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#1 On the Social Justice Book List

February 23, 2011

Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution

Maybe it is the circles I run in, but hasn’t everyone heard of Shane Claiborne now? This book was a catalyst for my own experiences with social justice and has changed my mindset about Christ’s love for the poor, and what it means to be relational and live in community. I’ve reread it…more than 10 times and haven’t stopped learning new things.

Claiborne writes about his own experiences and reflections on social justice, as well as his community of “ordinary radicals” living together in Philadelphia. From Publishers Weekly: 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.

This is my first and highest recommendation if you want to know what the social justice thing is all about. Find it!

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