You do that beautifully. I'm thinking especially of the chapter called "Hello, Cruel World." In the eyes of many people looking from the outside, Christianity is about complacency. You say, "No, it's about hope for a change that is so good it's almost unbelievable, and sometimes it is unbelievable to us, and yet that's where we put our trust."
Christianity is a religion of continuity and discontinuity as well. It's about what stays the same and what changes in the twinkling of an eye. Both are necessary truths, but sometimes it's important to accentuate the discontinuity, the sudden leap, the way you go up a tree, Zacchaeus, and come down a saint. Otherwise, the stereotype about complacency isn't being properly challenged. Christians are as subject to complacency as anybody else, and we can certainly settle into repetition and forget that something radical and extraordinary is being asked of us as well—that we hold to an extraordinary promise about how, from moment to moment, something enters the world and enters us, after which everything is different. I wanted to bring to the front the way in which it promises the break of grace rather the continuity of law. Both are true, but both do not get equal coverage in the minds of those who haven't really thought about it.
One word that crops up among younger evangelicals these days is radical. A true Christian life is radical. You've just said that very well. And yet—so it seems to me, at least—the way the rhetoric of "radical" plays out in everyday life often leads to distortions. It isn't true to the quotidian, so some spiritual double-bookkeeping ensues. "We are radical, we are radical." How long can we be radical? You read about the radicals in the 1960s and find out they couldn't be radical for a whole week.
For my money, the way you negotiate this tension is just right. We fail repeatedly, yet at the same time you don't neglect the hope we share, the mending promised in Acts 3:21, that is absolutely essential. But you can't talk about it all the time. That's just like saying we are going to be radical all the time.
If we ask to be radical all the time, it often seems to be not just rushing past the quotidian, but rushing past our own distinctly pitied and cracked nature. We don't get to be weightless like that because we are, most of the time, in need of a much more humble and ordinary repair job.
In the chapter where I have to produce a kind of one-chapter New Testament for people who've never come across it, the reason why I have Yeshua, my de-familiarized Christ, saying, "Far more can be mended than you know," which I think is actually true to the New Testament, is that I want mending. Not flying free, not transformation, but humble, ordinary, everyday, get-you-back-on-your-feet mending, to be at the center of the Christian story.
When the book was being translated into Dutch, the translator sent me an email: "This word mend, I've looked it up in the dictionary, and it seems to be the same word you use for repairing bicycles. You must mean something else."
I wrote back, "No. No. No. I want the bicycle-repair word." What I absolutely want is to suggest that before it's anything else, redemption is God mending the bicycle of our souls; God bringing out the puncture repair kit, re-inflating the tires, taking off the rust, making us roadworthy once more. Not so that we can take flight into ecstasy, but so that we can do the next needful mile of our lives.