There was a story told (probably apocryphal) in seminary about how crusaders, as they were preparing for battle, would be baptized with their sword hand out of the water. The soldiers would march through the water, with the water washing over thier heads, but their hands held high out of of the water. They didn’t want to baptize the hand that would be used to kill their enemy. Everything else had been consecrated and set apart for God, but their hand was their own, to do with as they please. (source)
I'm not sure where I first heard this one, but the image of holding things 'out of the water' is a powerful one. It's probably easier for other people to spot what's in your upraised hand, but we don't always welcome that kind of feedback. How fully immersed do we want to get?
I heard it put in another way in this book by Gavin Calver: When it comes to a cooked breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.
Mike Pilavachi speaks of a young man he was dealing with, who split up with his long-term girlfriend because there might have been someone better out there. He makes the comment that whilst older people give a sharp intake of breath at this point, folk in their 20s and 30s often shrug and say 'fair enough'. In a commercial culture which is constantly offering 'upgrades' to the technology we have come to depend on, commitment to a particular make & model is actually a hindrance to getting the best. Consumerism erodes a sense that commitment is a virtue.
The crusaders story reminds us that we're not the first ones to struggle with the notion of 100% commitment. But how do we talk about a discipleship which costs everything in a culture of chickens?