The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Paperback – Jan 31 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. If there is such a thing as a disarming radical, 30-year-old Claiborne is it. A former Tennessee Methodist and born-again, high school prom king, Claiborne is now a founding member of one of a growing number of radical faith communities. His is called the Simple Way, located in a destitute neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is a house of young believers, some single, some married, who live among the poor and homeless. They call themselves "ordinary radicals" because they attempt to live like Christ and the earliest converts to Christianity, ignoring social status and unencumbered by material comforts. Claiborne's chatty and compelling narrative is magnetic—his stories (from galvanizing a student movement that saved a group of homeless families from eviction to reaching Mother Teresa herself from a dorm phone at 2 a.m.) draw the reader in with humor and intimacy, only to turn the most common ways of practicing religion upside down. He somehow skewers the insulation of suburban living and the hypocrisy of wealthy churches without any self-righteous finger pointing. "The world," he says, "cannot afford the American dream." Claiborne's conviction, personal experience and description of others like him are a clarion call to rethink the meaning of church, conversion and Christianity; no reader will go away unshaken. (Feb.)
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*Starred Review* From dressing the wounds of lepers in Calcutta to living among the homeless in Philadelphia to visiting families in Iraq, social activist Claiborne strives to live an authentic Christian life. In his view, he is a radical in the truest sense of the word, returning to the roots of Christianity by living as Jesus did and doing "small things with great love." A partner-founder of the Philadelphia-based faith community Simple Way, he presents an evangelical Christianity gentler and more inclusive than is usually seen, especially in the mass media. He describes Simple Way as a new culture that relies on radical interdependence and consists of grassroots organizations, intentional communities, and hospitality houses. Although the book isn't an autobiography, in it Claiborne reports much about his life: growing up in the Bible Belt, becoming a Jesus freak, moving to Philadelphia despite his family's misgivings, and helping the homeless there. Then he boldly requested an internship with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. She simply responded, "Come." Besides illuminating his own faith journey, Claiborne is insightful on the huge U.S. cultural and economic divide: the problem isn't that wealthy Christians don't care about the poor, he says, it's that they simply don't know the poor. A moving, often humorous account of a life of faith lived to the fullest. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
In a weird way this book reminded me a lot of Hauerwas' "With the Grain of the Universe". Both books show that violence is part of an insane world and that there is a new reality... a new world breaking into history through the resurrection of Jesus; a world where justice and righteousness meet. Shane's book is all a book could ever hope to be; a wonderful work towards inspiring and encouraging people to fall in love with Jesus and to become extremists for God's grace.
From the streets of Calcutta, to war-zones of Iraq, to neighbourhood slums, to money-multiplying Wall Street, Shane Claiborne transports the face of Christ into a suffering and lonely world. In Irresistible Revolution, he converts his stories into a compelling case for the "ordinary radical" . His down to earth style will engage you, much like a conversation with an old friend. But be prepared, much of what he has to say is far from comfortable. In these pages you will be dared to take up your cross, and tear down some walls. You will hear first hand of the miracle of community, of working together, being one body in Christ. You will be asked to drop the rock of unforgiveness and embrace the poor, the needy and the "ugly". And kiss complacency good-bye.
Watch out for the gut-wrenching and heart-breaking moments laced in pain...and some joyful, triumphant ones. Watch how you never lose the distinct feeling that Jesus is right there walking through every page as you read along. You will sense his presence watching over you, holding out His hand, insisting, "Come follow me...come and see." Watch yourself capture a fresh and renewed understanding of who Jesus was and what He asks of you...and behold the absolute ironic beauty of a revolution (a heart revolv-ing around Him) that is truly irresistible.
I know this sounds like "pie in the sky" kind of stuff, but I challenge everyone to read this book, see how it's working in real places, with ordinary people. It's time for all who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ to wake up, catch the vision of the transforming work God's inviting us into, and celebrate the life we are all created to live!
I found this book extremely comforting.
When I read the words of Jesus and then contrast that with the way I'm living my life, and the way Christians around me are living their lives, something isn't adding up. Something doesn't smell right. When I chat with church folks about these things the conclusion is often something like "yeah, these are tricky issues". ie. They seem to acknowledge my questions, but they realize they're entrenched in some of the same questionable lifestyle choices that I am, and aren't all that ready to come to the conclusion of "ugh, how then shall we live"?
The pattern of question that I seem to be coming back to is God's primary commandment, confirmed by Jesus, that we should love God with our whole being, and love others as if they were ourselves. I've heard that many times, but in the last year it has sunk in just how "radical" that is. It is earth shattering, really. And so as I wrestle with the implications of that, I have used my spiritual nose to hunt for people who seem to be struggling with that same question.
Some people, not many, but some, give off a really strong aroma that closely resembles the smell of Jesus in the gospels. For me, Shane is one of those folks. Another analogy would be that of a metal detector: When you wave it over that which you're searching for, it sets of loud squeals of excitement.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Prepare to change your life as you real this book on how to really love God. I am inspired, and will choose to act accordingly.Published 8 months ago by Ray
This is a must-have book!!! I bought this copy just to lend out to people.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
We are part of a church community that is drawn to this irresistible revolution - following Jesus, loving others, and inviting our neighbours to join in. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Darin Martin
Read this! It will challenge everything you think you know about Christianity and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Really, really, really good!Published 22 months ago by Truth Seeker
Shane weaves Biblical truth with his lives experiences in a poetic and inspiring way. I am looking forward to having Shane here in Victoria BC and hearing new stories of how God is... Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2013 by Glen
On the whole, Claiborne is a great writer who has a gripping style and is a natural and extraordinarily gifted communicator. Read more
I admire Shane Claiborne, I really do and I look at the things he is doing and I believe that God is working through him. Read morePublished on March 10 2009 by Braden Murray
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