This book is a nice foil to George Barna's rather bombastic manifesto Revolution. And it's definitely funnier than Barna. Perhaps it's the fact that I don't need more talk, but more stories about practicing revolutionaries. Shane Clairborne is one of those "new monastics" who lives and ministers in Philly amongst the urban poor and marginalized. And his personal stories make me tear up both with frustration at the way things are and hopeful for what could be in the American church. And that's my feeling only through the first few chapters.
Shane has a lot of choice phrases and wording I've enjoyed boring Tammy with by reading them aloud to her standing in the Target checkout line. Here's one I liked:
I know there are people out there who say, "My life was such a mess. I was drinking, partying, sleeping around....and then I met Jesus and my whole life came together." God bless those people. But me, I had it together. I used to be cool. And then I met Jesus and he wrecked my life. The more I read the gospel, the more it messed me up, turning everything I believed in, valued, and hoped for upside-down. I am still recovering from my conversion.
I think that's a good way of describing my own journey: the more I grow in trying to follow Christ, the more he messes up my life. The process of this last year certainly has messed with my direction and calling to ministry and church planting to the point I don't think I can ever go back to "traditional" pastoral ministry. And that no longer scares me, oddly enough! What scares me more now is stepping out and not having God show up. But Clairborne's book gives me hope that God always seems to show up.