Claiborne and Campolo take on the political, economic, and religious patterns that aren't working anymore! Focusing on the words of Christ---the "red letters"---they show that Jesus' example is still relevant, and call us back to a Christianity centered on him. Conservatives, progressives, skeptics, and believers will better understand the world-transforming power of Jesus' message. 256 pages, hardcover from Nelson.
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Customer Reviews for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Review 1 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Date:February 13, 2013
I used to be a huge fan of Campolo, but in recent years he seems to be trying to endear himself to a younger generation by partaking of their worldview. Though he and Claiborne are many years apart chronologically, they are definitely on the same page mentally, and though this mock "dialogue" is supposed to highlight their differences, they differ on little. The book could be interesting anyway, except that a valid point is followed by something completely silly, like people bringing their pets to church. They recommend practices such as praying the rosary and making the sign of the cross - which are fine for people raised as Catholics, but to suggest Protestants adopt these (since they abandoned at the Reformation) shows a rather shallow view of spiritually. Will making the sign of the cross really make us better Christians?
Also, both authors claim to oppose Christians involvement in politics, yet it's clear they only oppose conservative politics, not liberal. They accuse evangelicals of cherrypicking Bible verses to support their positions, yet both of them do exactly the same throughout the book. Frankly, the book is an attempt at "stealth liberalism." Campolo has had an evangelical following for many years, and he knows lots of evangelicals will buy a book with his name on it. But his "red-letter Christianity" is just a new name for theological liberalism. As Ecclesiastes says, "Nothing new under the sun."
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Review 2 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Date:January 17, 2013
I was so excited to find this book. Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne both live out their faith and I was curious to see what their discussions together would look like. The book does not disappoint.
Red Letter Revolution is styled as a number of discussions between Tony and Shane on various topics facing Christians, ranging from church history and Islam to homosexuality and politics. The title comes from the old publishing technique of printing Bibles with the words of Jesus in red. Their hope is to inspire Christians around the world to take these words seriously and consider what it means to live them out in their daily lives.
I really enjoyed the discussion style of the book, as it allowed both men to share their personal stories or reflections in their own voice. The book changes font styles between the two, which also helped me “hear” their voices as I read. I thought they did an excellent job of addressing a number of real, relevant issues in our world without ever feeling heavy-handed that you had to agree with everything they said.
If you’re curious about this idea, go check out http://www.redletterchristians.org to read what others are saying about how those “red letters” shape their lives.
Where will the red letters take you?
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Review 3 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Review: Red Letter Revolution
Date:January 4, 2013
“Red Letter Revolution” written by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo is less a book and more a dialogue between two friends. The two authors, Tony and Shane, are sharing in their own personal experiences as a disciple of Jesus Christ and their understanding that the church is in need of, what I would call, rebranding from evangelical Christians to “Red Letter” Christians. Claiborne and Campolo, both have a strong voice in the Emerging Church movement and as a result this book seems to be targeted toward that audience. Their intention in this book is to distinguish that a “Red Letter” Christian is one who takes very serious the words of Jesus Christ and attempts to live them out, well, to the letter.
While I do not agree with everything that these two gentlemen set forth in this book, I do believe that as a disciple of Jesus Christ we are called to take very serious his teaching, and do all that we can to live them out on a moment by moment basis. Being a Christian means that we not only take to heart what Jesus said in the New Testament, but that we also take to heart the full council of Scripture. Being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ requires that we take to heart not only the “Red Letters” but also all of the “Black Letters.” While I applaud their efforts in drawing the readers toward a deeper commitment to the words and teachings of Jesus, I would recommend that all readers understand the being a Christian requires us to study all of God's word not just the “Red Letters.”
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Review 4 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
This book is fantastic. It is written by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. I have read books by both authors and have thoroughly enjoyed them as well as have been incredibly challenged. This book does not disappoint.
It is a conversation between the two authors as they discuss many different topics that Christians need to hear about, not things they want to hear about. It is a book that you cannot read in one sitting because it is so intense, in depth and very challenging. There are many people I would encourage to read this book. It is a great book to encourage Christians to live beyond Sunday mornings. To become, red letter believers.
They discuss the difference between those who read the red letters in the Bible, and those who live the red letters in the Bible, which is what Jesus calls us to. I will be recommending this book for sure!
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Review 5 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Anticipated read that was a big let down
Date:November 30, 2012
The following is my review of Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. As a disclaimer let me mention this, I only finished the book because I agreed to as a clause in receiving the book free, take that confession as you will.
When I saw the book become available on BookSneeze I was a little excited as I had heard a lot about both authors and I was anticipating a great read or in the least to be challenged in a light of the 'Red Letters'. What I received however was what appeared to be a soap box confessional in book form. I know it sounds brutal but that is my honest opinion, I didn't find that the in any way presented solid biblical truth it simply seemed like a platform to advance the authors own political and social viewpoints while adding some of Jesus words into the mix.
They so far as to say that the Red is more important than the black (maybe not in those words but this is the insinuation of their comments). A statement that comes very close to hearsay in my opinion.
The book was intended to be about the importance of living a life like Jesus did, or as stated on the cover,what if Jesus really meant what he said? Honestly the book didn't answer this for me, it did leave me wondering where the red letters were involved in the book and why the focus was all on American life and not Christians around the world (again a political stance was observed here).
The layout of the book as a dialogue was interesting and some of the content I did find intriguing, I just could not overcome the constant sense of dread that I am being told the entire bible is not God breathed and inspired by the Spirit.
In the end I can't recommend this book to anyone as I did not see real truth shared consistently. There were ideas that are important such as loving beyond a lifestyle and the importance of gathering as a family of believers, but those ideas were short lived and overwhelmed by the seemingly constant barrage of personal (skewed) theology.
If you do read this book, keep your heart centered on what you know as biblical truth, that the whole bible is useful for teaching, not just the red letters.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 6 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony
Date:November 17, 2012
This book reads as a conversation between two Christian activists who are asking the question what if we take the words of Jesus seriously? Claiborne and Campolo cover some of the most important issues and controversies of our time while trying to discover what it looks like to address these issues in a Christ-like way. The book adresses Christian theology and living in and looking at the world as Christians who take those red letters in the Bible seriously even when that is difficult.
It is very inspiring to see that while Claiborne and Campolo do not always agree with each other 100% of the time, they both aspire to take the radical teachings of Jesus seriously and are committed to living them out in their everyday lives. They challenge their readers to do the same and to join their movment. I found their book captivating and it was hard to put it down. This is a book that really forces the reader to ponder some important questions and examine the way they are living. The book was very well written and is full of Biblical truth which comes as a real wake up call. Even though I ocassionally disagreed with a view point, I still found this book to be profoundly rich and for the majority of the time found myself thinking, "amen, preach it!" This has become one of my all time favorite books and I would highly recommend it to everyone to read!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 7 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said? was written by best-selling authors and Christian thinkers Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. they're the Lennon and McCartney of Red Letter Christianity.
Red Letter Christianity is concerned with paying particular attention to the words spoken by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. a lot of Bible will have Christ's speech in red letters. hence, Red Letter Christians, Red Letter Christianity, Red Letter Revolution.
the red letters of the New Testament are challenging. they also speak to a lot of areas of life; explicitly and implicitly. Claiborne and Campolo touch on a number of issues and faith and life in three main sections of the book.
Part 1: Red Letter Theology
Part 2: Red Letter Living
Part 3: Red Letter World
the book is a series of dialouges. reading the book is like sitting in on a conversation between Claiborne and Campolo.
it's great. it's a must read for the Church today. too often Christianity gets used for political and social reasons outside of authentic Christian faith. get back to the red letters. get back to the words of Christ.
this book is dedicated "To all of us, young and old, who want a Christianity that looks like Jesus again."
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Review 8 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
I liked Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said? and I didn't like it. While some people might hate or love this book, I think many readers who stick with it to the end will end up somewhere in the middle.
For me, the format was appealing. Written as a dialogue between Christian leaders who were born decades apart, I was intrigued by inter-generational conversation and perspective. Both authors, Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne, seem honest, genuine, and passionate about their faith.
I believe there's benefit for us when we listen to people with whom we disagree, and that's mostly where I sat on the sidelines of this book, so I was willing to keep reading even though there was little I agreed with---despite the fact that the authors themselves seemed happily in agreement about everything.
It's certainly a book of socially liberal politics couched in Scripture---that if we really believed what Jesus said, we'd abandon the "religious right wing of the Republican party." We can't possibly want less government programs, stricter control over government funding, and enforcement of immigration and still believe in Jesus. And since Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality (although it is discussed in the New Testament), best just to accept that He didn't care about it that much and we shouldn't either.
While I had an endless number of political and ideological disagreements with the writers, more importantly I question their theological premises. For one thing, I believe in the inerrancy and importance of Scripture--all Scripture. Taking clips of Jesus' dialogue out of context, saying it's more important to study His Words than that ogre of a deity, the God of the Old Testament, and assuming that if Jesus didn't talk about it than it didn't matter all essentially distort the message of the Bible as a whole. No, we absolutely can't set up Jesus as a leader who promotes radical social programs just because a few of His sound-bites can be used that way.
It's also troubling to me how much of the religious experience as described in this book depends on outward acts. We have grace for the poor, for the mom who feels like she has to choose abortion, and the church girl turned youth-leader who comes out of the closet as a lesbian. But, where's the grace for the folks who work middle class jobs, drive their kids to school and ballet, go to church, rock babies in the nursery and sponsor a World Vision child? It seemed like these families were on the receiving end of condescension and judgment---like grace was for everyone on the outer edges of the spectrum and that it is protests on behalf of the poor, living in a commune, and giving all of our income away that define our faith or lack of it.
Finally, while I absolutely see the benefit in studying the New Testament church, it's important to remember that these initial leaders were not God Himself. They made mistakes. They had troubling problems with false-teachers, jealousy, attention-seeking, mismanagement of money, dissension, favoritism, legalism and the desire to exclude Gentiles. It's great to have small groups in our churches. Encouraging fellowship with each other is just fine.
But we absolutely cannot argue that our churches MUST follow the New Testament model in order to be Biblical. The New Testament church in Acts is more descriptive than prescriptive. In this book, Claiborne argues that it's the fact that Annanias and Sapphira withheld money from the sale of their property from the church that is their primary flaw. That's not true at all. It was utterly secondary to their sin of lying to the Holy Spirit. They could have kept their property instead of selling it, thereby not donating any of the money to the church, and they wouldn't have ended up dead at the feet of Peter. But when they faked good works and generosity in order to garner attention from church leaders and to look more holy--and when they blatantly lied to the Holy Spirit about it---they dropped to the ground.
Maybe what would have really sold this book for me is if two Christian leaders with opposing viewpoints dialoged about the 27 issues they tackled---from women in church leadership to war to the national debt, to racism, immigration, liturgy, Islam, economics and more. That would indeed have been an interesting--albeit occasionally tense-- conversation!
As it is, this book served as an opportunity for me to see the opinions of people with whom I mostly disagree and a view into why they believe what they believe. That's healthy and helpful. I believe in their passion and commitment to their perspective, while remaining unconvinced by their arguments.
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.”
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Review 9 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
According to this book, almost all Christians for two millennia didn’t know Jesus at all. The book presents the “real” Jesus and, amazingly, he is an activist for liberal social causes. This book, contrary to what the authors claim, urges readers not to honor the Jesus of the Gospels, but a false Jesus who suspiciously looks like the book’s target audience: young liberals with a free-wheeling attitude toward personal morals, but an aggressive self-righteousness about whichever “victim” group is getting the most press at the moment.
How convenient for the “red-letter” people that Jesus never spoke directly about the issues of abortion and homosexuality. The conclusion: they weren’t important to him at all. Paul (the bogeyman in liberals’ mythology) did speak – negatively – about homosexuality, so understandably liberals gladly shove nasty Paul aside, since HIS words aren’t in red letters. The two authors would have you believe that, had Jesus lived today, he would approve any form of sexual behavior and be decidedly “pro-choice” about abortion. Never mind the fact that the real Jesus – not the liberal Jesus of these two writers’ imaginations – most probably held to the strict sexual ethic taught in the Old Testament – the same ethic Paul was steeped in. In fact, the authors overlook the fact that, if anything, Jesus taught a stricter sexual ethic – and in the Sermon on the Mount, which they claim is the basis of their “ethic.” Jesus said that not only was adultery wrong, but even fantasizing about it was wrong – that is, don’t just keep your body under control, but your imagination as well. The authors also overlook the fact that “do not commit adultery” in fact prohibits any number of sexual sins, not just extramarital sex.
The book ends with this plea: “We need you as partners in this red-letter revolution.” Why, pray tell? Isn’t the government already tilting left? What signs do you see, authors, that the U.S. and state governments are becoming LESS attentive to gay rights and environmentalism? Aren’t you asking us to simply sign on to the present version of political liberalism, pinning a sign on it, saying, “Jesus wanted it this way”?
Let’s call this what it is: conforming to the secular culture. When a group defines itself by “we conform to the world, not to Christ,” whether they call themselves liberals, progressives, red-letter Christians, radicals, or oompa-loompas, the name makes no difference, they have left the Christian fold, and would that they have the nerve to say so.
This is no “revolution.” It is a repackaging of the old Social Gospel of a century ago. Christians are told to replace the truths of the Bible with political activism.
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Review 10 for Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said
Red Letter Revolution is a book by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. There's a trailer promoting it that says they don't shy away from the controversial subjects, and that's true. This book talks about lots of relevant topics today, including racism, homosexuality, immigration, politics, war and violence, Islam, national debt, etc.
The different, interesting twist on this book is the way it is written; it is written more as a dialogue between Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. You'll either like this style or dislike it, but for me, it worked and it was good to see the different (at times) views and insights from both men, especially seeing as they differ generationally.
I don't expect you'll agree with EVERYTHING in this book and I think the authors know that; what they've done here is start a dialogue not only with each other, but as a starting off point for you to wrestle with this topics and have dialogue of your own with others.
The subtitle of this book is: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? It's a question that bears much looking into and this book takes a deeper look into it.
I received an ebook copy free from Booksneeze. I was not required to write a favorable review.