Book Review: Red Letter Revolution

Book Review: Red Letter Revolution

Author: Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo

Publisher: Thomas Nelson ISBN: 9781400204182

Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said?

I appreciate this book very much for a number of reasons; first of which, I agree that considering the words and teaching of Jesus seriously is a good starting point for any conversation regarding the Bible. This is the foundational premise of this book, Red Letter Revolution, by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. A second reason I like this book is the style it is written. It is a conversation, a running interview-style dialogue between Claiborne and Campolo from beginning to end. I felt as though I were a passive participant at a round-table discussion listening in and pondering the ideas that were pushed, poked, and prodded. And this is the third reason I liked the book; not all of the conversations were positions I would embrace or agree with, some I had not even considered, but I appreciated being “invited” into the conversation nonetheless and I’m still pondering some of the thoughts presented for my consideration. The entire dialogue is needful, relevant, and healthy.

The book is divided into three main components or three primary conversations: Red Letter Theology, Red Letter Living, and Red Letter World. Each part deals with a specific group of sub-conversations. The way that I understand the breakdown is as follows: Red Letter Theology deals with the history, traditions, and doctrines of the church relevant to the words of Jesus; Red Letter Living relates more specifically to the movements of community and neighbor; and Red Letter World reaches out the global stage and forward impact of Jesus’ teaching. This may or may not be entirely accurate, but it is the way that I perceived the conversation from my reading.

The book is a fairly easy read. I found some areas more subjective and opinionated than others, but taking into account that the conversation is comprised of the thoughts and opinions of two men interpreting their understanding of Jesus’ words, that is expected.

I think most persons will find the Red Letter Revolution stimulating. I think engaging the conversation is healthy and might stir the thoughts of critical thinking people. It has certainly given me reason to pause and examine my own positions and return again to Jesus’ words with new questions…seeking fresh answers. I recommend the book.


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