I'm writing a story for Relevant Magazine and could use some feedback to help get my head around the topic.
Because of the airtime that radical Islam and other religions get on CNN, radical Christianity continues to be polarized itself - either exhalted as the ideal or maligned as a joke in popular culture. Anyone who is "extreme" in their expression of Christian faith is in danger of being viewed as an ignorant "fundamentalist" or somehow detached from reality. They can also be honored by a Christian sub-culture as someone who is "sold-out", in the most positive sense.
There also seems to be a new Christian radicalism at work in our American culture. Christians who tatoo scripture on their chest while performing a backflip on a skateboard are considered "radical". I guess. Pastors who ride Harley's to church; Cage fighters who preach the Gospel after a fight; Christian surfers, Christian skaters, Riders for Christ; it goes on and on.
I'm a part of this neo-radicalism myself and I'm not sure if it matters anymore. I'm not sure if its really on the edge - where I normally feel the most comfortable. It has very little to do with humbly following Christ and letting my life shine as an example of His love.
I'm starting to believe that positive radicalism should be measured by its impact on society. For example, Saul Alinsky was considered radical because he led an organizing effort that got minorities better jobs in this country. Ghandi was radical because his effort led to the freedom of India. MLK was radical because he led the civil rights movement toward greater success.
If impact is the greatest measure, Christ was the most radical of all.