Book reflection: Irresistible Revolution

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I first heard of Shane Claiborne a few months ago from a friend. As always, I did a look up on the internet. I saw a video of him on youtube.

His message struck a cord.

He also wrote a book called The Irresistible Revolution. I borrowed it from a friend and finished it in four days. I was so engross in the book, I couldn’t take it away from my hands. He talked about living in a way that is real and passionate for Jesus that I never thought possible.

I even went to hear him speak at Missionfest. He was as real and full of love as he was on youtube and in his book.

I was just re-reading the introduction…

I recently received a letter from a young man that read, “I am alone, surrounded by unbelieving activists and inactive believers. Where are the true Christians?” A “silent majority” is developing as a growing number of folks are deliberately distancing themselves from the noise and arrogance that have come to mark both evangelicla Christianity and secular activism.

In college, one of my professors said, “Don’t let the world steal your soul. Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and dceiding to do something incredibly daring with your life.” I decided to take him up on the challenge. At first I went on missions trips to “take the good news” to poor people. Then I discovered that they were the ones who brought the good news to me. Since then I have tried to shout that news to anyone who will listen, whether in evangelical megachurches or in the United Nations. – Page 18-19

Today, as I finished a run and walk to cool down and reflected. I thought about many things. I thought about my struggle with money. For me, it almost seem like a daily battle or re-occurring wrestle that I am falling into the temptation of loving money and the materialism that it provides. Granted, I am not against buying things. I am against enjoying life while others are suffer endlessly in the process. I thought about what if the empire that I served is an evil and corrupted empire?

And we don’t have to look hard or very far. Child labour, excessive farming damaging the environment, the growing capitalism (and often, the militarism that goes with it), these are not new issues. Yet, there are people suffering in poverty so that I can live a lifestyle which 95% of the world dream and cannot possibly have. Something ain’t right.

There is a part of me that want more money and security that goes with it. We say that money is not secure. Take a look at the recent market, or the dot net bubble burst in 2000 or the depression in the 30s. Yet, I still hestitate in giving more.

It reminds me of the parable of the Talents. Can you imagine some day God ask me, “Cliff, what have you done with the money, time and resources that I give you” and I say, “Well, God, I don’t know what to do with it so I save it all up (blah..probably a bit for my ‘security’)”. I would think God rather hear me say, “I do what I can to establish your kingdom with it.”

I would even argue that even if I spend the money ‘foolishly’, God will give me more grace than I don’t even try at all.

Can I be daring as to say forget about retirement and comfort, let’s ride this Jesus thing hard and see where it will take us. Isn’t God who will provide in the first place? Do I still believe what Jesus said when he was on earth (Matt 5-6, Luke 22:36) and the provision of the Lord is enough? Or am I fallen into the world’s of I need bigger of everything (even my waistline). Side note: If Christians are called to be different, where’s the difference if the rat race is our prime motivator??

I used to think when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when he warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how very hard it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money has a dangerous way of putting scales on one’s eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people’s hands, eyes, lips and hearts” – Dom Helder Camara (from Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity, pg. 23)

And so as I was walking back home. I thought about instead of throwing a b-day party for myself, I hang out with R and laugh and joke on the streets. I thought about what Jesus said in Luke 14:12-13. I thought about buying a bunch of baby powder for Open Door for the mothers who got hungry babies that need to be fed. I thought sacrificing my own money for entertainment to fight against poverty.

I continue to think, I need to give more, not less. This is not a vow of poverty. This is joy from generousity. The believing that the world indeed can be transform to a better place. That indeed the kingdom can come upon the world. Not by force or by might. But by nothing omre than genoristy and lots of love. And this takes courage. I think of William Wilberforce or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. They believe something unust in the empire they live in (ironically both are Christiandom) and spent their lives fighting and daring to make a change. William spent 40+ years to abolish the slave trade. Dietrich is mytryed for his voicing out against the Nazi Regime.

And so I look back at my money situation. I have more than enough. And it ain’t about finding Christian heroes and treating them as celebrities. Rather, it is being as Shane say, an ordinary radical. The thirst for something new. For a revolution that is fill with joy, laughter and dancing. A time to be generous despite the midst of economic turmoil. For investment in heavenly treasures is far important than earthly (plus, they rusts and thieves will take them 🙂 ).

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By Cliff

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