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Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals [Hardcover]

Shane Claiborne
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very thorough and very thoughtfully done. For those who are attracted to a more traditional, liturgical form of devotional worship, this is the book for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect prayer book March 22 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been using this prayer book almost every morning for a few months now, and it has been very helpful for me. It draws me in to my prayer time, helps me to focus and centre myself, and then leaves a space to pray from the heart for as long as I want. The written prayers have both poetry and depth of theology. It is clearly trinitarian and speaks to both the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ. It relates our personal prayer time to the world around us and to the communion of saints that came before us and still surrounds us. I'm young and strong, but some may find the physical book itself heavy and cumbersome. Otherwise, I think it's the perfect prayer book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liturgy of the Hours Feb. 4 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Generally, I am pleased with the book. As its title suggests, it is somewhat "radical" in the political sense, empahsizing a a social justice approach to Christianity, but without sacrificing the parallel and necessary element of Christianity, namely personal moral perfection. I was pleased to see that on January 22, the theme for the day was a painful reminder of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe vs. Wade and an injuction to pray for the lives lost to abortion. A good source for simplified yet effective communal prayer, especially in schools for students and staff.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As described Feb. 17 2011
By Kpac
I received the item very promptly and in very good condition. The item was exactly as described, I am very happy with it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  108 reviews
164 of 165 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously Crafted, Refreshing, Interesting, but not enough Explanation of where the prayers come from. Dec 9 2010
By Benjamin Johnson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After a few years of exploring Christianity, having been introduced to Christianity by Mennonites and Evangelicals, pretending to be a Presbyterian for a while, flirting a little with Orthodoxy and even less with Catholicism, I finally found a church home with the Anglicans last year and have since been confirmed as an Anglican. One of the beautiful things about Anglicanism is The Book of Common Prayer which I have fallen in love with and use for personal daily prayer.

As other reviewers have noted (somewhat angrily) this book is not The Book of Common Prayer. Anyone who has read the product description, though, is already aware of this. It has many characteristics of The Book of Common Prayer though. There are outlines for Evening and Noonday prayer, but rather than having a simple rubric for Morning Prayer the book is filled with individual devotionals for each day of the year. So, for those who are familiar with both the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and those evangelical devotionals with a thought/meditation/prayer/reading/all-or-some-of-the-above, it might be helpful to think of this as something in between.

Perhaps it is not fair of me to write this review as I have certainly not read the entirety of the book (and I probably won't be done until a year from now--that's how the book works), but I will do my best to provide a review of what I have read of it.

The introduction is pretty good. It won't provide the depth of history behind liturgy that people who have already fallen in love with, studied, and practice liturgy would like. It is exactly what it claims to be--an introduction and nothing more. It seems that the intended audience is more those that are unfamiliar with liturgy than those who are familiar with it. It is what you would expect from the New Monastics in its critical attitude toward government and the idea of serving the Kingdom of God being mutually exclusive of serving the nations of this world. The point of being ecumenical is stressed over and over. It doesn't give a very complete history of liturgical prayer. Rather it just stresses that liturgy is a big part of the church's history. As the unhappy Anglican/Episcopal reviewers have mentioned, Thomas Cranmer is not even mentioned.

The Morning Prayers are pretty sweet. For those of you who are used to a tradition that uses liturgy, you'll either feel comfortable because of the way it seems sort of like what you use or you'll feel a bit uneasy about how it seems almost like it but not quite. I swung back and forth between those feelings reading the first nine days of morning prayers to get caught up. Aside from the liturgical aspect, the stories and quotes inserted about saints/heroes of Christianity are awesome. Great short little stories about amazing people. I really like this about this book.

One criticism I have about the liturgy in this book is that there's no reference made to where the material came from. I recognize a lot of it from my beloved Book of Common Prayer and a lot is straight out of the Bible, while other bits sound vaguely familiar. I've been to a lot of different kinds of churches and read a lot of liturgy, but I'm no expert so I can't pinpoint where it all came from. I wish there were a bunch of footnotes saying where all the material came from. That would be helpful in understanding what we're saying. Also, it's kind of difficult to appreciate another culture/tradition/time period's contribution when it's not even given credit. These people have clearly mined through so much material; I just wish I could have a map of where they've gone to get all of this.

The Occasional Prayers section is pretty helpful. A lot of these are comparable to some of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer with a few notable ones that have no parallel prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. Two that really stood out to me are A Litany to Honor Women and Death of Someone Killed in the Neighborhood. I specifically like these two because these are things I've actually tried to pray about and felt unable to find the words. Scripted prayers provide words to pray when you don't know how to put words to your thoughts and feelings.

In conclusion, I wish this book were more thoroughly annotated to provide a richer understanding of where the prayers come from, but aside from that I'm really liking it. As far as the criticism made by a couple of my disgruntled fellow Anglicans that it's not The Book of Common Prayer, they're absolutely right, so if you're looking for that just buy that. It's a pretty sweet book too. It's definitely got the leanings of the New Monastics. It's got their subversive pacifist fingerprints all over it (and I like that). It's different from any prayer book you've seen and hopefully will make everyone feel a little bit welcome and a little bit displaced, which is good because we've got a lot to learn from trying out other folks' ways of doing things.

I'm sure I'll find more I like and dislike about it as the year goes on and this review is certainly not my final take on it, but hopefully some of you can benefit from my thoughts from the first few readings.

Grace and Peace to all of you.
74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paperback is not the same as hardcover Feb. 10 2012
By Anna - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book, I expected the paperback to be the same as the hardcover. The paperback book is actually a pocket edition and is a very abbreviated form of the hardcover. The hardcover offers different morning prayers for every day of the year, one afternoon prayer and different evening prayers for every day of the week. The paperback contains one prayer for morning, one for afternoon and one for evening. This is very disappointing because they looked like they'd be the same item. I am shipping the paperback book back and getting the hardcover.
110 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common Prayer Nov. 16 2010
By Thomas Johnson-Medland - Published on
Review of Common Prayer
If there is anything that the New Monastics gravitate toward in a sympathetic impulse that may be just beyond the reach of their own self-awareness is the ability to tell stories and to find in them the meaningful and hearty grist from the mill of life. I think most folks involved with this ancient and contemporary call are aware of how much "story" is vital in their lives, I just don't know if most of them know how good they are at telling them.

This prayerbook has the feel of a family gathering. This is a "sit on the porch and get ready to talk to and about God and all of the folks He has worked into His story over the millennia.". Don't get me wrong. There is no dumbing down of the spiritual dilemma or of the complexity of understanding the pre-existent nature of the eternal logos hypostatically conjoined. It is just that this is a prayerbook that helps you feel at ease with our spiritual formation in Jesus.

First, it is simple. We start out with a sensational discussion of liturgy and the traditional pieces of worship that so many folks know that they have heard about, but just don't know much about. It let's us in on some of the mystery behind liturgical worship, the church and the saints. There is a brief description of the daily services.

From there we move out into a simple set of prayers designed for evening. The prayers are not huge and cumbersome (trust me - after twenty five years in the Orthodox Church I know cumbersome) but simple and freeing. They are moored to the holiest of traditions throughout church history and prayer writing - they are moored to scriptural prayer.

Sure you will recognize some things from a Presbyterian format or from the Anglican Monastic Breviary, but that is only because, unbeknownst to most folks who don't liturgy hop, most all of the Christian traditions are hitched to the Psalms and canticles from all throughout scripture. These New Monastics do a fine job of taking the powerful canticles and psalms from our past and setting them free into something manageable.

Not long ago, in one of my books, I asked if folks twenty years from now - in contemporary Christianity - would know the creeds or perhaps the names of some of the great church fathers and mothers that helped us to understand Christian kerygma and dogma. When I read this prayerbook, I am given hope that maybe they will.

Morning prayer is written for everyday of the year. You will find canticles, verses and psalms along with readings from the Old Testament and the Gospels. The part that sets this family story apart from other tellings of prayer is that each day there is something that connects us to a long line of faith. There will be a quote from a church father or mother or a story about the life of some Jesus-lover from the last century. It gives us a family context for our faith that includes the prophets and the social workers, the poor and the oppressed, the rabbis and the farm-workers. Everyone is welcomed at this story of prayer. All are called to this porch of God where we sit about and tell the telling of where we have gone with our Father.

That is refreshing.

The cycle of morning prayer is laid out in a month by month sequence beginning with December, the month of our baby Jesus' birth; the Lenten season of Advent. Each month has some dialog concerning one of the twelve marks of the New Monasticism, and some fantastic artwork that is reminiscent of the Catholic Worker woodcut prints. You will also find a collection of discussion boxes throughout the book on any number of topics and ways of enacting a rich and creative connection with God and His beloved ones scattered all around us - even our enemies.

The prayers call out for silence. Their short length allow us to make love to the ancient craft of sitting in stillness, chewing on what the heart has heard, what it thinks it may have heard, and what it has tied it's feeling to in the words the mind has read.

There are occasional prayers in the back. Perhaps for blessing an office or a home. Perhaps for an adoption. Perhaps for the death of someone in the neighborhood. The end of the book is filled with songs and canticles used through out the prayer services - with the accompanying music.

This book exudes a sense of devotion to history and ease of display that can only come from harsh and laborious hours of toiling research and tears before God. You can't put something together that feels this complete and well practiced without having done the research. There is much to be attained in the praying of these hours of sweat - not only the authors' who have pulled it all together, but from the great line of God-lovers this prayerbook reveals. This ain't Dr. Seuss's "One Prayer, Two Prayer, Red Prayer Blue Prayer." This is a contemplative look at where we have been as a people of God, a prophetic look at where we are called to go, and a sensitive telling of how we can get there - TOGETHER.

In a day and age where we could conceivably see a major collapse of what we have known to be mainline denominationalism - or at least a drastic overhaul of the beast - this prayerbook emerges on the wind to offer hope. This prayerbook says: "Come Methodist, Quaker, Baptist, Anglican, non-Denominationalist, non-attending Believer, Catholic, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Lutheran, et. al., come and share together in the great underground flow of words that all of your fathers and mothers have offered up to God in Jesus throughout time. Sit with us on the porch of our believing. Listen and share, because we are all one family. Sure, there were times you did not get along, but sit, these times are not those. We need to rest and sit a spell and talk to our Father - together. We can still do that. Come. Sit. Pray with me. Let us see where we have been and take hope for the road ahead is long, and we have much to do together to bear His easy yoke of holding hands and loving. We have much to do to be made anew into His image and likeness. Come, sit, pray with me."

This type of stuff, this stuff that is coming to the fore of theology today, this stuff is why it is great to be a God-lover today. Stay open and don't miss this chance for Jesus to get us all together, one more time, so we might continue becoming people that include the whole world in a salvation so much bigger than we could ever know or hope for - one that includes all God's children. That we might get together one more time to tell the ancient Tale and to love the ancient Love.

Order this today and be sure to attend one of the countless launch celebrations!

Ciao! TJM+
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book of prayer for those looking for an interdenominational liturgy Dec 15 2010
By pray4orphans - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received my copy right before the first day in the book (December 1st) so I've been praying with this book daily since then. I am loving it! As an individual who loves liturgy and common prayer but would not consider himself to be Anglican/Episcopalian nor necessarily a part of any of the classic liturgical denominations, I find this prayer book to be a refreshing look at the 'style' - if you will. As a youth pastor, this has been a good way for me to introduce a form daily and communal prayer and Scripture study to some of my more dedicated kids without having to throw extra explicitly denominational traditions/ideas/concepts on them that they may not be familiar with nor do they necessarily need. Although it does mention this 'New Monasticism' stuff, it's more of a "hey check this out if you want to" and not shoved down your throat at every turn.

I enjoy the Morning, Mid-day, and Evening setup. It allows you to start your day with good prayer, good Word, and some thoughts to roll over in your mind for the day that stem from a multitude of traditions. I've been pleased to read quotes from Church Fathers all the way to modern missionaries. I've found that taking the Mid-day prayer at my lunch break has made my workday much more (only word I can think of to put here is 'beautiful'). And the Evening prayer helps me to go to bed on a good note no matter what. I also enjoy the 'Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers' ideas at the end of each month with ways to put the faith into practice.
I like the inclusion of the Occasional Prayers, especially the adoption prayer.

My only concern is the Songbook doesn't include complete lyrics. This does make the song section of the morning prayer difficult if someone you are praying with (or you yourself) does not know the song which, considering the wide variety of traditions they pulled from, isn't too hard to fathom. I'm attempting to compile a complete set but some songs are difficult to find (or cost money to get the lyrics to, such as 'Freedom Train').

Although I disagree with other reviewers that a complete set of source references is needed, I do think the Songbook should be fleshed out.

I also disagree with those complaining that this isn't THE Book of Common Prayer and that Thomas Cranmer isn't mentioned. First, the description shows that it is not and even a quick flip in the bookstore would show it. Finally, the subtitle should be a major clue. Beyond that, it is not meant to be the classic denominational handbook but a guide for praying and reading together no matter what your community looks like.

To summarize: If it's going to hurt your feelings that this isn't the 'official' Book of Common Prayer with Thomas Cranmer's touch . . . get over it and enjoy it for what it IS. For everyone else, pick up this neat little liturgy for the rest of us today. It will open your eyes and help you to focus in your prayer time.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for experienced and inexperienced Jan. 3 2011
By Jeffrey Borden - Published on
I received this book, Common Prayer--A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, just before Christmas. I've had almost a couple weeks with it and I like it; I like it a lot. I've had the opportunity to compare through examination and actual practice, this prayer book with several prayer guides and books that I regularly use. I am impressed with the bridge it makes between the ancient, the "old," and the contemporary.

There are several things that have taken me a little bit to get used to, but that is probably more likely attributed to my being accustomed to other prayer book styles as opposed to any fault of Common Prayer. The layout or flow of the Liturgy begins with the evening prayer; a little different from what I am used to, but I was able to find my footing rather quickly. The second section, and meat of the Liturgy, follows evening prayer and is titled, Morning Prayer. This section is effectively the Liturgy of the Day comprised of prayers, psalms, Scripture lessons, and song/hymn for the day.

I like that the months have been themed and the prayer hours of that month have been appropriately grouped to compliment the month. I also appreciate there are suggestions for reading that help to inspire and educate the reader to selected theme. Two remaining sections of the book include Occasional Prayers for specific events or seasons, and a songbook with hymns and songs. As a musician, I am thankful for the music notation and the guitar chords included in this collection of hymns.

While I prefer a couple of other resources for my personal devotions, I have found the perfect (first time) use for this Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals prayer book. I am starting the year using it with in my morning family devotions and Bible reading. I think the book is best suited for use within a community, but it can also serve well as a tool for personal prayer.

This is fine collection for prayer whether it is used corporately or individually. This morning's prayers provided awakened awareness, conversation, and a challenging call for me and my family. I will enjoy using this resource in the coming year and for years to come. I think it has a place in the devotional life of the person who is used to fixed prayer and the person who has little or no experience with fixed prayer. I highly recommend it for anyone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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