The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

4.6 76
by Shane Claiborne
     
 

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Living as an Ordinary Radical

Many of us find ourselves caught somewhere between unbelieving activists and inactive believers. We can write a check to feed starving children or hold signs in the streets and feel like we’ve made a difference without ever encountering the faces of the suffering masses. In this book, Shane Claiborne describes an authentic

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Overview

Living as an Ordinary Radical

Many of us find ourselves caught somewhere between unbelieving activists and inactive believers. We can write a check to feed starving children or hold signs in the streets and feel like we’ve made a difference without ever encountering the faces of the suffering masses. In this book, Shane Claiborne describes an authentic faith rooted in belief, action, and love, inviting us into a movement of the Spirit that begins inside each of us and extends into a broken world. Shane’s faith led him to dress the wounds of lepers with Mother Teresa, visit families in Iraq amidst bombings, and dump $10,000 in coins and bills on Wall Street to redistribute wealth. Shane lives out this revolution each day in his local neighborhood, an impoverished community in North Philadelphia, by living among the homeless, helping local kids with homework, and “practicing resurrection” in the forgotten places of our world.

Shane’s message will comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable . . . but will also invite us into an irresistible revolution. His is a vision for ordinary radicals ready to change the world with little acts of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Youth Worker Journal
'Shane dares readers to evaluate their lives and reimagine a first-century posture to following Jesus in the 21st century....If you want a comfy Christian life, this book is not for you. But if you want to be challenged, uncomfortable, and even changed, it is a must read.'
e Pistle (Evangelicals for Social Action)
'Editor's Pick!...Inspiring. Fascinating. Challenging. Convicting. Loving. These are just a few of the words that describe the extraordinary story of Claiborne's journey from middle-class Christianity in east Tennessee to radical incarnational faith among the poor in inner-city Philadelphia.'
YouthWorker Journal
'Shane dares readers to evaluate their lives and reimagine a first-century posture to following Jesus in the 21st century....If you want a comfy Christian life, this book is not for you. But if you want to be challenged, uncomfortable, and even changed, it is a must read.'
ePistle (Evangelicals for Social Action)
'Editor's Pick!...Inspiring. Fascinating. Challenging. Convicting. Loving. These are just a few of the words that describe the extraordinary story of Claiborne's journey from middle-class Christianity in east Tennessee to radical incarnational faith among the poor in inner-city Philadelphia.'
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Youthworker Journal
'This is the book that will not let me go....this book has called me, and many others, to action, to a different kind of life....if you read it seriously, it may mess with your mind, heart and even your life.'

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310266303
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
02/01/2006
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
210,136
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.19(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

It's what always happens to the saints and prophets who are dangerous: we bronze them, we drain them of their passion and life and trap them in stained-glass windows and icons, confining them safely in memories of the past. St. Francis becomes a birdbath, Malcolm X
is put on a stamp, and Martin Luther King gets a holiday.
And Jesus gets commercialized, whether it's the plastic night-lights or the golden crucifixes. (And now there is a bobbing-head 'Buddy Jesus' for your car and the 'Jesus is my homeboy' T-shirt.) It becomes hard to know who Jesus really is, much less to imagine that
Jesus ever laughed, cried, or had poop that smelled.
I can remember when Christianity was still safe, comfortable, trendy. I grew up in the Bible Belt, in East
Tennessee, where there's a church building on nearly every corner. I can't remember meeting anyone Jewish or Muslim, and I distinctly remember being dissuaded from dating a Catholic girl because she 'prayed to
Mary.' I attended two or three different youth groups,
whichever had the best entertainment and drew the largest crowd. Church was a place where there were cute girls, free junk food, and cheap snowboarding trips. I discovered a Chris­tianity that entertained me with quirky songs and velcro walls.1
In middle school, I had a sincere 'conversion'
experience. We took a trip to a large Christian festival with bands, speakers, and late-night pranks. One night a short, bald preacherman named Duffy Robbins gave an invitation to 'accept Jesus,' and nearly our whole youth group went forward (a new concept for most of us), crying and snotting, hugging people we didn't know. I was born again. The next year, we went to that same festival, and most of us went forward again (it was so good the first time) and got born again, again.
In fact, we looked forward to it every year. I must have gotten born again six or eight times, and it was great every time. (I highly recommend it.)
But then you start to think there must be more to
Christianity, more than just laying your life and sins at the foot of the cross. 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. A lot of us were hearing 'don't smoke, don't drink, don't sleep around' and naturally started asking, 'Okay, well, that was pretty much my life, so what do I do now?' Where were the do's? And nobody seemed to have much to offer us. Handing out tracts at the mall just didn't seem like the fullness of Chris­tian discipleship, not to mention it just wasn't as fun as making out at the movies.
I was just another believer. I believed all the right stuff --- that Jesus is the Son of God, died and rose again. I
had become a 'believer,' but I had no idea what it means to be a follower. People had taught me what Chris­tians believe, but no one had told me how Chris­tians live.
So as we do in our culture, I thought perhaps I
needed to buy more stuff, Chris­tian stuff. Luckily, I
found an entire Chris­tian industrial complex ready to help with Chris­tian music, bumper stickers, T-shirts,
books, and even candy ('Testamints' . . . dead serious .
. . mints with a Bible verse attached, candy with a
Chris­tian aftertaste). They had lists of bands and the
Chris­tian alternatives to them, so I got rid of all my old
CDs. (And I must confess, I was a bit disappointed by the Chris­tian counterfeit. Who could compare to Guns N' Roses and Vanilla Ice?)

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
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.) — Publisher’s Weekly

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Meet the Author

Shane Claiborne is a prominent activist and soughtafter speaker. He is one of the founding members of The Simple Way, a community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. Shane serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association and in his down-time is quite a dynamic circus performer.

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Irresistible Revolution 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
PapaLester More than 1 year ago
I don't want pablum that tells me I'm great or how to self-fix. I want a book that challenges my faith to become more. I don't object to having every belief I have challenged because that makes me stronger, and sometimes it makes me change. This book challenged some of my beliefs and made me evaluate them on the basis of scripture, and some of them I had to change. It also challenged me to get active in doing the work of the kingdom of Christ.
You won't be able to put it down in the first half of the book. You'll want to in the second half, but you'll keep coming back because you need to. Don't read it if you want God to leave you alone.
Kayti More than 1 year ago
I think every believer NEEDS to read this book! Every time I pick up this book I am instantly motivated and inspired but the stories and insights Shane shares with his readers. This book has changed the way I look at my faith and even more so what I am going to DO with my faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're ready to roll up your sleeves, and march in God's army, pick up a copy of The Irresistible Revolution and get ready to load up on some serious ammunition. And for good measure, you'll also get a fresh compass and a friend to help you dig out of the trenches and be counted as a radical who is courageous and foolish enough to stand out as a true follower of Christ. 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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued by Shane Claiborne's story, but truly compelled by his writing, and the things that stir his heart -- the needs of God's people -- and his desire to reach out to them in sacrifical ways thoroughly washed in the cleansing waters of a deep humility. The things Shane has to say are difficult -- difficult to take in, and penetrating to one's spirit. But oh, so important! Weep when you read this book, let it change the way you think about things. Ponder and pray about what you should do that you're not already doing. And then buy a copy for a half-dozen of your friends and give them the same challenge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has helped me grow in faith in so many ways! It has made me think very differently about the world! If you are looking for inspiration, encouragment, or just want to know that other people care, than this is the book for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen the church from the inside out (Pastor's son). My heart beats with Shane's. Christians from varieties of churches have the tendency to close themselves within the walls of the church for security and comfort. All too often it creates a disconnect in two ways. 1) we become disconnected from the needs of others and 2)We become disconnected from the call of Christ in our own lives. Surely we can change our ways. And as words can never change a world...only the actions carried forth from the words will make a difference
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a white, upper-middle class Christian living in the burbs, this is a very unsettling book. What is unquestionable, however, is that Shane loves Jesus Christ and is seeking the best way to live out the Great Commission. His quest shakes yuppie Christendom to the core. That is exactly what he desires and, I believe, what I needed to help jump start my beliefs so they translated into actions. You don't have to agree with all of Claiborne's politics to find inspiration in his calling.
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I enjoyed this book, which provided an excellent look at the work of Shane Claiborne and The Simple Way. I really liked the informal, witty, direct style. If I have any criticisms, they would only concern opinions expressed by the author, with which I can agree to disagree. If you are a self-identified evangelical Christian, or are discontent with "ordinary" church, this would be a good read for you.
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Pretty much what inspired me to do two years of volunteer work
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Don't read this if you aren't willing to take an honest look at yourself and the way you live in our world. A wonderful, radical book!
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I keep buying another copy, because I give mine away before I get it finished. Two of us are sharing the current copy. Important possibilities for peace and very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago