Posted by: Chris Sandel | March 11, 2008

Jesus for President

On the way back from our recent trip to Arizona I picked up this book.  It is filled with pictures and it is really well designed so the artist (and non-reader) in me was drawn to it.  I was actually fairly proud of myself because I read it most of the way home (over 200 pages worth which is REALLY good for me).  I want to be a reader but I find it hard to slow down enough to focus on just one thing.  I often listen to books instead because it allows me to do other things but I want to develop the habit of slowing down to actually read some books that I know will challenge me.  Anyway, I finished the rest of it tonight (all 300+ pages…yes some were pictures but still).

I had NO idea what this book really was when I bought it.  I have been intrigued by the political process this year and the first few pages drew me in.  I thought it would have some challenging ideas about politics or make some claims that Jesus would have been a democrate or a member of the green party.  Boy was I wrong. 

The book really challenges much of what America and American’s today stand for (at least in practice).  The first half of the book is full of fairly broad but suprisingly in depth Bible study.  There was all kinds of Bible background and that always helps draw me in.  It emphasis the Biblical principle that God’s people really don’t need a president (or a king).  In the Old Testament God was the king until the people begged God so much that he finally gave them what they wanted (often a dangerous thing).  From there they ran into problem after problem.  It then goes on to talk about Jesus’ coming and the history of the church.

The second half of the book presents story after story of Christian’s living counter culturally.  Not in the standard, we have to adjust our current culture to make it more Christian, way of thinking.  Instead, it presents some VERY radical ideas, at least compared to the way most American Christian’s today think.  Stories of group living, war protests, reclaimed food (taken from the garbage), making your own clothes, etc.  It would be easy to criticize it for pushing back to far (which I’d say it probably does a little bit) but the authors Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw seem to live it out.  It is hard to argue with people who state what they believe and then really live it out to the logical completely.  If more Christians today did that the world would be a very different place.

On a personal level, the book was pretty challenging.  I’m not ready to sell my house and join a collective but knowing that there are people out there living it makes me want to take at least a few more things seriously.  It sounds sad compared to the stories in the book but maybe recycling is important.  Maybe a newer car and the coolest new gadgets aren’t so important.  Maybe just changing the way I think about a few basic things can start to make a difference.

The distinctly Christian question is not about how we should vote but how we should live.  The decision we make in each future election is no more important than how we vote every day.  We vote every day for companies, for people, and we put money toward “campaigns.”  We need to think of the faces behind the scenes.  Who are the masters and Caesars that we put our trust in?  We vote every day with our feet, our hands, our lips and our wallets.

As cheesy as it might sound, my hope is that this year, no matter who I vote for on November 4th, I can find a way to vote for Jesus every day



  1. Thanks, Chris. I’m really enjoying the variety of stuff you throw at us. But especially I liked reading this. Being reminded to make choices every day rather than just getting swept along. Being aware that what I do, what I throw away, who I ignore or don’t ignore … matters. Jesus knew that and lived that way. He certainly would shake things up in Washington.

  2. Thanks for your blog post about Jesus for President! I just wanted to let you know there are 2 videos of Shane speaking about Jesus for President, plus audio clips, visuals, and a blog tour at this link:

    Please feel free to join the blog tour.



  3. […] in China April 16, 2008 A few weeks back I wrote about a book I read recently, Jesus for President.  In it the author talked a lot about the way we really vote for all kinds of things every day.  […]

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