Radical Discipleship

by Ray Reuter on June 28, 2018

My Dad transitioned to eternal life 10 days ago. I share this post in his memory.

My Dad was a suffering servant. In the last 10+ years of his life, he was constantly burdened with health challenges and asked to suffer pain and discomfort. Dad consistently, and without complaint, would offer up his suffering for others. His ability to bear all that pain and suffering was amazing, and clearly a God-thing.

Ron Rolheiser writes and shares … When I look at life, I see three great struggles, and each of these has a corresponding level of Christian discipleship. Those great struggles and those levels of discipleship in our human and spiritual journey are …

  • Essential discipleship – The struggle to get our lives together.
  • Generative discipleship – The struggle to give our lives away.
  • Radical discipleship – The struggle to give our deaths away.

Anthony Reuter lived radical discipleship — the struggle to give his death away as the final stage of his life. Christians believe that Jesus lived for us and that he died for us, that he gave us both his life and his death. But we often fail to distinguish that there are two clear and separate movements here: Jesus gave his life for us in one movement, and he gave his death for us in another. He gave his life for us through his activity, through his generative actions for us; and he gave his death through his passivity, through absorbing in love the helplessness, diminutions, humiliations, and loneliness of dying.

Like Jesus, we too are meant to give our lives away in generosity and selflessness, but we are also meant to leave this planet in such a way that our diminishment and death is our final, and perhaps greatest, gift to the world. Needless to say that’s not easy. Walking in discipleship behind the master will require that we too will eventually sweat blood and feel “a stone’s throw” from everybody. This struggle, to give our deaths away, as we once gave our lives away, constitutes radical discipleship.

My Dad and his essential, generative, and in particular his radical discipleship has been an inspiration for my role as a devoted, loving husband … a loving and merciful father … an intentional, active “Papa Ray” grandfather … and a leader in building stronger men for Jesus Christ. I am confident his legacy will continue to bear abundant fruit.

Anthony Reuter … WELL DONE good and faithful servant! I honor you and your work here on earth — giving both your life and death away. Now rejoice and share in your master’s happiness!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Reuter June 29, 2018 at 9:12 am

Beautifully written! His legacy lives on beautifully in you!


Art Deyo June 29, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Lois and I ready your “Unfettered Thoughts” about your dad during our devotions this morning. What a blessing. As I go into major back surgery on July 17 (fuse 4 vertebrae) and face more pain than I even have now, I want to be a “Radical Disciple.” Thanks, Ray and Julie, for modeling a great marriage and great parenting and grandparenting for us. Learning to be 78,
Art Deyo


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