Saturday, November 24

Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo

I didn’t expect a whole lot in opening this book.  I was mildly familiar with Shane Claiborne and had no idea who this Tony Campolo guy was.  Disappointment started in the first chapter.  The authors begin with the history of Red Letter Christians, as well as offering a defense for it.  This was OK, but did not immediately engage me.  In addition to this, the style of the book caught me off guard.  Instead of the typical way a book might be co-authored, this book was set up as a conversation between Tony and Shane.  They would ask each other questions, provide answers to the questions, and elaborate further on the other’s points.  Having not read a style like this, it was hard to get used to at first.
 Had the book continued as it started, it might’ve been a 3 star book.  However, by chapter 4 (liturgy), my interest began to grow.  The conversational style started to appeal to me more, and the content began to cover areas I hadn’t read as much into.  By part II of the book, I was thoroughly engrossed.  Shane and Tony worked well with each other and each provided solid questions and answers.  Answers were always straightforward, and they seemed to do their best not to sugarcoat answers or talk down a subject.

By far my favorite part of the book was the third part.  Many Christian authors address Christian living, while some still begin to deal with the wider issues of how Christians are to interact with the world.  Topics such as abortion, homosexuality, and immigration are covered in many other books I have read.  These are covered in Red Letter Revolution, but there is so much more.  Chapters on ‘Empire,’ ‘Politics,’ ‘War and Violence,’ and ‘National Debts’ are also included.  What’s more is they don’t fit into the conventional political beliefs.  I found the chapter titled ‘On Empire’ particularly challenging.  It dealt with the idea of patriotism, and what a Christian’s role should be in relation to one’s country.  The thoughts offered by Tony and Shane will probably upset some, but I find myself still thinking about them. 

And it is this which I found made the book so strong.  Tony and Shane provide their thoughts, and their answers to questions, but the read is still left with things to ponder and figure out.  Even if you don’t end up agreeing with everything they say, I found that it caused me to think harder about my own beliefs, something not every book does.

4.5/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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