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Advent Conspiracy [Paperback]

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning Consumerism Into Compassion Nov. 3 2009
You must admit, it's a pretty interesting way to celebrate the birth of Jesus. God chose to enter the world through the poor, to be poor, and we mark this earth-shattering event by spending billions on stuff that we generally don't need.

The good people at Advent Conspiracy ask the question, 'Are you tired of how consumerism has stolen the soul of Christmas?' I am. I'm also tired of how it steals the soul of God's Church, and how it threatens to steal my own soul. Joining the Advent Conspiracy is a good way to fight back. In simple but piercing and powerful language this book looks at the need to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All. One could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps this is not just about Christmas, but about the Gospel of Jesus itself. But, let's start with Christmas.

Starting with a brief history of how the Advent Conspiracy started, and excellent real-life examples of how others are living this out, this book will change your life if you let it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Advent Changer Dec 28 2009
I found out about Advent Conspiracy from a friend and immediately went to their web page. I knew that I was going to participate in some way.

If you're checking this book out because of the stories you've seen on CNN or read about it online, the book is well worth the price. Because I had already been unknowingly following the principles of Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All for years the book wasn't totally transformational for me, but I appreciated the reminders. It was a great way to start my Christmas season.
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5.0 out of 5 stars reclaiming Christmas Oct. 29 2009
"In our hearts we know that consumerism is not the Christian way to celebrate the birth of Christ" (p.30). This book puts to words what resonates in so many hearts. Some how the relentless busyness of the season does not line up with a baby in manger. The Advent Conspiracy book not only helps bring focus to what this season is really about but also challenges me/us with some practical ways to make a real difference in people's lives through this season. My family has been implementing many of these for a few years and it has made the season a lot more fun!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Holiday Reading Dec 14 2009
By Chris Stapper - Published on
Advent Conspiracy is a very accessible look at how to recapture the amazing story of Christmas. I have followed the Advent Conspiracy movement/website for a while, and I was thrilled when Chris Seay & co. released this book. The message of Advent Conspiracy resonates so much with my family and me. My wife and I have two young children and we have often thought about what message we are sending to our children each Christmas as we follow along with the rest of our culture and spend extravagantly on ourselves each year.

This year, we have decided to make some drastic changes not just in how much we spend, but also in what we choose to give to our children and families. For example, we are giving our parents some homemade gifts this year, and money that we will encourage them to give to a charitable organization. We decided the best gift we could give them is the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone else. All of this has grown out of our relationship with Jesus being challenged and strengthened through the Advent Conspiracy message. We still have a long way to go, but my wife and I are putting ourselves on the path to recovering the message of Christmas.

This book is a great read and the concepts are brilliant. It is a great accompaniment to the holiday season, but the truth is that this is a message we need throughout the year.
38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good principles, but I'd rather buy a journal from the woman in the slums of Calcutta! Dec 17 2009
By Amy E. Sondova - Published on
I love to shop. While I'm not a shopaholic, I still love a good deal. I love to give gifts to others (especially those of the handmade variety). Often, I pointed to James 1:17 and not that God is the Giver of all good things and like any Father adores bestowing presents upon His children. And He does. Sadly, our hands are open to greedily receive His gifts without so much as a thank you--and really, that's the problem. We are so plagued by consumerism; we treat God's gifts as a commodity.

A book like Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World? has the ability to convict even an avowed bargain, Black Friday-loving shopper like me. While I'm not hanging up my purse for the holidays, Advent Conspiracy gave me plenty of food for thought.

Gripping at the get-go, Advent Conspiracy makes a simple case. We as Christians (and a culture) miss the whole point of Jesus' birth year after year. In fact, on the Bethlehem night so many years ago, the world barely took notice of a pregnant teen giving birth to Messiah in a dirty stable, even though Heaven opened wide and angels heralded His birth. And now in the 21st Century, we shove the nativity under our enormous Christmas tree--wedged between a stuffed Santa and a Wii (wrapped in pretty paper, of course).

The authors of Advent Conspiracy Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder decided this shouldn't be the picture of an American Christmas. Moreover, it was a sad depiction of "the foundational narrative of the Church." Instead, these men decided to challenge their congregations to spend less, give more, and worship more fully. The results were amazing, so now the trio has written down their story to inspire others to do the same--all for $12.99 a pop. C'mon, you have to see the humorous irony in that!

Spending less, giving more, worshiping more fully, and loving all--the four facets on which the movement is based are things that we all need to incorporate into our lives. The authors are careful to note that spending less does not mean that we should not spend nothing--they urge us to spend cautiously (and within budget), know what we are buying, and make recommendations on products that help impoverish peoples, such as journals handcrafted by women in the slums of Calcutta or Bible covers made by residents of a Buenos Aires "shantytown."

By giving more of ourselves in our relationships, we share something that can't be found in a store bought item wrapped in pretty paper. Also, through these relationships, Christians have the opportunity to share the Gospel by loving all with actions and with words, if necessary. Instead of getting overwhelmed by preparations for the holidays, the Advent Conspiracy is about simplifying so we can focus on the miracle of God becoming an infant--a baby born to die for our sins.

What I don't like about Advent Conspiracy is that the $12.99 price tag perpetuates the spirit of consumerism and it cannot be overlooked that Zondervan, a big publishing company owned by a bigger publishing company, stands to profit from book sales. Plus, the book makes mention of Living Water International A LOT. While the organization, which builds wells in towns that desperately need clean water, is a good one, does LWI have to be the main example for so many stories? The authors urge consumers not to buy products that were manufactured in China (saying this leaves more stores in the mall out). Meanwhile, I have a living room full of toys I need to wrap which were manufactured in--you got it--China. These toys were donated by well-meaning folks to kids in foster care who wouldn't receive any presents this Christmas, even though their friends are sure to get some good loot.

I know this isn't going to be a popular review, especially among die hards who are screaming, "Right on, man!" Even some of the craft supplies I buy to make my presents were made in other countries. I mean, I don't know how to start making my own Styrofoam balls, you know? Or clothes! Because where was the fabric created? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to buy consumer products that were not crafted in countries with less-than-desirable labor practices. Do I feel sick about it? Of course! Will I stop buying these things? Probably not. That is the problem with the Advent Conspiracy--I don't know that we can truly enact the authors' ideas about shopping in a global economy. Fortunately, Advent Conspiracy offers shoppers like me hope. We can start in places like craft fairs and buy from 10,000 Villages.

Advent Conspiracy is an interesting read, and definitely a worthy project. The book could be half as long (perhaps cutting its price in half?) and still communicate its central message, which is bogged down in personal testimonies on how Advent Conspirators gave to worthy causes. Honestly, I don't want to pay to read the testimonies of a bunch of anonymous conspirators or read questions dedicated to an Advent Conspiracy DVD I didn't even get with the book. Perhaps Zondervan and Advent Conspiracy should have been more thoughtful about the marketing of this. Instead of paying twelve dollars and change for a book that's preaching to the choir, I think I'd rather buy one of those handcrafted journals from the women living in the slums of Calcutta.

*I did not buy the Advent Conspiracy, but was provided a review copy by the Conspirators themselves.*
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rethinking Christmas Nov. 23 2009
By M Erikson - Published on
Many thanks to the Advent Conspiracy for providing me with the book to review. As a lifelong Christmas season fan I was struck by the concept driving the book -- it really is about a paradigm readjustment not simply a book idea. The vision behind A.C. is that Christmas can/should be about more than Americans consuming more and more stuff. This isn't a particularly new thought, but the writers do an excellent job of painting that vision with refreshing candor and clarity. So many of us find ourselves being pulled in certain directions at the holidays that we know are not helpful, encouraging, wise or biblical. Hats off to the folks at Advent Conspiracy for refusing to settle for something less at this time of year than genuine heart engagement. As a few of the reviewers have noted, the material is thought-provoking, interesting and challenging. However, it does read more like an "idea starter" than a deep theological treatise on advent. I would have enjoyed a tighter more intensive look at the gospel narratives surrounding the birth of Christ. A little more exegetical study done on a few of the key New Testament texts to help readers understand the ancient complexities and controversy around Jesus' birth would have made a good book even better. However, that isn't the primary thrust of this book (and you can find plenty of others that walk that path). If you're looking for a simple, clear, effective way to help your nuclear family or your church family shatter the holiday mold, then this book will start you down that road. And from what I can tell, that road is one that would be worth traveling for many more Americans this holiday season.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource for Church Leaders Dec 8 2009
By Rebecca M. Goodwin - Published on
In today's sour economy, folks are anxious about consumerism and willing to delve into alternative gift-giving and the spiritual meaning of Christmas. I am a pastor, and we are using it in our church as our theme for the weeks leading up to Christmas, and our congregation is truly enjoying it. Our adult and youth Sunday School classes are reading the book and watching the DVD segments and having wonderful discussions. I am using the theme for sermons this month, with two of my messages titled "Let's Conspire!" and "Give More PRESENCE!" inspired by the book. As a pastor, I am always on the lookout for resources to make the season meaningful without being "guilt-trippy." This joy-filled, lightly-humored book is short, sweet, to the point, and practical.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Way to Celebrate Dec 19 2010
By Cello Player - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I am 11 and I thought it was a great book. And Greg Holder happens to be my pasture.I loved the book.
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