My first finished book of 2010 is The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claibourne. So here’s my book review, although I’m not happy about it. I hate book reviews. Correction: I hate writing book reviews. My first impressions are almost always wrong and then I’m embarrassed when I have to go back and read things like my “Sorry, I Only Date Vampires “https://greerish.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/truth-or-flair-or-the-first-installment-of-my-thoughts-on-twilight/ post. But like I said in my previous post, reviews are good for processing. So here I go.
Have you ever heard a movie quoted so often that by the time you actually get around to seeing it, it’s not as funny as hearing your friends quote it? That was my premier feeling while reading Claibourne’s book, a collection of stories and ideas that have sprung primarily from a sort of commune of believers in North Philly called The Simple Way. I’ve already had all the discussions about fair trade, community gardens, pacifism, and the dangers of megachurches, so reading about these things didn’t seem as radical and exciting as it must have for the folks who were hearing about these things for the first time.
But I’ve just said that all I’ve done about those issues is talked about them, while the real strength of this book lies in the stories of Claibourne and his cohorts actually doing something about the issues. My particular favorites are the stories of ones about Claibourne calling up Mother Theresa on the phone, worshiping with Iraqi Christians in Baghdad during the shock and awe, and serving communion to some homeless men and women in a park where distributing food had been made illegal. While my support of fair trade often boils down to choosing the more expensive coffee beans with the correct stamp on it, his support of fair trade involves hand sewing all his own clothes so he knows that no child was beaten while stitching up his Gap button-down.
The stories were so good that I wish he had just stuck with them. Often, the chapters end up being a little pithy, just a series of one-liners that sound good, but leave your spiritual sensor a bit numb. I’ll remember the stories, but I can’t tell you one of his clever little proverbs.
The title is accurate, though. The revolution he speaks of can be a bit irresistible. I kind of want to go down to the homeless shelter every Saturday night now. And only buy shirts from American Apparel. And hate George W. Bush…no wait. (Though I am interested in his newest book, Jesus For President.) Don’t read this book unless you’re willing to feel a bit uncomfortable about your present comfort. It will make you consider another way of doing things.