Ultra-Brief Reviews: David Alan Black and Debbie Jordan.

September 16, 2009


Ultra-Brief Reviews

The Jesus Paradigm.
David Alan Black.

Paperback: Energion Publications, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

The World I Imagine:
A Creative Manual For Ending Poverty and Building Peace.
Debbie Jordan.

Paperback: Outskirts Press, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

David Alan Black’s The Jesus Paradigm is an excellent little book that calls us back to the way of Jesus.  Toward the end of the book, Black summarizes its trajectory: “we are not called to be Americans.  We are not called to be Baptists. We are not called to be Republicans or Democrats. We are called to be foot-washers” (136).  Drawing heavily on the Anabaptist tradition of theology throughout, Black makes a convincing case that God’s people are in need of a radical transformation.

Debbie Jordan is a skilled and visionary writer and her recent book The World I Imagine: A Creative Manual For Ending Poverty and Building Peace offers us a fine vision of the world at peace.  The strength of this work is its imagination, its capacity to foresee a world at peace.  Such a vision is essential to peacemaking.  Unfortunately, the book while long on imagination, falls short in its prescriptions for how we should move toward this end – in other words as a “manual.”  This idealism resounds perhaps most loudly in the chapter on universal healthcare.  While the idea of everyone receiving the care they need is undoubtedly one facet of peace, Ms. Jordan has seriously underestimated the contentiousness of this issue (which, of course, has flared up in recent months) and the power wielded (for instance, by insurance companies) in resistance to this idea.