Why did we bring these essays together? Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the book (co-edited by John Nugent, Andy Alexis-Baker, and me):
"Although Yoder's voice continues to resonate across the landscape of academic Christianity, his challenge to the church seldom falls within earshot of today's average Christian. This is partly because most of his published works were directed toward scholars. Yet on many occasions Yoder addressed ordinary Christians, whether in local congregations, college chapels, or retreat centers. Unfortunately, most of this material has not been published or was published in magazines that were not read widely beyond Mennonites. As editors of this series, we have collected, transcribed, and published this material because we believe Yoder's challenge to follow Jesus in all things still needs to be heard outside academia."
This volume is Vol. 1 of a three-part series called "Yoder's Challenge to the Church." Vol. 2, Revolutionary Christian Citizenship, will be published in 2013. Vol. 3, Real Christian Fellowship, will be published in 2014.
Who is this book for?
The chapters in the book are short (around 6-10 pages on average), to the point, and very readable. The book would serve as a great resource for Bible studies and small groups. To see a study guide with questions for small group leaders, click here.
To read the Introduction and the first chapter, "A Choice of Slaveries," click here. To buy the book from the publisher at a discount (through today, Nov. 12), click here. To buy it on Amazon, click here. Or, if you're in the Grand Rapids area, you can buy the book straight from me at a discounted rate. Just contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested.
I'll be following up with a post that includes some of my favorite quotes from this book a little later in the week.
From the Foreword by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
"The great gift of [this] collection...is that they present Yoder's vision in some of the most accessible language I have ever read. They do so because they assume an audience who were very much like me when I first read The Politics of Jesus--eager to understand but not well versed in the precise vocabularies of the academy. So, while these essays are every bit as smart as anything he ever wrote, they are popular in the truest sense: they seek to communicate as clearly as possible to everyday people the news that they report.
This news is gospel--good news in its truest and deepest sense. It is the hope that breaks in with power at just the moment when we realize that all our ways of finding health and wholeness in this world as we know it are dead ends. 'The kingdom of God is at hand,' Jesus announced. And, as Yoder says so well, it's not like a taxi whose departure depends on you hailing it. It's like a train of the old spirituals--that freedom train that's a-comin' whether we want it to or not. But it's comin' to save us. It's comin' to set us free. Once you've heard that song and seen its truth, you know that the only thing to do is get on board."