Well, Shelley will be so happy because I finally read the book she's been recommending to me, Irresistible Revolution: Living Life As an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. And it was AWESOME!
Shane has spent time working in India with Mother Teresa, visited Iraq during the war, and is the founder of "The Simple Way." The book is about his journey as a Christian and his hopes for the world and the church. He has a profound love for people, an earnest desire to help the poor and writes with a lot of humility (and humor!) Some of his ideas are fairly "new" to me (most of the Christians I have known have a pretty specific set of beliefs that are pretty different from his.) A lot of what he wrote really resonated with me, some of those things I've been thinking for awhile now.
Overall I was totally challenged by much of the book. Some of it made me uncomfortable in that it cut through the usual political rhetoric to make some points that I cannot easily dismiss. It addressed everything from nationalism and the death penalty to how churches spend their money. It was less "predictable" than I thought it would be and I am still processing it all. While I don't necessarily know that I agree with every single point he makes (what book besides the Bible can you really claim that about anyway, unless you write it yourself?), like I said it is not easy to dismiss. And much of it I DO agree with.
One thing I have come away with is that I think it's important for Christians to take the time to search the Bible and pray about some of the issues that we seem to take for granted as being acceptable, the "right" thing to do, etc. Sometimes being raised in a Christian environment involves being around a group of very like-minded people with a set of beliefs that everyone takes for granted as being "Christian" beliefs, even though perhaps we've never sat and thought about the alternatives to those beliefs, or what God thinks about them. Maybe you'll come to the same conclusion you had before, but it's still good to think and pray about them. As for me there are a couple of things that I plan to reevaluate, as the result of reading this book. Maybe later I'll share more about some of the specific things that grabbed me, but for now, it was a great book that I really do recommend.