Sunday, November 04, 2012

"Red Letter Revolution" by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo

In another review of this book, I read the comment "This book doesn't quite know what it wants to be when it grows up."  I thought that was a perfect way to express what I felt after reading Red Letter Revolution.  No conversation was finished.  Very few absolute truths or hard stances were taken.  The meandering, conversation style of the book left many questions unanswered and too many gray areas.  I have a suspicion what the authors wanted was to more stimulate discussion than to lay out a defined path.  But for a mostly left-brain person like me, it is just annoying.  Unsatisfying.   Foggy.  It bothers me when I am talking to someone and they switch subjects too fast and I can't finish my thoughts or hear the fullness of what they are thinking.  That is exactly how I felt reading this book.

Basically, a big chunk of the main points the book conveyed are we need to love everyone, spend less, and live out what the church needs to be rather than relying on politics and government.  These I whole-heartedly agree with and struggle with day to day.  A number of things in the book I didn't agree with, as I would assume is the case with most.  However Shane and Tony agreed every.single.time.  Very annoying.  I thought surely somewhere in the book they would agree to disagree, but it never happened.  An astounding amount of Scriptures were taken completely out of context and used to support arguments they were not intended for, which raised my concern about people reading this who don't have a good grasp of the Bible.  I felt there was too much of the same content as Irresistible Revolution to warrant another book, though I didn't break out my old copy to compare. 

I felt Shane dominated many of the conversations, though I didn't really mind this as he is so fun to read.  He has a gift of story-telling, and if he is anything, he is consistent in his theology.  I also really like the creativity of his way of living out his faith. I admit I browsed the Simple Way (his organization in Philly) website just to see if there were more ideas, but didn't find anything noteworthy I didn't already know about.

Overall impression: mediocre, flawed theology, but thought-provoking.  Gave me some good things to think about regarding the application of my faith to my own life.  Would not recommend to new believers. 3 stars.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the guy who wrote that other review IS pretty brilliant. :) Thanks for the affirmation.