Thursday, June 02, 2016

Subversive Jesus by Craig Greenfield

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. My integrity is not for sale. Those who know me well are aware a free book isn't enough to assuage my cutting honesty. If I've failed to write a bad review, it has nothing to do with the source of the material and only with the material itself.

If you work with young Christians or work to understand them, Subversive Jesus is a great book to read. It chronicles the life of Craig Greenfield and his family, from high school in New Zealand, to a home in the slums of Cambodia, to a fledgling Christian community in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Greenfield traces his attempts to follow the radical theology of Jesus to life with and for the poor of the world.

The first two chapters are breathtakingly simple and straightforward, highlighting how one couple has attempted to be faithful to God's call, while also supplying a really intense, concise explanation of the Kingdom of God and how it intersects with our world today. The rest of the book fleshes out these concepts and lessons learned through some really unique experiences.

If there's any downside, it's simply that Greenfield doesn't answer a lot of the logistical questions one has while reading, but I imagine that's intentional, as he challenges readers to explore the radical, subversive message of Jesus on their own, rather than following any model (other than Christ's).

It's a quick read, with short sections, and lots of excitement. It also approaches radical Christianity from an obviously conservative perspective. It's not that the book is conservative or liberal, but you can tell how the author understands theology and scripture and it's quite different from the perspective you most often see in these radical Jesus books. I think that helps set up an important exegetical and practical position as outside the mainstream arguments of religion and interpretation.

This is a book for everyone, although this kind of radical challenge can be scary and easy to write off, Greenfield presents it in a way that should enable any reader to take simple steps towards a Kingdom life without having to make the kind of leap that often scares people away. It's fun and quick, and the kind of book that will benefit any person, especially those looking for a faith worthy of committing one's life to live.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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