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Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  5,611 ratings  ·  321 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 im
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 3rd 2008 by Zondervan (first published March 3rd 2007)
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Aug 04, 2008 rated it liked it
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 three he
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
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 relation
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
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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".
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Carlisle Davidhizar
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book I desperately needed in the face of the current political climate.
Brendan Beale
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Too simplistic. Jesus, in Clairborne’s telling, is boiled down to something approaching a Che Guevara leftist, and the gospel to a social reengineering program.

Okay, maybe that critique is itself too simplistic. Claiborne does draw a more nuanced picture than the social gospel or liberation theology of yore, and certainly takes the Bible more seriously than mainline liberals. Some of his insights were brilliant and compelling. He rightly seeks to apply the political ramifications of the gospel
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Brett
Recommended to Fox 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.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Rebekah O'Dell
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Rarely have I read a book that made me stop reading mid-sentence to reflect on what I believe and why I believe it. This book caused me to do just that on nearly every page. Though I was very closed to the message of this book initially, I found it extremely compelling by the end. It really has made me rethink a lot of things about faith, what Christ truly asks of us, and how we are to live it out. Whether or not you agree with all of it or not (I didn't), this is certainly a phenomenal read a ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Virginia Davis
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
For anyone trying to reconcile faith (or more appropriately, discipleship to Jesus) with politics. Obviously, we can't expect everyone to lead the life Shane leads, but there are some seriously good ideals to attempt to hold ourselves to in this book. If we dismiss the ways of Jesus in favor of a certain political system, we are (as Shane points out) suggesting that we find that system more realistic and believable than Jesus.
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 22, 2008 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.
Heather Hampton
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Simple. Beautiful. Takes what I already believe and transforms it into something that I can articulate to others.
Jeff Elliott
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Nathan Albright
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge-2019
All candidates for president have supporters who don't really represent their character or understand their political worldview all that well, and Jesus Christ is no exception to this rule.  To be sure, the authors of this book do not entirely misunderstand Jesus' political worldview, but their understanding of the political implications of Christianity are greatly harmed by a marked leftist bias.  Had the author been less excessively leftist, and more interested in exegesis than eisegesis, this ...more
David  Cook
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and admire Shane Clairborne. In my opinion, one cannot read scripture and not feel piqued. Christ's teachings rarely align with the standards of society and governments. Yet we have seen a rise in the religious right over the last 30 years where politicians and pastors have formed a partnership dripping with piety. They drape Christ in the Flag and the prosperity gospel and largely ignore the hard teachings. This is a book to read and reread especially around election ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book many, many years ago and never got around to reading it. It was originally released as the U. S. was preparing for the 2008 Presidential election, and Claiborne and Haw thought things were bleak then. I can only imagine what an updated version would look like now as so many Christians have wholeheartedly supported our current President. As a follower of Christ and a believer in the message of love, compassion, and peace that the Bible teaches, I'm just completely dumbfounded by t ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As my entree into Claiborne. I truly expected not to like this book, previously feeling like he may have been blown out of proportion by my evangelical friends. In truth, after reading this, it seems as though he may have been misunderstood by those folks--or else they've not found him convincing, or never bothered to implement his teaching. The latter seems to be the most understandable because none of the options for "being political like Jesus was political" are easy--they often require becom ...more
Kyle Sanders
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book forever reshaped, re-ignited, transformed and saved my faith. Not necessarily in the Christian church, but in the life and teaching of the Jesus of Nazareth, called the risen Christ. It altered the course of my life forever. Shane opened my heart, mind and eyes into an alternative, indeed radical, way of understanding the heart of the Gospel message and its story. It also revealed the problems with evangelicals and America, and it got me involved with Red Letter Christians and inspired ...more
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Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. Shane worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia. He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane is a champion for grace which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and ...more

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Summer reading season is in full swing, which means many of the year's biggest and best releases are coming out of the gates. And although your Ju...
19 likes · 18 comments
“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.” 69 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.” 52 likes
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