Last week I had to step out of a meeting for a while, and, as is my way, I browsed through some books on display in our office. I stumbled across Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution - Living as an Ordinary Radical (Zondervan, 2006), and was immediately drawn in by the provocative title. What a compelling and challenging read it has been!
Claiborne is a founding member of an Intentional Christian Community called The Simple Way (www.thesimpleway.org/). The community is based in downtown Philadelphia. A bloke in his 30's, Claiborne hails from Tennessee, has studied under Tony Campolo and others at Eastern University, served an internship at Willow Creek, traveled to Iraq as a peacemaker while the bombs were falling, been arrested countless times, seen miracles of provision happen again and again and challenged the church to wake up from its comfortable slumber.
Claiborne dares to believe that the kingdom or reign of God can be ushered in as 'ordinary radicals' dare to take Jesus at his word and follow him in a revolution of ordinary acts of love. He advocates that the Bible needs to be acted as much as it needs to be believed. Claiborne loves the church enough to, in my view, prophetically call it to step out beyond its wall and work with others for justice.
The book is full of great stories and wonderful quotes, such as:
'I came to realize that preachers were telling me to lay my life at the foot of the cross and weren't giving me anything to pick up' (p38)
'Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way.' (p117)
'What the world needs is people who believe so much in another world that they cannot help but begin enacting it now.' (p149)
This is a book marked by passion, humility and love of God. It has, and will continue to challenge me, especially as I prepare a series of messages for our church on the teachings of Jesus. I highly recommend it.