Review: The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve had this book on my shelves for a while now – picked it up at the Greenbelt festival a few years back but it got put away with the rest of the stuff I’d picked up whilst there and then forgotten about. Really wish I’d read it earlier.

This is a book for all who’ve dared to think that there might be more to life than the daily grind, or have felt that somehow the church has lost sight of the radical life of Jesus. In it Shane pours out his beliefs about what Christian life should look like, that it is possible to live in a different way, and dares us to give it a go. Alongside this he describes examples from his own life and that of the various communities he’s belonged to. On the way he addresses our attitudes to relationships, peace and possessions. At its heart is the simple message of relating to those around us as people and being brave enough to step out of systems that don’t do this.

The next thing I’m going to do with this book? Give it away. Don’t normally do that, but I think it would be good to let it challenge others the way it has challenged me.


I wrote about this book in our church newsletter. Here is what I said in case anyone is interested:

Living As We See It
I’ve been reading ‘The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical’ by Shane Claiborne recently; you may have heard me mention him a few times recently in our services. I’ve found it an inspiring read. There are times when his enthusiasm for his point of view about how we should live out the Christian life leads him to sound judgmental when talking about those who see it a different way, and there are times when maybe his use of Scripture is a little fast and loose, but when I finished his book on Thursday night and put it down, I knew that it had changed me in some small way. At its heart is the challenge not just to believe in Jesus, but to actually live out a life like him – to not see the Sermon on the Mount especially as just idealistic writing, but a call to live differently; something to be done.

Here’s a quote of his from near the end of the book,

“Maybe we are a little crazy. After all, we believe in things we don’t see. The Scriptures say that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). We believe poverty can end even though it is all around us. We believe in peace even though we hear only rumours of wars. And since we are people of expectation, we are so convinced that another world is coming that we start living as if it were already here.”

This is a totally Scriptural point of view. This is at the heart of Paul’s writing in the New Testament and at the core of Romans. As we see what the world will be, as we know God’s judgement over us already as we are in Christ, then why continue living out the old life, instead lets live out the new. Revelation paints the picture of Heaven coming to Earth, of God living in the midst of humanity as in Eden at the start. A life where pain has gone, tears have ceased, peace reigns and we are reconciled to God, each other and the world we live in. If this is how it’s meant to be, then surely we should be striving to live that way today.

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