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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Read. SWCID reviews "The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World."

Readers of So what can I do know that this site is committed to helping each of us do all we can to make a positive difference in our world. That focus comes, in part, from my Christian faith. So it is fitting that I was asked to review The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World.

The Revolution" consists of twelve chapters, each written by a different Christian author on a different social justice issue. Topics include hunger, torture, gang violence, and human trafficking, among others. Contributers come from a variety of Christian traditions and work in the areas they write about. The essays are not only meant to inform, but also to motivate, and they do just that. The writers offer personal experiences, physical and spiritual, that help clarify the reasons for and value of their work. These essays, along with the accompanying motivational quotes and scriptural references provide a valuable resource for those who are thinking and praying about how best to do the work we are put here to do.

Since the book is aimed at Christians who are interested in living the commandment to 'love thy neighbor', the writers aren't out to convert anyone. That may make reading and using it possible for those who are committed to social change and are not Christian. I appreciate that since we're all God's children.

Each chapter has sidebars entitled Donate, Educate, Activate and Pray, which give short practical steps to alleviating the social problem discussed in the chapter. Three appendices list additional ways to act, scriptural references, and organizational resources. These are great but more information should be provided. For example, the appendix listing "More ways to take action" is a list of simple imperative sentences with no other details. The "Scriptures on Justice and Mercy" list only the chapter and verse, but don't quote the Biblical text. That said, one could argue that that encourages the reader to pick up the Bible and read the translation of her choice.

While I generally enjoyed The Revolution and will refer to it for new resources to profile in So what can I do, I do have one major concern. Each chapter opens with a colonial-era map of a country or region that is referenced in the text. I find it difficult to understand why out-of-date political maps were used, particularly since they allude to horrific activities that occurred world wide, often in the name of Christ. Many countries are identified by colonial names (for example, "Rhodesia" instead of Zimbabwe) and a Eurocentric perspective is strongly implied. This is unfortunate, since growing numbers of the world's Christians are not European or of European descent. Given the unjust and decidedly un-Christian roles of many Christians and Christian missionaries in imperialism and colonialism, the use of maps that reference these acts is troubling.

Whether or not you are motivated by faith, The Revolution is a valuable resource, especially for those who know that there is more we all can do to improve our world and are ready to get started in that work.

Heather Zydek's The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World is published by Relevant Books and is available for $8.99. (Thanks Susan!)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix, musician, singer, and songwriter (1942-1970)

3 comments:

frog philosopher said...

hi. i found my way to your blog when i googled click 2 donate sites. you have an awesome blog. thanks for taking the time to help people help others.

Karama said...

Hello FP,

Thanks so much for visiting So what can I do. I hope you liked what you saw. Come by again, and please spread the word.

Keep on clicking to donate. It's a fast, free and easy way to make a difference!

Karama said...

Hi Karama :

I thought your readers might be interested in a contest we are doing. In conjunction with our latest book release, Relevant Nation, we want to highlight the efforts of people who are out in the world, using their faith to make a difference.

To do this, we're asking readers to tell us the stories of people they know who are impacting the world with their faith. The winning story will be featured in the Counter Culture section of RELEVANT Magazine and the entrant of the winning story will receive a free copy of The RELEVANT Nation.

More information about the contest, along with the full rules can be found at www.relevantmagazine.com/nation

For more information about the book, please visit www.relevantmediagroup.com/mediakit/relevantbooks/relnation/index.htm

Thanks!

Susan Simcox
Publicist, RELEVANT Media Group
susan@relevantmediagroup.com