Book Review: Shane Claiborne “The Irresistible Revolution”

15 04 2013
"The Irresistible Revolution" By: Shane Claiborne

“The Irresistible Revolution” By: Shane Claiborne

What a truly moving, inspiring, spirit lifting, fire starting work this is.  Whew!  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?! Well, it is!

Claiborne’s book, The Irresistible Revolution, is somewhat of a biography/memoir/theological discourse/prophetic literature that will move the reader to action if they have a pulse.  Shane is as humble a servant of Christ as I have seen and truly lives by what he preaches.  In this book you will journey with Shane to India where he spends the summer working with Mother Teresa  in Calcutta, among the poorest of the poor, living in a leper colony.  You will join him in his struggle with the church and its many faults and how he comes to grips with it.  You will join him on a years internship at one of the biggest Mega-churches in the world, Willow Creek.  Claiborne then tries to discern where God is calling him next and how he can best follow Jesus and his teachings.  He decides with several other friends to open The Simple Way,  a house in downtown Philadelphia where they live among the hungry, the poor, and the homeless.  He shares of times that he slept on the sidewalks or in the parks in solidarity with the homeless.  He shares of many marches and protests that he has been a part of fighting for the poor and the hungry. He shares of being arrested for sleeping with and feeding the poor in a park in Philadelphia.  You will join him on a trip to Bagdad, Iraq just before the bombings of the Second Gulf War, in which he is peacefully protesting the use of violence.  He tells about hearing the bombs dropping around them and then visiting the hospitals and seeing the wounded children and innocent who were “collateral damage” and apologizing to them for his country’s actions.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Shane shares.

Even if you disagree with his stance on particular issues, it is very difficult not to take Shane and his faith seriously.  He is authentic and genuine.  He is also humble and does not present a ‘Holier than thou’ persona.  He is simply trying to live his life how Jesus lived his and how Jesus calls each of us to live.  Shane’s stories are simply him trying his hardest to love his neighbor, stand with the poor, the oppressed, the impoverished, and to love his enemies.

I found myself often saying, “YES! YES! Exactly!! Why doesn’t anybody else get this?!” And then the next page I’d be screaming, “NO!!!” because  I would feel the guilt and condemnation in my own heart of just picking and choosing to follow Jesus in ways that are easy or beneficial to me.

You will find yourself rejoicing in Claiborne’s work.

You will also feel very uncomfortable and convicted by Claiborne’s work.

Above all, Shane has a vision for the church and its role in the world today that is true to the Gospel and what Jesus has called us to do as his followers.  His vision is about as far away from what society and American culture tell us is our purpose in life, but so far, I’ve been extremely disappointed in what Society has taught and told us… and think maybe, just maybe, God’s way is the better way…

I fully recommend this book!!  Prepare for your heart to be opened and for your life to be changed if you read this book.

A link to buy the book if you wish: http://www.amazon.com/Irresistible-Revolution-Living-Ordinary-Radical/dp/0310266300/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366045631&sr=1-3&keywords=shane+claiborne

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Back for another go…

1 04 2013

Well, here I tried…

And as with so many other things that I find healthy and life-giving, I ended up getting too busy, too consumed, too lazy, too scattered, or whatever other excuses I might use to justify my lack of focusing on self-health and healthy spiritual practices.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about the fact that I started this blog to be an outlet, a spiritual practice to let out my thoughts and feelings and perhaps receive some feedback. I enjoyed it…all 5 posts that I created…Indeed it has been almost a year since I last wrote and posted.

Oh, I know exactly what happened. It happens far too often. And, I’m sure, I am not the only one this happens too. I get all fired up to start something that I know will be healthy for me… that I know will be good… that I know will be life-giving:

Dieting
Exercise
Meditation
Morning and Evening Prayer
Intentional Daily Scripture Reading For Me

These are just a few of the practices that have been tried multiple times.  Each time I begin excited and ready to take on the world…Each time I begin knowing that this time will be different, that this time I will follow through, that this time I will choose to continue what is healthy for me.

And this works for a week…maybe more if I’m lucky.  Each time it’s a different reason that I end up stopping, but what happens with each practice, without fail, is I let myself down once.  I might get over that one and pick myself back up, but then I fail again.  And maybe a week after failing the practice I think, “Maybe I should start back up again…I enjoyed it when I did it.”  And my response to myself?

“Why bother?  You will only fail again…you will only let yourself down one more time…you will only be right back here…So, why bother?”

And of course I listen to myself…which is a problem…you’d think I’d have learned to stop doing that by now.

So, this process happened with my blog.  I was going to post at least once a week, if not every other day.  I placed stupid, silly expectations on myself that I knew weren’t realistic.  When I failed those unrealistic expectations I asked myself, “Why bother?”

Well, I’m going to bother.  I’m going to try to not place unrealistic expectations on myself and to just write when I feel moved to write…to just write when I need to write.

You see, one thing I have found, especially in the almost two years now of being a pastor, is that it is difficult to practice what I preach.  To put into practice the fact that I am not the one in control.  To put into practice the fact that in Christ I am able to let my failures, sins, and blemishes go time after time after time after time.  To put into practice letting go of my guilt, self disappointment, and fear, knowing that God loves me know matter what, that God even loves me in my brokenness and failures and struggles and pain.

Yes…it is difficult to practice what I preach.

But I figure….if Christ can suffer and die on a cross for me and for you and for all of creation…if Christ can conquer death, not just for himself but for all, and rise from that tomb…Then maybe, just maybe, in Christ, I can let go of my failures, rise from my self-given disappointments, and give it another go…