Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Some Initial Positive Thoughts on Irresistible Revolution

Shane is a great storyteller. He states that for folks of his generation political ideologies and religious doctrines just aren’t very compelling, even if they’re true. And stories disarm us. I think many of us would agree and Shane weaves creative and compelling stories into his wake up call to a very self-centered American church. Along with his teaching of a “simple way” he shares stories of a summer spent in India working with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. A jarring juxtaposition to that experience was his internship at Willow Creek outside of Chicago the next fall. He is somewhat critical of the mega church but not overly harsh and he does see some good things that are being accomplished there for the less fortunate. He also shares about his trip to Baghdad during the war on a Christian mission advocating peace. He tells of a story on the plane over speaking with two pro-war people (who at first did not know where he was going or his agenda). When those people learned of Shane’s mission, it put a human face on the war and those two told him how they would be following his mission and hoping for his safety.

I have listed a few assorted thoughts from his book that spoke to me:

Telling about his experiences at youth revivals during his youth: I came to realize that preachers were telling me to lay my life at the foot of the cross and weren’t giving me anything to pick up. I was just another believer. I believed all the right stuff – that Jesus is the Son of God, died and rose again. I had become a “believer,” but I had no idea what it means to be a follower (p. 38).

Reflecting on his time with Mother Teresa and the lessons she taught him – I knew that my Calcutta was the United States, for I knew that we could not end poverty until we took a careful look at wealth.

Shane conducted a survey of people who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus”. He asked whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question. I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did (p. 112).

It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle (p. 128).

More to come...

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