I mentioned earlier that this summer, instead of reading the books the publishing machine thinks I should be reviewing, I’m choosing things in remainder bins and re-reading some things on my shelf that cry out for a fresh glance.
Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution fit nicely into that category. Not needing to meet a deadline, I read this almost devotionally over a period of about 15 days while I had other titles on the go. The book was published in 2006; the first of Shane’s books I reviewed here was the 2008 Jesus for President.
There’s a scene toward the end of the book where Shane describes crashing the Republican National Convention where, one-time, for the sake of expediency, he claims the title of prophet. He states clearly this is not something that one would readily say about themselves, perhaps especially if they were a true prophet.
But nonetheless, there is something different about Irresistible Revolution, a different tenor or tone if you will, whereupon I have to say that Shane Claiborne speaks with a prophetic voice. This book is a challenge to us as The capital ‘C’ Church, as members of local churches, and as individuals to embrace the social justice mandate given to us by Jesus.
However, despite the force of the message, the book also speaks with an almost off-hand, casual East Tennessee southern accent. I’ve mentioned earlier that with YouTube and online media, we have the opportunity to hear authors speak, and then to read their books with their voices ringing in our ears. Shane’s approach is, for lack of a better word, friendly; while his intentions are fierce.
While ultimately God may not call all of us to travel to India, or Iraq, or risk arrest or imprisonment for the sake of the poor and underprivileged; the mandate remains nonetheless. (For more on risking arrest, read this recent story of Shane’s fellow Iraq-traveler, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.)
A few months ago, I mentioned the exhaustive treatment social justice is given in Ken Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice. If that book is the modern textbook on social justice, its seeds were planted years earlier in the testimony of people like Shane Claiborne.
I encourage you to read both. If you don’t have a social conscience, you will. If you don’t think the ministry of the church involves anything other than proclamation of the gospel, you will.
Irresistible Revolution, 368 pages, paperback, Zondervan 2006
Read more about Shane’s community, The Simple Way.