The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

23 May

Our third reading assignment in our DTS is The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I have read this book before, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it a second time. I believe that we don’t always read a book simply for what it is; we usually read it through the lens of who we are. And since I’m a completely different person than the one who read this book in November of last year, I got some new and beautiful gems out of it.

To fully understand this book, I believe you must understand its author. Shane Claiborne is a self-proclaimed “ordinary radical” living in a Christian community called the Simple Way that he, along with a few others, started to spread the vision of “loving God, loving people, and following Jesus.” He doesn’t have much, and he likes it that way. He chose to “live simply so others may simply live” out of his personal dedication to fully living out the principles taught in the Bible.

This book, more like a compilation of stories and perspectives, shows believers the value (and cost) of living a life completely surrendered to the will of God and the service of others. Shane speaks out against the commercialism of Christianity and watered-down messages of discipleship. He speaks out against a Christianity that offers no burden to its members. Our churches are all about making people feel good, “but then you start to think there must be something 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… Nobody had anything to offer us.” (p. 38)

Shane challenges his readers to “give up Christianity in order to follow Jesus.” (p. 71) He recognizes that this won’t be popular, but Shane isn’t fond of “seeker sensitive” Christianity. He says that “The great temptation is to compromise the cost of discipleship in order to draw a larger crowd.” (p. 104) We don’t want to see any rich young rulers walk away because they can’t part with their riches, but Jesus wasn’t interested in negotiations when He required that we give it all to follow Him. I like that about Jesus, to be honest. It’s hard, but like all children, I believe we want to be challenged by out parents. We want God to ask something difficult of us. It proves to us that He believes in our capability to complete what He asks of us, and to do it with excellence.

I believe that people today are disinterested in the Gospel because we haven’t given them the Gospel. We’ve given them the sell-out option, the mediocre, luke-warm message. So we have a society filled with Christians who simply go to church instead of being the church. We have young people who wear so popularly on their t-shirt the message they should be preaching through their very lives.

Shane is a radical in every sense of the word, but I think he offers a much-needed wake-up call to the sleepy-headed body of Christ. We are His hands and feet and it’s about time we started moving.


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