Books for Social Justice course

You might be interested in the text books I'm requiring for the Social Justice course at Crown in the Spring of 2012.  *Note: The term "Social Justice" is, unfortunately, froth with controversy because right behavior has not always been held in congruence with right doctrine… and vice versa.  The following books, however, help us realize that true justice cannot be devoid of faith and true faith cannot be devoid of justice.  So our course spends 1/3 of its time on biblical foundations for systemic and personal approaches to justice issues, 1/3 on comprehension of the raw, current global and local justice issues, and 1/3 considering proper personal and missional engagement. 

Primary Resources:

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The answer that changed my life and just might change the world. ~ by Richard Stearns – The President of World Vision discusses how he came to personally discover that caring for the poorest of the poor in the world is not only a kind action, but a necessity of the Gospel.

With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development ~ by John Perkins – John Perkins invites the Church to live out the Gospel through reconciliation between racial and ethnic groups and to examine current systemic structures in light of the Gospel.  Perkins' voice evidences the strong integrity that can only come through the humble experience found in the midst of injustice.

On the Move ~ by Bono – Stemming from his address at a National Prayer Breakfast before the President, world dignitaries, and religious leaders, On the Move creatively packages Bono's speech that transitioned him from his rock star status to that of a world advocate for those living in abject poverty.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity ~ by Ronald J. Sider.  Although I don't require students to buy this textbook, I will be referencing it extensively because it is a convicting, biblically engaging response to some alarming statistics about the wealth of North American Christians in the face of the extreme poverty of most of the people in the world.

Secondary Resources:



E is for Everyone ~ DVD documentary by Unveil Studios – I use this in class a visual introduction to the disparity that exists in our world… and as a means to deconstruct our temptation to pursue Maslow's heirarchical scale.

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical ~ by Shane Claiborne.  Many students have read this book or have at least already been indirectly influenced by Shane Claiborne by the time they take this course.  It is a convicting account of Shane's struggle to integrate into his life Jesus' call to care for others.

Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross ~ by Christian Buckley and Ryan Dobson.  A recent book interviewing significant evangelical leaders (e.g. Francis Chan, Franklin Graham, etc) on concepts related to Jesus' approach to social justice.  This is an interesting and provoking discussion starter.

Sunday Asylum: Being the Church in Occupied Territory ~ DVD and booklet by Stanley Hauerwas and The House Studio ~ I utilize this challenging visual study guide in class to discuss the theological identity of the Church's role in culture and urges us to reassess our motives and actions.

Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development ~ by Bryant Meyers.  Another perspective from World Vision, this staple book discusses the figures, theology, principles and implementation of strategies to overcome social evil in our world.


One Comment

  1. I’ll def. have to check out some of these books – thanks for posting Ken! Are you or others heading down to “The Justice Conference” down in Portland in Feb.? I have a few friends that are making the trip and might join them as well. Also… are you a Stassen & Gushee guy? We’re covering “Kingdom Ethics” in my ethics class this term and am positive you’ve spoke on some of these concepts, such as ‘transforming initiatives,’ no?
    Hope you are doing well!

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