Subversive Jesus (Brief Book Review)
by Harley Voogd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Craig Greenfield, who has lived in the slums of Phnom Penh and the notorious Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, gives us a good example on how to live as the selfless Christian. Many, if not all, of us need to be reminded of this.
I think if Greenfield and I were to sit down and discuss politics and economics, we would disagree on a lot. His great Satan is Empire. Empire, in my opinion, like most things is not evil in and of itself. It becomes evil when corrupted by sin. And, Jesus did not come to save us from the empire, but from sin. But, I agree with Craig, that salvation from sin is not simply going to heaven when you die – salvation is heaven coming to the earth now. And so, we Christians must fight for justice and we must work with the poor now.
Not all of us are called to live as Craig does of course (and he doesn’t say we must either). I too am a Canadian living in Cambodia, and my wife is Cambodian. When we were engaged and looking for a place to live, my wife, who grew up in the slum, suggested buying a house there. There was one for sale for $1200. I considered it and went to look at the place. But, as I stood in the four meter by five meter house, with its tin roof full of holes, concrete floor, and grey brick walls only inches away from the neighbour’s walls allowing for every sound to be heard, I knew there was no way I could live there or raise a family there. We bought land on the outskirts of town and built our own house instead. And, we still worked with the same people we would have if living in the slum anyway. “Find your own Calcutta” as Craig writes in the book.
I met Craig briefly a couple of years ago and have followed his work somewhat, so I know that he truly lives what he teaches and is an authentic authority on working with the poor.
Read the book!