What do you picture when you hear the word barbarian? Do you picture a caveman trying to figure out fire? A man on Wall Street shouting out scandalous words? Maybe you even picture someone at a four star restaurant talking with their mouth full of food? Whatever your image is of a barbarian, let me show you what The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus has to say about barbarians.
The Barbarian Invasion
Throughout the whole book McManus talks about being a barbarian for God but in the first chapter he starts out his book with a punch. McManus talks about William Wallace and uses him as a reference to a barbarian. William stood out, he didn’t stick with the civilized people, and he wasn’t afraid to be all that he could be in his devotion to freedom. Likewise, Christians should be devoted, strong followers to a strong King devoted to His people. Christians shouldn’t be afraid to be different, we shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what we believe in. We shouldn’t fear dying in God’s name. The times today are dangerous, very dangerous, but that shouldn’t stop us from being all that we can be for God.
The Barbarian Call
In the second chapter, well and in the whole book, McManus really tries to impress on Christians that we should be barbarians for God. We shouldn’t be afraid to do dangerous, out of the box, things for God. We should be willing to be all that we can be for God. We should step out of our comfort zones.
The Barbarian Tribe
“Discipleship has become the mechanism for uniformity rather than uniqueness.” The third chapter talks about how we only try to a certain degree and we hold ourselves back from our full potential of being a barbarian, a fully devoted Christian living by God’s standards and not the ‘public’ standard. A barbarian fights every step of the way and keeps moving forward, not looking back, but looking towards God. “Evolution is not the key to humanity’s freedom; transformation is.” The definition of evolution is: the gradual development of something into a more complex or better form. The definition of transformation is: a complete change. Evolution is something just changing into something that looks better, but evolution won’t always change the person inside. God wants us to change ourselves with His help to be more like Him and the reason God created humans was so that we could glorify Him. God created us in His image, so why not be humanity after God’s own heart instead of just His image. Thinking about the definitions of these, transformation is what humanity needs. Transformation is a complete change, and when we completely change for God then the results can only be freedom.
The Barbarian Revolt
In the fourth, and final, chapter McManus talks about civilized vs. barbarian. Civility focuses more on the fact that God loves us so much that we would never be put in danger. However, Barbarians will be in danger because of their belief in God, people won’t want to accept it and that puts Barbarians in danger. Even Jesus was considered as being a “barbarian” and the people of ‘normal’ society didn’t understand Him. People today want to be ‘normal’ and fit in so that people will accept them; but God doesn’t want just a ‘normal’ person, He wants us to stand out for Him and to be all that we can be, not just what people want us to be. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies however, we, as Barbarians, have to be prepared to do hard things in difficult situations. And we can’t always get by in life by going the safe route, sometimes we have to take the more dangerous route so that we can make progress towards God. Playing it safe is how we avoid conflicts, and it is the same with the Devil. If you don’t cause him difficulties then he will leave you alone. But we aren’t called to play it safe, Jesus calls us out to light the way for others, and in light there can’t be shadows. We are called to be barbarians and to make the darkness flee at the light. It won’t be easy but if it was easy then we would be playing it safe. We need to find the courage and freedom to be ourselves.
“Barbarians live as if they are naked before God and naked before men. They have nothing to hide; they do not waste their energy pretending to be someone they’re not.” Now how do you picture a barbarian?