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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Where to start…With Thanksgiving

26 05 2012

Jessica, my spouse, recommended that I read One Thousand Gifts immediately after she finished it.  I am now beginning to understand why.

This is one of those books that you begin to read and you’re like, “Okay, yup, um hmm, I agree with that, sure…” and so on.  Its principle is very simple: be thankful for everything in life because God gave it to you.  Voskamp starts from the perspective that everything in life is a gift from God.  Now this isn’t new or ground breaking, right?  Most of us would admit that we should be thankful for everything from our food, our homes, our relationships, to our very life.

Where she begins to break new ground, or at least bring a new perspective on things for me, is when she admits that those of us who buy into this perception of ‘thanks for all things living’ do it with blanket statements.  We give thanks to God for all things all the time.  Not that we give thanks for all things when they happen or when we think of it.  We literally say, “Thank you God for everything.”  The question is, “Do we mean it?  Do we live it?  Do we emit thanksgiving and praise for everything?”  I think most of us, definitely including myself here, would say, “No.”  I say it because I know I should, because I know it’s the way I should be, but it isn’t how I live my life.  I don’t show my thanks to my family, friends, and certainly not to God for everything that is done for me.  I keep living selfishly for myself, then try to tell myself that what I have received I gained out of my own will and doing.

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