An Ordinary Revolution You Probably Shouldn’t Miss

I just finished Shane Claiborne’s “Irresistible Revolution,” which is the first assignment for the class I am teacher’s aid for and I thought it was a fantastic read.  In fact, if you’ve got nothing better to do in the next thirty minuets go out and pick up this book.

I rarely tell anyone to buy a book, except everyday I am at work at Fuller’s Bookstore, but that’s besides the point.  This time it’s an exception.  It’s a great book for any Christian who is looking to get some ideas about what other Christians are doing to follow Christ in the States.  It’s a really quick read because it’s so short and really engaging due to the stories that flood the pages of the book.

This book is for people who are not looking for an academic book to read but something that’s full of stories showing how young Christians, my age, are living out their faith in downtown Philly.  It’s not jaded, he doesn’t make a lot of digs about who the bad and good guys are, the book is more about giving people tangible evidence that following Christ makes a difference, as it should, in the lives of the people we live around.

The church they are a part of is called the Simple Way, because they seek to follow Christ in “ordinary radical” ways.  Of course these “ordinary radical” ways are going to push people’s buttons, and challenge the way we understand our own faith, but I think that’s a good thing.

He quotes, Jaques Ellul, “Christians should be troublemakers, creators of uncertainty, agents of a dimension incompatible with society (231).” And then he goes on to explain a bit about John the Baptist and Jesus and some of the adjectives used to describe these leaders of an “ordinary revolution” thousands of years before us.

One of the most memorable parts of the book is when Shane was in college and some of his other college mates found out that some of their homeless friends were being evicted from an abandoned Catholic church they’d lived in for years (and had been condemned even longer).  They rounded up college students from their school in Philly and went and slept in the church with the people for the weekend.  When the cops came, they decided to not arrest everyone and left.

Every time they’d get word that the police were going to evict the people, they’d blow a fog horn on campus and rally their friends together who’d all jam in their cars and run down to the church.  They did this for a long enough time that the city finally gave everyone in that church housing and helped them get on their feet.

So the point of the book is to communicate those kinds of stories.  Where simple people are doing simple things because they love God and others.  Claiborne says that it’s not about issues, it about people.  And because of that, this book’s got me real excited again about how faith changes real people’s lives.

9 responses to “An Ordinary Revolution You Probably Shouldn’t Miss”

  1. What I love about reading these kinds books is that they tell the same story over and over again, and that’s a good thing. When followers of Christ take an eyes-wide-open step into the Kingdom, they just do stuff that awakens Gospel realities all around them.

  2. Enjoyed reading very much reading your blog. Have just started a site called `About Simple Ways’ so was interested in your use of the term here, with best wishes, The Artist

  3. […] Something that struck me about Shane Claiborne’s book was that he never shares how he got involved in all those protests he talks about.  And then it dawned on me, most of the “protests” he’s involved with are because they deal directly with people his church and who they regularly have  contact with.  If a church is interested in caring for the poor, it’s not enough stand in front of city hall and say “No!” to the government, nor is it even enough to feed them once a week and have a fifteen minute conversation with them while they eat.  These acts in themselves are devoid of meaning if they do not reflect the actual life and mission of the church.   At best these acts are reminders to others and ourselves of what we believe and ought to be living like they are not the totality of our activism; if anything they are “activisms.” […]

  4. I just finished reading the Irresisible Revolution today and I was searching for some more info on Shane Claiborne and saw your post, Wess. How funny that my search would lead me to you! Hope you’re doing well – it was good to read your thoughts. Jason says hi!