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Book reviews

Red Letter Christianity book cover Red Letter Christianity
Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo
(Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99)

What would it look like if Jesus was in charge of... our city, our country, our world?

This is one of the questions raised in Red Letter Christianity, a new book from US religious leaders Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo, which explores what it means to live out the words of Jesus each day.

Campolo, a pastor, professor and political adviser – who Bono dubbed ‘more radical than any rock star’ – and Claiborne, an activist, speaker and author (who once worked alongside Mother Teresa) are both leading ‘Red Letter Christians’.

Their movement came from a desire to escape what they saw as the evangelicals' image problem (‘anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-environmentalist‘) and put Jesus’ radical teachings into practice.

The book is framed as a conversation in which the authors discuss the critical issues for followers of Jesus today – including global poverty and injustice, and the repression of women.

Although differing in their approach, the authors speak of their shared commitment to act to stop war, defy unjust political structures and speak out for the voiceless oppressed.

Drawing on biblical stories, statistics and anecdotes, they share their own and others’ endeavours ‘to change society into something more like what God wants for it to be’.

From sustainable farming projects created on urban wasteland to a Palestinian Christian family’s non-violent resistance to harassment in the Middle East, there is plenty to engage and delight.

 

The Democracy Project book cover The Democracy Project: A History. A Crisis. A Movement.
David Graeber
(Penguin, £9.99)

Leading Occupy member David Graeber gives an entertaining account of the anti-capitalist group’s occupation of Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park in 2011.

Graeber uses the protests – which spread to hundreds of cities worldwide – as an opportunity to unpick notions of democracy.

Yet while he provides a convincing critique of US political and financial systems, the author struggles to present a clear alternative.

 

  

A Little Book of Craftivism cover A Little Book of Craftivism
Sarah Corbett
(Cicada, £5.99)

Sarah Corbett was a ‘burnt out activist’ until she discovered she could spread messages of justice through fabrics and stitching instead of placards and shouting.

This ‘little’ book is no dry expert’s manual, but shares the qualities of her crafts: provocative and beautiful.

Corbett effortlessly combines simple, practical instructions with creative ideas – such as cross-stitched protest banners – that won’t fail to inspire.

 

  

The cover of the book Silence: A Christian History Silence: A Christian History
Diarmaid MacCulloch
(Penguin, £9.99)

Diarmaid MacCulloch encourages us to view his latest book as a detective story.

This time, the prize-winning historian is investigating the role played by silence in the Christian Church.

His account may prove a little too scholarly for some tastes, but offers rewarding insights into aspects as diverse as prayer and contemplation, the Reformation and the historical role of women in the Christian faith.

 

 


 

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