Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Review: The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne

I recently finished reading Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical. I hope many of you have already heard the sad news about Shane and The Simple Way community that he started in Philadelphia - on June 21st a 7-alarm fire completely destroyed the community and several other homes in the area. You can visit The Simple Way's website to donate or see other ways to help rebuild.

Shane's book is a sort of autobiography, and a call to discipleship (and revolution?!). The style is very readable - it is a story, narrative. A quick read (although I managed to drag it out over a few months - but that's because I wasn't reading it, not because it took a long time to read!)

What's frustrating about this book:
  • I find Shane's logic sometimes over-simplistic. He tends to simplify the viewpoints of people he's referring to, identifying liberals and conservatives in ways I don't think do service to liberals or conservatives.
  • Shane uses the words "giggle," "bubbles," and "sidewalk chalk" more than I can bear. A lot more. I'm a cynic. I'm sarcastic. I can't take it. It's too much!
  • Shane writes of his journeying in much the same way that the apostle Paul writes of his. That's all I want to say about that.
What's good about this book:
  • Shane talks about and is part of the new monasticism movement. You can read about the principles of new monasticism here.
  • Primarily, and most importantly/overshadowing-any-flaws, Shane is clearly getting it done. Whatever else I think about the book, or how it is written, or his style, etc., what Shane is doing, so far as I can tell, is being an authentic disciple. He's actually doing that stuff Jesus talks about, and that's not something I feel I can claim for myself most days, from the comfort of my pastor's life and pretty parsonage. Shane's example is a challenge to me, and I like a good challenge.

I think the book is worth a read, because it certainly requires asking yourself how you actually are (or are not) responding to the call of discipleship of Jesus. And especially keep Shane and community in your thoughts as they work to recover from the fire.

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