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Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  3,915 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Jesus for President is a radical manifesto to awaken the Christian political imagination, reminding us that our ultimate hope lies not in partisan political options but in Jesus and the incarnation of the peculiar politic of the church as a people set apart from this world.

In what can be termed lyrical theology, Jesus for President poetically weaves together words and ima
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 3rd 2008 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published March 3rd 2007)
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I loved this book. I hated this book. It is an easy read (linguistically, at least), but a hard read (conceptually). Conservative Christians everywhere need to read it, not because it's right but because we need to wrestle with the issues Claiborne & Haw raise through-out the book. Their ideas of reclaiming a "prophetic vision" and subversion of empire are discussions the church needs to be having ... right now!

There were many instances in which I disagreed with the book. I will mention thre
This book is completely radical. I hate to be so cliche as to say it not only impacted my life more than any other book I've ever read, but that it had a major role in completely changing my life. It's true.

Jesus for President is challenging. It presents some very hard-edged ideas that will challenge you and REALLY get you thinking about life, about what you think or feel is important, about what you're really hoping for in the end and how you're going about getting there.

Because of this book, I
Shaped by the anabaptist peace tradition, Jesus for President casts a compelling vision of what Jesus' "revolutionary subordination" might mean for engaging our communities and nation today. Like The Irresistible Revolution (which this book compliments without repeating), Jesus for President describes the authors' dream for what ordinary Christians might become--radically committed to living like Jesus. Relying heavily on John Howard Yoder's pacifism and biblical scholarship, they suggest su ...more
Clif Hostetler
The title of this book is an attention getting update of terms such as "King Jesus" and "Jesus is Lord." It’s an ironic title because the authors admit that the American “powers and principalities” would remove him quickly if Jesus were somehow made President of the United States. Why? Because the first thing he would do is disarm the military and put them to work aiding the poor.

This book's position is that the ethics of Jesus apply to life here and now; not to some personal spiritual relations
I like Shane's books... I don't necessarily agree with everything he writes, but his books challenge me to ask hard questions.
Alan Stucky
The best quote that I've heard about this book was actually from Shane himself. He said the best compliment that they had gotten on the book was that it was "like John Howard Yoder, with pictures".
May 21, 2009 Hilary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Brett
Recommended to Hilary by: Library
A genuinely cool book.

I found Jesus for President under the New Non-Fiction section of the library and couldn't help but check it out when I read the title. I didn't know what to expect from the book (there's no summary on the back) and decided immediately that that was part of the overall allure it presented. What I got was not exactly what I expected, but instead was something more fascinating.

Firstly, I have to praise the formatting of the book. The pictures and somewhat interactive footnote
Christopher M.
Ok, where do I start? It's not that these guys can't speak some truth or don't make some valid observations and solutions regarding the blind following and condoning of the establishment. 2 problems. 1) This isn't the gospel. Never once is sin portrayed as something personal that we can't take care of ourselves. Righteousness is not only something exemplified by Christ, but something that can come from ONLY Christ. 2) The opinions are expressed with such a breathtaking immaturity, I had to force ...more
Visually, this book is amazing. Pages are printed in different colors and with different textures, so it feels like a scrapbook. There are photographs, line drawings, and captions all over, and many of the otherwise ordinary written passages have editing marks all over them. Reading this book is an unusual and inviting experience.

As for the content, though... The book shines with the personal stories at the end, with concrete examples of what it looks like to radically live out the love that the
This book has done many things during my time hammering through the pages. I have laughed, I have been disturbed, I have felt anger both at situations or even at the author, and have been gazing at the book with my jaw dropped wide open while realizing that I cannot deny what the author is portraying. This book has helped me think of America, politics, and Christianity in a whole new light. The authors express that when thinking about politics, Christians or followers of Christ must always seek ...more
Okay! I wanted a very radical approach to Christianity, and this is it! Whoa! Very challenging, and very cool, even if it did push my buttons in some respects (specifically, I really shouldn't make money or pay taxes? ouch! can lawyers even get into heaven? get ready to pass a camel through the eye of a needle!). But in addition to some seriously fringy and radical interpretations of scripture, this book is full of ideas about how to truly be of service. I'll be thinking about this one for a whi ...more
This book totally blew my mind! First of all, it was a really unique style - kind of pictorial narrative discourse, or something :) (In other words, it had lots of pictures and stories and historical information.) The more I read the more I worried I got, because it was clearly the kind of book you can't read without changing to become more radical!

But I kept reading, because becoming more radical for the cause of Jesus is worth it. In the end, I have to say, this book was life-changing. I don't
I'm not quite done with this book and I'm rapidly trying to finish it b/c it was due at library on Thursday...but I can't return until I'm done! It's so good! I'm definitely buying this one to keep in my collection...there is a lot of wisdom here that I'll want to keep going back to years from now. It's one of the best books I've read in a long many great ideas. And it's also one of the best looking books I've ever seen...every single page is a work of art! I recommend this book to eve ...more
It's been several years since I've read Shane Claiborne. This was a bargain book for my Kindle, so I decided to give it a try. As a Christian and a Democrat, I often find myself at odds with the politics of my church, so Claiborne's title intrigued me. I can't remember what I expected, but what surprised me was his intense pacifism. I should have known this from reading him previously, but many of his arguments this time were very persuasive and thought-provoking. I don't agree with everything C ...more
Frankly, the layout of this book distracts me beyond belief, but there are a moments when it is pitch perfect. As far as content, it is a very refreshing exercise in prophetic imagination filled with inspiring stories of creative nonviolent resistance to the prevailing empire and radical embodiment of the way of Jesus.

Claiborne also does an impressive job synthesizing key works from names that most 20-30 somethings are either unfamiliar with or unmotivated to explore (J.H. Yoder, N.T. Wright, W
Mar 07, 2008 Angie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Calley & Leah & my husband
This was phenomenal. There is this whole other radical way to think about everything. This book had very little to do w/ presidential races or voting . . . and lots to do w/ everyday races & politics. Lots to say about how we are voting every single day. I will write more about this book later, but suffice it to say, I loved the book & admire the authors very much. If I wanted to pick some heroes, these guys would be it.
Alex Houseknecht
I love reading Shane Claiborne’s work because I always feel invigorated to go out and do good in the world. Along with his other works, this book is very disrupting. He calls into question so many aspects of an average life, looking at wealth, privilege, violence and peace, and his unique brand of a self-sustaining lifestyle.

It’s so easy to feel Shane’s passion and absolute belief in a life ‘set apart.’ I enjoy that he is simultaneously critical and endlessly imaginative. He doesn’t simply spend
One of the last gifts a close friend gave me, this was challenging and over-simplified, partisan and disinterested. It took me years to read and I will probably be pondering it for a long while yet. One of the few books on faith, theology or politics that may change the way I believe and respond to the world around me.
Heather Hampton
This book gives its readers a lot to think about. Although many of the ideas in the book I fully agree with many of them I think the authors take a little far and make them almost impractical. However, this book did give me a lot to think about and for that I am greatful.
Aug 22, 2008 Evan added it
Great read for the election year, and beyond. Written by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, it balances Biblical study with the past and current ideas of government, ultimately illuminating the Kingdom we should be serving as followers of Christ.
Simple. Beautiful. Takes what I already believe and transforms it into something that I can articulate to others.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with the premise of this book. It needs to be read with a honest and questioning mind. Let it challenge your assumptions and prayerfully consider what the author is are saying. As for me this book is no 1 on my list of books that are unexpectedly good. I am an Australian so initially I did not expect to get much out of this book, but I confess that it challenged me and made me consider church and how I follow Christ in a new light. The best book I have read s ...more
Jon Box
Provocative reading. I have no trouble agreeing with Claiborne's review of first the old and then the new testament story (he has another term than old/new testament; the argument for which I also agree), nor do I have much disagreement with his incisive comments and enlightening interpretations of the events so far.

My real problem is with my conviction (or lack thereof) to allow myself to follow through on what I've been coming to see and understand more clearly over the last 5-10 years.

Is God
Another challenging book from Shane Claiborne, with Chris Haw. This is the book I would have written if I had been more ambitious. It is divided into four sections. The first section looks at the role Israel was to play in God's plan for the earth. How they were set aside as a peculiar people whose purpose was to demonstrate God's love and provision in the earth. The second section is devoted to a study of Jesus and his challenge to the Roman empire that ruled the earth. Jesus came to show the w ...more
Jesus for President is certainly challenging. Not so much on an intellectual level as a social / philosophical level. The point of the book is to elicit a political response in Christians, and the book certainly accomplishes this goal. I would say their point is to elicit somewhat of an anti-political stance, one of provocation against human government. This book certainly caused me to reflect on my current beliefs, and to consider new thoughts I have not yet had. I would take issue with the aut ...more
Creatively and beautifully written and illustrated, this book calls you to redefine your idea of Jesus and his message, showing just how politically charged, and radical, it really is. This book, while written in a very enjoyable and easy to read way, challenges the reader to reconsider everything they’ve ever thought about Jesus and what it means to follow in his example in being set apart from the empires and establishments that perpetuate anything less than what the kingdom of God stands for. ...more
This was one of those paradigm-shifting books for me. There was a lot of Shane Claiborne-esque stuff from The Irresistible Revolution that I agreed with, but this book made me think more deeply about it, particularly a Christian's response to war and being in the army. I'd never had cause to really think about that before, and I'm glad I did. A very good, challenging and encouraging read.

pg 193: "We might hope to change the world through better, bigger programs to stop global warming, but global
Jeff Elliott
How shall I describe this book? To be fair I would say "thought-provoking". Early on I agreed whole-heartedly but then as he continued I felt his conclusions seemed forced by trying to be revolutionary, counter-cultural, anti-materialistic, environmentalist, anti-consumer, etc;... In the end it became like a lot of other hippie books. While I appreciate Claiborne's sincerity and effort, I pretty much got what I expected from the middle to the end. I found his thoughts on many issues to be confus ...more
Hansen Wendlandt
Shane Claiborne is not like most Americans. Some of us have a simple (simpleminded) image of the relationship between religion and politics; they practically overlap, to such a degree that it is often unclear whether the conservative faith community directs the Republican party, or vice versa. Other Americans would prefer more of a literal wall of separation between government and God. Many of us think these topics are rude, or too controversial or complicated to be worth conversation. Compared ...more
Want to jump start your Christian imagination?

Jesus for President provides a mess load of power packed ideas on how Christians should interact with the world surrounding them. The authors break down the political standpoints of the Old and New Testaments, examine the early Christians interactions with an Empire whose global impact was only outmatched by its military industrial complex (wait a minute...) and then gives a litany of practical examples for followers of The Way to live out their Bapt
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  • The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
  • Everything Must Change
  • The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster
  • New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Church
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  • The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World's Poor
  • The Orthodox Heretic And Other Impossible Tales
  • Anarchy and Christianity
  • Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community
  • Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity
  • School(s) for Conversion
  • Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way
  • Adventures in Missing the Point
  • Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus
  • The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible
  • Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith
  • The Prophetic Imagination
  • Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire
My love of God and my love of the arts seem to have begun simultaneously. I can not remember which awed me first. By age eight I was both an avid collector of crucifix pendants and a writer of poems. Thankfully those first poems are lost somewhere on the African continent.

Fast forward years later through stints in English boarding school, pew-warming in Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyter
More about Shane Claiborne...
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said? Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals Economy of Love: Creating a Community of Enough

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“Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal, and powerful.” 48 likes
“Some folks may be really bummed to find that "God bless America" does not appear in the Bible. So often we do things that make sense to us and ask God to bless our actions and come alongside our plans, rather than looking at the things God promises to bless and acting alongside of them. For we know that God's blessing will inevitably follow if we are with the poor, the merciful, the hungry, the persecuted, the peacemakers. But sometimes we'd rather have a God who conforms to our logic than conform our logic to the God whose wisdom is a stumbling block to the world of smart bombs and military intelligence.” 36 likes
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