it all but within the parameters of an empowered surrender to their fates that placed the definition of risk well beyond what common culture can make sense of.  By the end of the movie, with their physical fate obvious, one is left feeling the restful peace of God, a peace filled with hope, the peace of free men – a place where the only call is to love completely.  I close with this scene from the movie in which the head of the monastery talks to one of his fellow monks, a doctor who finds it his call to treat to all who come to him, including members of  the terrorist group who will eventually claim his life.