Review: Subversive Jesus by Craig Greenfield + Giveaway

Frank and I are very conscientious about giving to charity. We try to spread out or giving to a diverse group and research ones that mirror our values – for both our family and the world. We are not good about actually getting dirty and experiencing life with those who are “least” up close. I always tell myself, When the girls are older; When we’re out of the baby stage; When I have more time… The reality is that there is never a good or opportune time to just hang out with the poor. But, that is what Jesus has called us to do. He’s called us to reimagine hospitality and to invite others in.

_140_245_Book.1913.cover.jpgCraig Greenfield and his family do this. They live with the poor. They eat dinner with drug addicts. They truly live out the message of Jesus. From living in the slums of Pnom Penh, Cambodia to the slums of Vancouver, Canada, Greenfield believes strongly in literally living out the radical message of Jesus – of loving his neighbors, of feeding the hungry, and of treating the poor like people.

In his newest book, Subversive Jesus, Greenfield chronicles his family’s move from Cambodia to Vancouver. They realized that there is a hero assumption when people heard about their work in Cambodia – of course it’s poor; they were amazing for living with “those people.” But, they wanted to bring that same awareness to one of the richest cities in the world, where poverty is still prevalent and where the poor are still marginalized.

I underlined most of Greenfield’s story. He writes with conviction and without sugarcoating our role as Christians. Yet, he does it in a way that is more sharing his own story and journey than judging my choices. He does it in a way that point-blank asks me to rethink why I make certain choices, but is also gracious and loving with my own journey. (At least, it feels that way as I read through his smart-yet-conversational style.)

I won’t share all of my favorite quotes, but this one stood out most for me, probably because I use my kids as an excuse to not get involved with the poor as much as I could or should:

“In making our children into idols, we’ve lost sight of the central place God has for our kids in his purposes. [My wife] and I learned that as we trust God with our family, we will see him at work – not only in our neighborhoods but also in the lives of our children” (pg 70).

Greenfield has me rethinking how I teach my kids about the poor. Unless we meet others and get to know their stories and their faces, it’s more of a commandment than a way of life. Something to check off the “good Christian” checklist rather than truly living how Jesus asked us.

Subversive Jesus is a book that has changed my thought process of parenting and living life. It’s a call to flip our thinking of family, of hospitality, and of relationships upside-down as we reimagine the kingdom of God.

How do you teach your kids about the poor among us? Any advice on how to get hands-on as we open our homes?

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Subversive Jesus. Leave a comment about how you actively interact with others who aren’t like you and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, April 29, 2016. (United States addresses only.)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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15 thoughts on “Review: Subversive Jesus by Craig Greenfield + Giveaway

  1. This sounds like a book I will definitely be reading! I love personal face to face conversations and hands on work whether that be with friends, family or strangers. I have found that I have a heart for people, charity, and mission work, but I have not found that one organization or cause that feels like “home.” This is one of the things I pray about daily. Sounds like an amazing story and I look foward to reading it in the future.

    God bless,

    MarieW

  2. I chose to study to teach ESL so that I can work with those different from me. I thrive on cultural diversity, and as I’m finding my way on my career-path I realized I want to find a way to serve the marginalized as I teach and work, in our out of the USA. I agree with Craig that going out to do this easily now becomes heroic, or we see ourselves as the ‘white savior.’ Now I’m more on track to work with these people where I am, and with the recent refugee crisis, I hope I can find a way to be of service to this group, as well.

    Finding local ESL groups through your local library or church for free tutoring or conversation partnering can be a great way to introduce your kids to those different, and break down the us/them “othering” early in their lives. Having people from different worlds, who look, sound, and even smell different, into your home for a meal or a party or a holiday can introduce hospitality to them, and give your heart to those far from home who so want to find and make a new home here, while helping them with skills they need, too!

    1. I so agree, Hannah. It’s easy to overlook the need right in our own hometowns. I love that you’re helping those who need help here – it’s just as “heroic” as going abroad. And, such a great idea to use tutoring as a way to introduce kids to other cultures. We have a large Russia & Eastern European population here – wonder how we can reach out and make connections? Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Seems like a book right up our alley. We have just sold out house and are moving more “inner city” as we have been moved by the words of the gospel. I think for us we’ve realized engaging with people on the periphery of society doesn’t just happen. Life is so busy, especially with little kiddos! Hoping it can be more organic with the move

    1. Wow! Such a bold move!! That’s what struck me so much in Greenfield’s story – how normal it was for his kids to know their neighbors and walk the streets of “unsafe” places. Prayers for your family as you embark on this journey!

  4. I appreciated this post and am looking forward to reading the book. We know a family of six who lives this. They take in the homeless and recovering drug addicts and make them part of their family. They love as Jesus loved and are some of the most humble people I know. God works miracles in physical and monetary ways and their needs seem to always be met. God is so good in how he uses each of us to do his work with unique gifting for his ultimate Glory. Ephesians 4:16

  5. I’m afraid I don’t have much personal interaction with those “unlike” me; I teach history at a middle-class Christian university that is frighteningly monolithic. Our church works with local schools–overwhelmingly poor/rural–to provide snacks for under-nourished children on weekends/evenings, tutoring, etc., and we do other community outreach. But as I try to stretch my students to reach beyond the bounds of the comfortable–socially and spiritually as well as academically–I crave voices and resources that call me to do the same, and to provide examples of how to live an actually missional life wherever I find myself. I have loved Craig’s blogs and other writings, and have been excited to see the release of this book. Thanks for your support for Craig, and for this giveaway!

    1. I think that’s so important, too – to stretch the ideas and comfort of those who are happily living in the status-quo. Craig talks about that, too – that we need people to teach in upper middle class settings and to share the radical message of Jesus there, as well.

  6. I engage with others who are different from me as individuals who will help me in my ongoing conversion into Christ. I need all types of people who challenge my assumptions so I can encounter Christ in all people.

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