Thursday, June 9, 2016

Subversive Jesus, by Craig Greenfield

Recently, I've been more stirred (bothered, challenged, what have you...) by the realization of how little we actually do to help the poor and needy. We read the Bible, we profess to love Jesus and strive to be like Him, but we fail in this vital area. In Subversive Jesus, an Adventure in Justice, Mercy, & Faithfulness in a Broken World, Craig Greenfield relates how he and his family and friends made drastic changes in their lives in order to better minister to this neglected group of people. 

While the stories in this book were touching, convicting, and sometimes humorous, I was a bit turned off by the author's attitude. (Or, the attitude he seemed to me to have.) He thumbed his nose at earnest people who work with ministries that offer food and gifts to the homeless and those in poor neighborhoods, even going so far as to say that he is embarrassed by them. While handing out scarves and gloves to the homeless might not have the same affect as living among them, it is still a ministry, and those who take part shouldn't be made fun of. 

While I didn't entirely agree with the author's views, I do admire what he and his friends are doing, and I am convicted to study into what he wrote. 

This is from the back copy of Subversive Jesus:

A broken world demands a response. 
Subversive Jesus is the story of one family's experiment in putting the most counter-cultural teachings of Christ into practice. When Jesus says invite the poor for a meal, Craig and his family welcome homeless friends, local crack addicts, and women from the street corner over for dinner. When Jesus proclaims freedom for the captive, they organize Pirates of Justice flash mobs to protest cruise ship exploitation. When Jesus teaches love for enemies, they make homemade cookies and lemonade for the local drug dealers, and none of them show up! This adventure takes Craig's family from the slums of Cambodia to inner city Canada and back again. 

You might think that Jesus' most subversive teachings should be systematically laid out in a theological textbook. With plenty of dull footnotes. But Jesus knows well that we are people of story and grit. We need to see theological ideas in messy human form so they can spark something real in our imagination. We need to see other people screw up so we can laugh or weep and then imagine that we might dare to risk failure too.

Allow their journey to inspire your own. Allow Jesus to subvert what you think you already know. And you'll find that this book becomes an invitation to say yes to this subversive Jesus and do something courageous with your life - for the sake of justice, mercy, and faithfulness in a broken world. 

About the Author: 

Craig is the founder and director of Alongsiders International ( - a fast-growing movement mobilizing and equipping thousands of young Christians in the developing world to walk alongside those who walk alone - orphans and vulnerable children in their own communities. 

During more than 15 years living and ministering in slums and inner cities in Asia and North America, Craig has established a number of initiatives to care for vulnerable kids and orphans, as well as formed Christian communities for those marginalized by society. 

For 8 years, Craig served as the International Coordinator of Servants, a ministry within the slums of Asia. His postgraduate research in International Development led to the publication of his first book, The Urban Halo: a story of hope for orphans of the poor. Craig's second book, Subversive Jesus, will be published by Zondervan in 2016.

For more info visit Craig's website:

This book gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. 

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

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