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Outlandish: How Jesus' Messy Ministry still changes the World Every Day

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Jesus did everything wrong: Poor judgment picking a team of disciples. Ministering to the wrong people. Angering the wrong people. Having outrageous expectations of his followers. Questionable teaching methods. Allowing others to have unrealistic opinions about his mission. A humiliating end followed by an improbable surprise ending. And then, somehow, inspiring millions t ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Chalice Press
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Robert D. Cornwall
Who is Jesus? That is a question for the ages, with multiple answers given. The famous quests for the historical Jesus have often led to a picture that is more reflective of one's own identity than the Jesus who lived in the first century. Nevertheless, it is a fruitful process to seek to offer an answer. Some answers are better than others (at least in my estimation). In the end, we must admit that any answer we give is at best approximate. With that caveat, I approach Derek Penwell's book "Out ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone curious about Jesus
Recommended to Phil by: The publisher, Chalice Press
Outlandish <br />An Unlikely Messiah, a Messy Ministry, and the Call to Mobilize by Derek Penwell

This book’s title, Outlandish: An Unlikely Messiah, a Messy Ministry, and the Call to Mobilize summarizes its contents. This is a book about Jesus. It’s not a Christology. It emphatically isn’t about a divine superman with X-ray vision, superior strength, social charm, or intellectual brilliance. It’s simply about Jesus as presented in the gospels (though differently from most things you’ve heard before), and about Jesus who confronts the time and place where we are today (namely, in the era of Trump).


Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Reverend Dr. Penwell‘s book is a fresh, funny, humble, and insightful reflection on Jesus. This book counters the co-optation of the Christian Savior by folks who seem to want to do anything but follow Christ’s example of leadership. Penwell seamlessly weaves personal anecdotes, cultural critiques, and theological references into an immensely readable text suitable both for those new to the Christian faith and for those who have long been students of Christian scripture and doctrine. He make ...more
Rev. Doug
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Outlandish Penwell gives concrete voice to what Johann Baptist Metz called ‘the dangerous memory of Jesus.’ Peeling back once again the syrupy story ofJesus—either as a magic happy loving Jesus or the return of a kingly future son of God—that coats an active radical outlandish Jesus, Penwell reiterates the extraordinary idea that God is for the here and now, calling his disciples to be at one with the poor and oppressed and the captives —and actively committed to their release. The political ...more
Frances Gray
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outlandish is not a book to read if you are satisfied with your current image of Jesus as the meek and mild shepherd with only spiritual aspirations during his ministry. This book turned everything I thought about my Jesus upside down and pricked my conscience as a Christian at the same time. The author uses his knowledge and insight to lead the reader on a journey with Jesus as he confronts government and religious leaders of his time as a subversive who is crucified because they fear him. Then ...more
Audrey Connor
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Derek does an amazing job both humorously sharing about his life and bringing the reader into poignant theological discussions. His conversational style and depth catches both the theologically trained as well as the uninitiated. I would recommend this book for any small group and/or congregation for discussion, education, or just delight. Derek reminds me how much I love Jesus, the mystery/gift of faith in today's world, and just how we can respond to Jesus's call in an increasingly complex wor ...more
Mary Nash
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Penwell has the knack of bringing he reader into deep theological thoughts with humor and self deprecation. His writing is easy to read, humorous and thought provoking. A must read for anyone concerned about the direction our current culture is heading.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Derek Penwell’s new book gets to the heart of who Jesus really was- Outlandish. This is a timely reminder that Jesus was not the prosperity gospel-send me all your money-MAGA hat-imperialist-white guy that the right seems to worship. Instead, Penwell shows us all of the ways that Jesus was expressly NOT that guy. Of particular interest to this reader was Chapter 2 where Penwell addresses the issue of LGBTQ+ folks and how Jesus would have responded. Spoiler alert: He would have responded with lov ...more
Patrick Wieger
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Derek Penwell truly defines Micah 6:8 - "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" - in his new book and urges us to be intentional and "Outlandlish" in our own walk in our communities. He makes us aware with statements such as: “What does your community value, and how far are they willing to go to support those values?” “People should have confidence that—whenever families are put at risk, whenever young black men find themselves disproportionately and systematically penalized beca ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
I read this with a group at church for Lent. The group met weekly to discuss 1-2 chapters. I appreciated the discussions more than the book itself. Penwell does take some teachings from the bible and turn it on its head and makes you think of things from another perspective, which I enjoyed. However, some of the points of the book were redundant and it felt like beating a point to death. This book is very much for today and references the current political climate, which may prevent it from agin ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Penwell's book Outlandish because it was accessible and substantive--rare for books on faith and justice. I have been a pastor and Christian Educator for 15 years and I am always looking for thoughtful books that are accessible for a lay audience and introduce new ideas for Sunday School and book discussions. This books is the perfect resource to think through who Jesus was, how Jesus is calling us to live and serve in a world that seems overwhelmingly unjust.
Shelly Shepherd
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything Derek Penwell writes, teaches, or preaches about is something I pay attention to. His finger is on the pulse of what it means to be present in this world and to be a presence for good in this world. I enjoy his style and his heart for people. Outlandish is proving to be another great book as I make my way through the story. Thanks Derek!
Michael Dunn
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outlandish. This is the book I was talking to someone about that when you read you cannot go back to what being a pastor leader was like before. Some books are like that. Once you read them your comfortable existence gets put on full display. Now something’s got to change in me so that I live and lead more faithfully.
Michael Doerr
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a world where those outside the church (and a growing number of us inside the church) are disgusted by the church's identification with prejudice, bigotry, and privilege, while too many within the church (and while too often and for too long the institutional church--judicatories, congregations, and national/global denominations) are comfortable being the enforcers and protectors of that same prejudice, bigotry, and privilege, my friend Derek speaks a word that reminds us of the commitments o ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ministers, students, seekers, friends, disillusioned people of faith, activists, intersectionalists
Recommended to Lisa by: Colleague
Penwell tackles the toughest challenge that non-conservative, non-evangelical, largely non-political people of Christian faith are currently facing. We're going to have to talk about our faith in the public discourse in order to live into it fully....and we're not thrilled. In common language, with scholarship both solid and visionary, he grabs our hands and runs away from fast fading comfort zones to the edges where faith is most relevant and most necessary. My favorite part was the intellectua ...more
Donna Greene
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although I'm still reading Outlandish, I highly recommend it. It's like sitting down with a good friend and having a conversation about Jesus' ministry. However, it probably isn't the Jesus you think you know. Derek points out that our Savior's ministry didn't fit the norms of His day, and in fact He upset the apple cart time and again. If you want a good read that will challenge your view and bring a new understanding of just how "Outlandish" His ministry was this is it.
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