©2008 Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw; (P)2008 Zondervan
Jesus for President is certainly challenging. Not so much on an intellectual level as a social / philosophical level. The point of the book is to elicit a political response in Christians, and the book certainly accomplishes this goal. I would say their point is to elicit somewhat of an anti-political stance, one of provocation against human government.
This book certainly caused me to reflect on my current beliefs, and to consider new thoughts I have not yet had. I would take issue with the authors treatment of many texts of Scripture, however, and do not agree with many of their conclusions. To their credit, I believe that they practice what they preach (according to their own testimony), and I applaud their pursuit to be pleasing to God, but wonder how much of their passion is truly tied to Scripture and how much is tied to their political passion.
If you want a challenge to your political views, regardless of what side you take, it's a worthy read. The audio version could do well without the songs interspersed between chapters however... it detracts from the book.
This book is amazing as it re-contextualizes the Bible with an eye toward social justice and reform. The "musical" interludes however, are highly irritating and detract greatly from the power of this book. I don't know why thought they were a good idea - but they are unbearable.
This is not for the faint of heart. The words of this book are challenging. Whether or not you agree with the theology it will produce much food for thought, prayer and soul searching in your relationship with God.
It rises above my expectations. One of the most poignant moments is the story of Maximillian, who steps in to sacrifice his life for another soldier who is being executed to save the pleading man's life, a move approved by the Nazis conducting the execution. Another moving narrative is that of Bonhoffer, who prayed for God's forgiveness even while he tried to suppress his human plans, however sinful, to murder Hitler.
Overall, the book makes the case that someone like Jesus would make a poor presidential candidate, since Jesus preferred to live humbly, to live among the disenfranchised and forgotten members of society, and to turn the other cheek to his enemies.
"Hugely Challenging and Inspiring"
I loved hearing the author read His own words and found Shane's words cut straight to the heart of the issue and lays some very real challenges at the feet of those of us who wish to follow Jesus.
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