Re-imagine leading and following in a world longing for true justice, compassion and freedom followers of Christ yearn to see the world changed in compassionate, positive, effective ways. As prophetic voices, Shane Claiborne and John Perkins lead the way in this move to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus. One is young, a self proclaimed reformed redneck who grew up in the hills of Tennessee and now lives in inner city Philadelphia and the other is decades older, an African-American civil rights leader who was almost beaten to death by police in Mississippi, and went on to found a reconciliation movement and counsel three American presidents. Claiborne and Perkins draw on more than a century of combined following and learning, activating and leading. Together they craft a timely message for ordinary people willing to take radical steps to see real change happen. In Follow Me to Freedom, Claiborne and Perkins lead the way toward justice for all, unfolding a proven strategy as ancient as the patriarchs of faith and as fresh as the needs of every human heart. Starting with Moses as a model, they re-imagine leading and following in a world desperate for true social justice, compassion and freedom. They offer practical ways to internalize and live out God’s promise of freedom in the twenty-first century. Followers of Christ will not only be inspired but also catalyzed into action, and the world will never be the same.
- Social Gospel isn't truly the Gospel
“Follow Me to Freedom” by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins is a book about showing Christ's love and compassion through deed, and not just by word.
There are some good things about the book and audiobook. I like the creative way Claiborne and Perkins approached the book: as a conversation between the two. The book was pleasant to listen to, and I felt like an eavesdropper to the conversation. I don't know if reading the book would have had the same impact. The two narrators were also excellent. They were both convincing, passionate, and “got into their character.” I especially enjoyed listening to the person who narrated for John Perkins. If I hadn't heard the real authors of the book speak at the beginning of the audiobook, I would've thought that Claiborne and Perkins themselves narrated their own book.
Both Claiborne and Perkins had many sound Biblical things to say. I think they do a lot of much-needed outreach that many churches should be doing. It seems like they start outreaches and hand them to those who know the neighborhoods the best, which I totally agree with. Who better to do a neighborhood outreach than the people who come from that neighborhood? It's the same way with planting a church in a foreign country and having an indigenous pastor take over. I agree with both that their needs to be repentance and fruit in the believer's life.
However, the pros are outweighed by the cons of the book. Right away, I found the book interesting and creative, but there were many times I disagreed with their theology and their philosophy. That led to this audiobook being a hard task. They both talked about race a lot, and Shane Claiborne especially brought it up a lot. He is a self-proclaimed “redneck,” and he even mentioned that he wanted to be mentored by an older black man. Why not a Hispanic or Asian woman that was the same age as him? He talked about a conference in which all kinds of people would get to speak, including African-American women. I have no problem with a woman (regardless of race) speaking in a women's conference, but a woman shouldn't be teaching adult men about the Bible. In fact, there are some Christian women who I believe are better speakers and students of the Word, but I don't think they should be teaching a co-ed Bible study. The Bible itself prohibits this (I Timothy 2:11-14). I didn't write this, it's in the Bible! This isn't a conservative White male ideal.
I'm a female, and I'm neither black nor white, but the “affirmative action” view of the church and society was irritating. One shouldn't pick somebody to lead because they are a poor minority. A leader should be somebody that can lead, regardless of race or economic status. And preachers and Christian speakers should be based on Biblical principles, not on giving them a “fair chance”. I also disagreed with many of Claiborne's “mentors” and people he associates with. He mentioned people who have watered-down or even heretical theology. Claiborne speaks too highly of Mother Theresa, one of his mentors. She was a sinful human, like the rest of us. I don't know that much about Mother Theresa, but I know she had helped many people in India. Unfortunately, helping people and doing good aren't going to get you to Heaven. Only God knows if Mother Theresa truly repented. I hope she did.
Overall, the message I got out of the book was to help those less fortunate and who don't have as many opportunities to rise above the poverty or obstacles that have faced them. Again, I agree that we need to help the needy and oppressed, but the most important way to help them is to share the Gospel with them first.
- I have just finished the book...
I have just finished the book Follow Me to Freedom by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins. I have definitely learned a lot from this book about the nature of poverty and injustice. I have also learned some steps that can be taken to alleviate it. However, I felt that the constructive parts were few and the destructive elements were many.
I for one admire both Shane Claiborne and John Perkins. They definitely practice what they preach. I wish that I were able to have the care and concern for the under-privelaged that they do. However, authenticity is not the measure of truth, and I feel that these authors are authentic in their beliefs, but sadly misguided. For one thing, it appears that they started with an ideology, and fit the Bible into that ideology to serve their ends. They make Jesus primarily a social reformer and the gospel mainly a declaration of alleviation from the troubles of injustice. While all true followers of Christ must have subsequent works that follow, it is a mistake to confuse the fruit for the root. The root of Justification produces the fruit of care for the poor and oppressed. And the gospel is not a message about a well paying job, financial help or free healthcare. No! The gospel is much deeper, and far more satisfying!
A second thing that struck me in the book was Shane's desire to be different and cutting edge. It seems he will do anything to make a statement. He prides himself on the amount of times he has been to jail. He will go to jail for almost anything. I walked away with the feeling that Shane would stand by any person who felt oppressed by "the man." And I feel that sometimes when he sides with the poor, he is actually further entrenching the poor in their poverty. For advice on poverty alleviation, I would highly recommend When Helping Hurts. This book properly understands the gospel, and what it means to truly help out the suffering.
The third main objection to the book is the mistaken statement, "each person is better than the worst things they do." This oft repeated phrase is very misleading and doctrinally untrue. It stems from the assumption that man is basically good and occasionally does bad things. The Bible teaches that man is basically bad, and it is only through the common grace of God that we do anything good at all. Yes, we could all be worse, but teaching someone that they are inherently good is wrong and dangerous.
There are many good things in the book. I admire the mentor student relationship between John and Shane. And I appreciate the racial harmony that they are trying to promote. There are a lot of good ideas in the book. I would recommend it to a cautious and discerning reader who knows how to critically analyze the words of the book and the underlying worldview the authors have. The Audio is done in a conversational manner with Shane and John both using their own voices. This is a good effect because it accurately portrays the passion that these two men feel about their topic.
- Follow Me To Freedom is a...
Follow Me To Freedom is a series of conversations between two civil rights activists. John Perkins is an African-American who lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and Shane Claiborne is a young redneck. They spend the course of the book discussing leadership, justice, helping the poor, and other related topics.
The format of the book is interesting because it is basically a series of transcripts. Perkins and Claiborne sat down and simply discussed things related to leadership and helping the poor, and these conversations became the book. It seems to work well at first- it's almost like listening to interviews, but without a host asking questions. However, the book eventually begins to drag on- contrary to the information on christianaudio's product page, the audiobook is over eight hours long. The last few conversations just seem to go over material we've already gone over, and I think the book would have been better off had it been shorter.
The audiobook is read by Valmont Thomas and Eddie Lopez, and they do a great job with it. I don't know who is reading whom, though, but whoever was reading Perkins' lines was exceptionally good. He conveyed the emotion almost as if he were Perkins himself (though there were a couple parts he spoke so quietly I couldn't hear him while walking down the street). The person reading Claiborne did a fine job, as well. The authors themselves read the introduction, which was a nice touch, though it made it clear why they had others doing the book itself.
Now, on to the content and views espoused in this book. I found myself agreeing very much with what Perkins and Claiborne said about leadership, and about the proper way of assisting the poor. There is some sound advice in this book. Don't just give the poor a bunch of money- give them the tools and training they need to make money. If you're uneducated, pick up a book. If somebody is going hungry, suffer alongside them- don't eat, so you can know exactly what they're going through, just as Christ comes alongside us and knows exactly what we're going through. Leaders need to be nurturers, and humble- they must always give God the credit, not themselves. Leaders need to make sure that their followers know them as a friend. Leaders shouldn't work or speak for people; they should work or speak with people. There is plenty of good advice in this book.
However, discernment is critical. I liked and agreed with almost everything Perkins said. (I hold some reservation towards his view on civil disobedience. Some of the examples were fine; others, I thought, were unnecessary.) Perkins struck me as wise and godly, and his contribution is fantastic. Claiborne is a different story, unfortunately. While Perkins was very clearly God-centered, and he emphasizes doing God's will, and keeping God at the center, and he uses Scripture to back him up, Claiborne struck me as man-centered. He seems to espouse a pragmatism that downplays or denies Biblical truth in favor of social progress, and he focuses on Scriptures that help his case, and just doesn't bother with Scriptures that don't. This pragmatism presents itself in his awe of Mother Theresa (he claims she had the spirit of Christ, while at the same time describing her participation to the Mass, which denies certain truths), his praise of Catholics and Protestants setting aside their differences, and his complaint about conceited, self-righteous, cowardly white men not allowing women to preach (God knows what his opinion of the Apostle Paul must be). It gets to a point where I'm under the impression Claiborne must have visibly cringed when Perkins quoted Paul's condemnation of homosexuality. It's rather disappointing, too, because things like these undercut the other stuff Claiborne has to say. Instead of listening to him with interest, I instead found myself listening with some suspicion. You simply cannot claim to represent Christ and call others to follow His commands and believe His Word, while explicitly or implicitly denying the more obnoxious commands and claims of His Word.
Claiborne's doctrinal issues aside, though, Follow Me To Freedom is a good book to read. Perkins was great, and Claiborne has a rather unique ministry, and where they're right, they're right. As mentioned, discernment is necessary, as it always is. We must be like the noble Bereans, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. (Acts 17:11)
This audiobook review of Follow Me To Freedom by John Perkins and Shane Claiborne was made possible by the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
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- The idea of Follow Me to...
The idea of Follow Me to Freedom is that in order to be a good leader, you first have to be a good follower (of Christ). This book is an attempt to teach us about “followership” as Shane Claiborne puts it.
I listened to this on audiobook. It is presented as a conversation format, alternating between Shane Claiborne and John Perkins. I am a fan of both of these men. They are not perfect in all that they do or have said, but they have lived out their lives attempting to follow God and doing the actual front line work that they call the rest of us to. If you read me very often you know I like authors to read their own books, and the first 20 minutes of the book, the introduction, they do narrate, but then it changes to other narrators that just cannot match the personality that Claiborne and Perkins have. They seem a bit too animated at times, and occationally animated at the wrong things. Over time they grew on me, but I still wish that Perkins and Claiborne had read it themselves. That being said I got used to the narrators by the end and thought they did a fine job, they just were Shane and John.
These are both very good teachers, well grounded both in scripture and on the ground work. What they have to say is important and well thought out. But if you have read a good selection of the authors’ other works, this may not be much new material. I do find the combination of a young white radical and an older African American patriarch moving. They do interact and I can imagine what they must really be like together and I wish I was there too. Some of the editing of the audiobook is a little forced (especially with some of the jokes.) But overall it is a great introduction to the theology of these two men.
This book is about learning how to follow Christ before trying to lead. That is clearly something these two have attempted to do. You can learn from them, pick up the book.
The book was provided free for purposes of review.
- In follow me to freedom, Shane...
In follow me to freedom, Shane Claiborne and John Perkins discuss what it means for Christians to be followers and leaders. The book takes the form of conversations between the two authors.
Being in conversation format, the book does tend to jump around topics a bit between a diverse range of topics surrounding following Jesus and leading people. If you can keep up with the disjointedness, there is a lot of interest in the book. Perkins is an older African-American civil rights leader and Claiborne is a younger social justice activist so between them they tell a lot of interesting stories. Both of them have put a lot of effort into thinking through and living out their convictions which shows through in the book. Claibourne does have a reputation for being a bit liberal. I didn't think think he was too liberal theologically here, although some might find his ideas about things like civil disobedience a bit out there. I appreciated some of the theological input from Perkins. I also liked that they focused a lot on servant leadership, rather than the power driven type of leadership that often shows up inside and outside the church.
I "read" this book in audiobook format. The narrators did a good job of embodying the character of the authors and having the two narrators made it easier to follow. Maybe because the book was not narrated by the authors, some of the dialogue sounded a bit forced.
You probably won't agree with all of what they say, but I think there is enough good food for thought in the book to make it worth reading.
- 'Follow Me To Freedom' by Shane...
'Follow Me To Freedom' by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins is not your ordinary book on leadership. This is leadership as Jesus would do it. This is leadership through the experience of two Christians from very different backgrounds. Two stories. One message. You'll find it difficult to put down.
The two writers, Claibourne and Perkins read the introduction, and I like that, but then the narration is taken over by Valmont Thomas and Eddie Lopez. They do a great job, and the two voices really do help to help the listener work their way through the book. There is a lot of information, and many profound truths, in Follow Me To Freedom, and you will need to invest some time in this book; it isn't one where you can multi task with it.
There are all your usual leadership topics, such as vision, people, power, but then more uniquely Christian topics such as prayer, community, justice, that really do ground this book in the Christian community. Follow Me To Freedom is also a challenge. Only listen to this book if you want to be challenged and changed.
This is a book calling for action from Christians and not just something nice to read when you've got a few minutes. The authors know that leadership is about setting an example, and not about getting a bigger bonus than everyone else at the end of the year. Following Jesus' example they understand that leading often means serving, and through a number of real examples they reveal the power of this style of leadership. Many of their points are referenced by relevant scripture readings and they do well to link their points to the Gospel message.
Follow Me To Freedom is a great book and it is one you will revisit often.
I listened to this book as part of christianaudio.com book review programme. I was not required to give a positive review.
- I have read a lot of...
I have read a lot of Emergent, post-modern evangelical books. One of the leaders in the new Christianity is Shane Claiborne. Claiborne is known for his dreadlocks and his approach to ministry. Without a doubt he has sacrificed much in order to fight for justice among the poor, the forgotten, and the abused. Claiborne has been accused of affirming the social gospel, and although there are elements of truth to that, he is at times difficult to nail down.
Claiborne's latest book, Follow Me to Freedom: Leading As an Ordinary Radical is co-written with John Perkins, a civil rights leader who has a story to tell. Together, the two men approach the issue of leadership, especially among Christians and at the local church, and show how in true leadership one must be willing to follow.
The book weaves in biblical application, especially from the story of Moses and the Exodus, with personal stories of how an Ordinary Radical can lead. What the authors want to see is Christians and each local church take charge in helping to end poverty, fight injustice, and live Christ-like. Though these are important manners that the Church needs to take more seriously, I felt that much was absent from this presentation. Perhaps we should first discuss the gospel; propitiation, resurrection, etc. We will not lead by following until we truly understand the cross and what it really means.
Part of my frustration with the book wasn't just with the content, but with the audio. I listened to this book as a digital download from www.christianaudio.com. I found the narrators themselves distracting. I believe part of my confusion and frustration with the book centered around the presentation and narrating of the book. Its not that the production was bad but that the narrators distracted me.
I believe that if I were to have the opportunity to actually read the book, I would have enjoyed it more. I just found myself, distracted by the narrators, wondering what the authors were trying to say. So would I recommend this book? I don't know. Perhaps in the near future I will read it for myself and then come back and tell you what I really think about the content.
- Follow Me To Freedom is a...
Follow Me To Freedom is a series of conversations on leadership between Shane and John. To be honest, that's pretty much it - there's clearly not really much planning in terms of the book travelling from one spot to the other, it's just a bunch of conversations, but the authors know that.
This audio version includes an introduction by the authors (one of whom speaks very slowly, the other mumbles quickly), then two narrators take their parts for the remainder of the book, which is filled with plenty of laughter, shouting, and interrupting each other.
The content is varied, to say the least. Everything from the environment through to leadership structures, social action, politics, justice, and dealing with conflict are covered. On occasion I don't agree with what they say, but that's one of the main points of the book so I can't really fault it for that - my only other issue with it would be that it does feel disjointed as the topic of conversation moves around, just as a natural conversation would, but that again is the design of the book!
On the whole, I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who just wants to open their mind to some new ways of thinking. Shane and John think differently from one another in places, and certainly think differently to me, but have good hearts and good convictions behind it all. Shane says at one point that he was cancelled as a speaker at two separate events, once for being too liberal, and once for being too conservative - I expect you will disagree with something said in this book, but I also think you'll benefit from it. Two thumbs up from me.
I got this audiobook for free as part of the christianaudio.com Book Reviewers Programme. I'm not required to give a positive review.