Book Review: Red Letter Revolution
Red Letter Revolution is a conversation between Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo on current, important social and theological issues, and attempt to form their conversation around the core stated in the subtitle: What if Jesus Really Meant What he Said?
The issues they talk about range from hell to Islam, environmentalism to immigration, politics to missions. And when I say the book is a conversation, I mean the format itself is an attempt to look like a conversation. Both Tony and Shane interact with the topic and one another. Occasionally they’ll ask one another questions.
If you’re familiar with Shane and his work, and with Tony and his work, I’m not sure there will be anything new or revelatory about what they are saying. If the ideas of Red Letter Christians or New Monasticism or the Irresistible Revolution are new to you, then this book could come in handy. It’s a collection and summation of some radical approaches to the topics they talk about. No particular conversation is very thorough, but I think helpful in getting the dialogue started with you and somebody else interested in the topic; e.g. homosexuality is a big one these days.
I am not convinced with the format. It didn’t make for smooth reading. But I am grateful that these discussions are gathered together. Even though I am very fond of both of these Christian minds, I don’t necessarily tow the line with them on all of these. And even when I do agree with them, I seem to take a different approach. In the “Dialogue on War and Violence,” Tony Campolo talked about the Sermon on the Mount as leading us to a commitment “to nonviolent resistance to evil[.] Note I didn’t say pacifism. I don’t think Jesus ever asks us to be passive…” (pg. 193) Except that’s not what pacifism means, and if we are presenting that to those who oppose or question pacifism then we start by failing.
But, overall, it’s a good book to have. Even if you disagree with the dialogue, I think it’s a good reference to go to if you want to see a different perspective or to get some idea on what some of the more radical, on the fringe sort of folks are saying.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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.”