Outlandish: An Unlikely Messiah, a Messy Ministry, and the Call to Mobilize
By Derek Penwell
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Jesus did everything wrong.
Ministering to the wrong people. Expecting outrageous commitment from his followers. Questionable teaching methods. A humiliating end followed by an improbable surprise ending. And then, somehow, inspiring millions to attempt to change the world in his name.
Outlandish: An Unlikely Messiah, a Messy Ministry, and the Call to Mobilize shows how Jesus's ministry flew in the face of conventional wisdom but succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Fast-forwarding two thousand years, learn from the political, social, and organizational lessons of Jesus's radically different ministry to help change the world today.
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"Derek Penwell's Outlandish is so articulate-so funny!-that I found myself reading passages aloud to church-going friends. But when you read this book, don't let the engaging humor mask the profound seriousness of the argument: that even we can be part of the communities of resistance through which God can change the world. Visionary, yet down-to-earth. Theologically perceptive, and highly practical. This is a book the church needs to read."―Michael Kinnamon, Former General Secretary, National Council of Churches
"How does a 21st century Christian embody the call of an ‘unlikely messiah’ in the ‘messy ministry’ of mercy and justice? This is the meta-question that Penwell seeks to answer in Outlandish. Drawing on his personal experiences as a follower of Jesus and an ordained clergyperson, Penwell provides a straightforward presentation of what made Jesus an ‘unlikely messiah.’ Written for lay readers, Penwell offers a basic approach to the gospels and ways that Christians can respond to Jesus’ ‘call to mobilize.’ It is an easy read about a way of living that is anything but easy."―Lisa W. Davison, Phillips Theological Seminary
"Penwell is reminding us in Outlandish of the who, why, where, and how of Jesus's ministry. Providing contemporary examples of how to show up as a Christian with organizations like Adapt, a disabilities advocacy organization, and against violent, oppressive, and racist political structures, Penwell has a powerful message for Christians: Jesus invites us into a new form of politics that radically restructures our relationships and notions of community. The invitation includes a radical welcoming of those who have been excluded or vilified, especially by white Christianity, and to stand up to and face the violent members among our ranks. This book is a necessary read for those who are moving their own mindsets and their community from silence and complicity in oppressive structures to advocates, justice workers, healers, and dare we say, pastors in the way of Jesus!"―Patrick B. Reyes, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives, Forum for Theological Exploration