Red Letter Revolution

_140_245_Book.706.coverIf you have been an avid reader of the books by Tony Campolo and/or Shane Claiborne you will really enjoy this collaborative effort. Together they address many of the key topics among contemporary Christians from their particular reading of what Jesus taught.

The ‘red letters’ refer to the words of Jesus, as quoted by the authors of the four gospels. Jesus, of course, left us no writings of his own – which may well have been intentional. Neither are there any recordings. His followers, decades after the ascension of Christ, took it upon themselves to put into writing what they remembered. Others put down on paper the stories they had heard as followers of the Way.

Is there more value from the actual ‘red letter’ quotes of Jesus rather than the ‘black letters’? How accurate are the ‘red letters’ since we find different renderings of Jesus’ quotes by different gospel writers? Those are questions each person of faith must wrestle through as they come to grips with the very nature of ‘inspiration’. The point in all this is that even when weighing in on a topic primarily using the ‘red letters’, we are still only projecting our own interpretations of those ‘red letters’. Keep that in mind as you read this book. Their interpretations of the ‘red letters’ are not the final word, merely their own, from their own experiences with scripture.

All that being said, I found this book to be an enjoyable read, yet one that often challenged my own thinking on many topics. The authors have often perceived the intention of the ‘red letters’ very differently than I have. Yet, despite my many objections to their conclusions, the discussion between these two men of faith from different generations, educational and experiential backgrounds was engaging. Both authors present from positions of vulnerability. Neither assume any sense of having ‘finished the race’. They share the insights and religious practices that have buoyed up their faith.

I will, as the pastor of a new community of Christian believers, use this 26 chapter book for our weekly book discussions and would highly recommend it as a timely small group study book. Agree or disagree, both of these men encourage us to deal with the issues of our day in the light of what Jesus said.

 

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