Years ago now, I had the opportunity to hear John Perkins speak at a small gathering at a seminary in Oakland. I honestly can’t tell you a single thing he said, but I still remember to this day being amazed that such a “big time” person would come to such a small group of people and just have a conversation (yeah he preached too, but it was more of an “interaction” then a lecture). Now fast forward to this past November when I decided to read the book “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. I knew nothing about this guy or “The Simple Way” before reading this book and I just happened to pick it up because the title caught my eye…but his words re-awoke the part of me that believes in God’s heart for the poor and the outcast. So when I was recently browsing through our online database of books at work and saw that John Perkins and Shane Claiborne had written a book together, I knew for sure I wanted to read it! This morning I finished the book and although it was nothing like I expected (although honestly I had forgotten what it was about by the time I got around to reading it), I don’t think I could have picked a better time to read it!
“Follow me to Freedom” is a book about Leadership and Followership. Normally I would never pick up such a book. When I think of a leader I think of someone who is dynamic, charismatic, put together, a go-getter, someone who draws people to themselves, etc. These are not the qualities I would immediately think of when I describe myself, so spending time reading books about becoming a better leader or sharpening my leadership skills don’t usually rank high on my radar!
This book however had a lot to teach me and it was written in such a cool way that I felt like I really was a part of the conversation….or at least a fly on the wall listening in. I love how they talk about how all people have value cause we are all created by god (a lesson I also picked up in “Tattoos on the heart”) and I love how they remind the reader not to think too highly of themselves because God can use anyone, even a donkey. But what I really loved was the how they interwove the topic of community into almost every conversation (whether the topic was “Prayer”, “Service”, “Humility” or even “Freedom”).
I have been on a huge “community” kick for months now. I guess somewhere along the line I realized that when the bible says we are “the body” of Christ it means that we are actually suppose to be ONE body with many different parts, not many different bodies serving ONE god. Throughout my life I’ve been accused of being the lone ranger. I am very head strong and sometimes I think I alone know what’s best and so I go off on my own making my own way…only to fall on my face and come crying back to God. I act as if I am one body among many who serve God. But there’s an awesome question this book brings up that goes something like this “You may be strong enough to do it alone, but are you strong enough to do it together?”. It got me thinking…am I really committed to being a part of the Body?! Community is hard work….dealing with people is messy and not easy…and there’s always the need to constantly surrender my ideas and wants to God in order for true community to work. None-the-less this is what God calls us to…to be ONE. This is the way to freedom…to come to God…to be a part in this body...And to join in with him as he calls people to “Come follow Me”!