(Review is below a few paragraphs.)
There’s a good story on how this book landed in my house. A few months back, Shane Claiborne was invited to speak in our city, Kansas City, and my church was blessed to have hosted his presentation and afterward-conversations. In preparation for such a big event and catalytic personality, I read up on some Claiborne – starting with Irresistible Revolution. …Loved the story he told in that book. I also picked up the intriguing Common Prayer – I’ve enjoyed all kinds of prayer books in the last two years. So, in my hunt for Claiborne books that I thought I’d enjoy and that I felt could give me a glimpse on his take on Jesus and the Jesus Way, Follow Me to Freedom landed on my Amazon wishlist. (At the time of this post, it’s currently on the Bargain List for $6.00 now!)
This is how it went down.
I was having a day when I felt like I could use a little inspiration or boost when it comes to leadership qualities or plain ol’ enthusiasm. We were driving on a longer trip, I was in the passenger seat, and we were all enjoying that dreamy, relaxed time of a road trip where we’re all content looking out the window. …except for Jude, our then two year old little boy. Jude was restless. He needed something to capture his attention for a bit. What else did I have to help with this but my phone?
The next thing I knew, I got an email saying, “Thank You for Your Amazon.com Purchase.” My head cocked for a second and even entertained the idea that someone had JUST hacked my Amazon account. But then it hit me as I looked at what had been ordered – Jude had ordered a book for his daddy and by the strange grace of God, a book that really is warming his daddy’s heart.
ON TO THE REVIEW!
I’m a fan of Claiborne’s but don’t always see eye to eye, yet, deeply appreciate his take on the Jesus Way. (I’ll have to write another time about what I might not yet see eye to eye on him with — that feels like it’ll be a long post.) I had not heard of John Perkins before this book. But, now I want to learn more.
Follow Me to Freedom is one of the best leadership books I’ve read and I’ve found myself reading a few over the last three years. I found that the way it was written really helped a lot with the feel and vibrancy of the ideas and language — it’s conversationally written, like a play, where you see “John:” and then “Shane:” and their thoughts stream from there. You get to participate in what feels like a coffeehouse conversation on leadership and vision and, really the core of it, the blossoming Kingdom of God.
The great take away, the moment I had to put the book down and felt like if I didn’t read anything more, I’d be ok, was the moment John Perkins wrote about success. His writing throughout the book was all about a leader receiving the grace of a vision and bringing others along with him. Success, he said, was about succession and passing that vision on to others and helping them implement and explore how to flesh out that vision. Passing it on! That’s it. To me, a REVOLUTIONARY way to look at success.
So, how does that definition affect us?
Well, instead of accumulation or outward appearances marking someone as “successful” in their life from a distance, we examine if they’ve grasped what’s been passed down to them and we look at what they’re doing with that. So, for us Christians and our young generation, success for us is not how many kids show up in the Sunday School classrooms, but how many of those kids and families are catching the vision of God’s grace and kingdom making it’s impact of love on this world and seeing themselves grafted into that movement of eternal living. That’s success.
Success is also values passed down from one generation to another — without yet critiquing the values themselves. Sometimes success needs to be disrupted.
With Perkins’ very helpful take on Success, I’m left to wonder, what would our world, from the urban to suburban to rural places, look like if we began to take into our imaginations this kind of view of success — where the “bar” is less about accumulation or appearances and more about receiving something that grafts you into a lifestyle and that lifestyle takes on some new nuances with the coming generations? What would our world look like? I can only peacefully imagine.