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Jesus the Fool: The Mission of the Unconventional Christ [Paperback]

Michael Frost
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 2010
"One who is strengthened by God professes himself to be an utter fool by human standards, because he despises the wisdom men strive for."Thomas Aquinas"Go and do likewise. . . ."Luke 10:37Missiologist Michael Frost is looking for the real Jesusthe man who didn't care what people thought, worked on the Sabbath, touched the unclean, ate with sinners, and generally contradicted what was acceptable to the leadership of his day. He's searching for the Jesus who embodies all the characteristics of the ancient tradition of the holy foolish paradigm as described and commended by Paul, the church fathers, and the medieval saints. And he finds him. . . . Saintly fools prefer life out in the open in the secular world, intentionally make themselves conspicuous, and consistently defy rules set by society. Frost directs our minds and hearts to the greater story of Jesus. He reminds us that following the Savior is rarely safeand that Christ will continue to redraw our blueprint of what's right and what's righteous; and will persist in calling us to take the alternative, dangerous, ridiculous road walked by wise fools down through the centuries of the church. A muchneeded and longedfor challenge to emergent, contemporary, and traditional gatherings and churches alike.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (1 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801046289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801046285
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,013,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Michael Frost is professor of evangelism and missions at Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and a Baptist minister. He is the author of Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post Christian Culture and the co-author of The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church and Re Jesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 8 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book that brought fresh perspectives and intriguing ideas.
The Divine Fool is a profound concept.
Sometimes I didn't like the author claiming to know what Jesus meant, but his suggestions are very interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a new view 14 Dec 2012
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was blown away by Jesus in this book. Michael Frost really opened up the person of Christ and that has made me really excited. Great book which is easy to read
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4.0 out of 5 stars following God's wisdom.... 19 Aug 2010
Choosing a controversial title is always a good way to encourage people to buy a book and Michael Frost delivered on this uniquely with this book. The holy fool has been an agent of change throughout church history. Therefore the main thrust of his book is to look at Jesus' actions from a different perspective courtesy of reframing life and Lukes' Gospel consistently.

Our view of Jesus is often coloured by our upbringing and by leaders who shaped our early Christian walk. Frost challenges, perhaps at times even assaults these.......and in the aftermath of this, like the author I realized that Jesus was much more than I had been taught. Australian missiologist Frost recounts how Jesus overturned conventional religion by reframing brokenness, forgiveness, our view of others, our attitude to the poor, and our relationship to God. Like Thomas Aquinas said,...."One who is strengthened by God professes himself to be an utter fool by human standards, because he despises the wisdom men strive for." This stimulating book will speak to all, espically the young, to church planters, preachers, and open-minded Christians. Be renewed in your sight of Christ!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides the contextual framework for understanding Jesus and the missional mindset 17 Jun 2010
By J. Taylor - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book I had heard about for a few years but never had the chance to read until just recently, as it was just published in expanded form in the United States for the first time. And what a joy it was to finally get my hands on it! As it happens, I was reading it during a time of particular heartache, but I think my personal situation made the book's words permeate more deeply into my heart. Jesus the Fool is probably one of my favorite books I have ever read about Jesus. Michael Frost has a real gift for communicating (both in person and in his writing), and this particular work provides a necessary, contextual framework for understanding what it means to truly comprehend the real Jesus, a wise "fool" who surprises us at every turn and shows us God's love in unexpected ways through his stories and his actions.

When I first heard Michael Frost speak in person at a conference a few years ago, his most recent book was Exiles, which is another fantastic read and really helped me understand how to be missional in my personal life. His collaborative work with Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, is rightly praised as a manifesto for the larger church of Jesus Christ to be missional in strategic, radically different ways than the attractional approach that has resulted in far too many "megachurches". However, I think Jesus the Fool should be read first, followed by Alan and Michael's really great book ReJesus, because you truly have to understand Jesus in order to be understand the missional mindset. Michael's recurring motif in this book of how Jesus "reframes" our expectations is at once shocking, thought-provoking and ultimately convicting. Every chapter reveals how much Michael Frost loves this wild Messiah named Jesus. And his anecdotes are arresting and memorable as well; one of my favorites is the way he summarizes the book of Hosea, which shows God's relentless pursuit of his people and his devotion to us in spite of our best efforts to disappoint and hurt him.

In the end, I would put Michael's works (as well as those of his frequent collaborator, Alan Hirsch) right up there with N.T. Wright's for understanding God's mission of love and relationship with us, and most importantly, the calling of all who call themselves Christians to reach out beyond themselves and their comfort zones to risk everything for the sake of the gospel. I don't pretend to live up to the calling in any way, and most of the time I kick myself when I reflect on missed opportunities to live a missional life, but books like Jesus the Fool help inspire and convict me to keep at it. This book will change your life if you read it with an open mind.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus the Fool 29 May 2010
By Robert Harrison - Published on
This remains my favourite book after over 15 years. In line with the thought-provoking title, it helps to challenge the way that we look at history's most important person and re-discover who Jesus really was without the box that we may have placed Him in. It points the reader back to the Gospels and views them in the cultural context of First Century Palestine to understand just how profound and even funny the stories we may have heard in Sunday School truly are. Jesus was able to frame things in seemingly absurd and foolish ways so that we might find the truth. I would highly recommended this book to anyone and have done so many times.
5.0 out of 5 stars Radically reframing of Jesus 16 May 2011
By Darren Cronshaw - Published on
I love reading and preaching from a gospel at the beginning of each year, and when it comes to resources for reading afresh and preaching from Luke, one of my favourite books is Mike Frost’s Jesus the Fool which grapples with Jesus’ radical and hope-giving messages.

People have such different pictures of Jesus. There is the bearded lady Jesus from Sunday School halls. Some movies present a vacant-eyed weirdo Jesus, unflappable and deadly serious. Twentieth-century activists portray a revolutionary type. Some postmodern artists have portrayed a more human Christ, to the angst of many churchgoers. Michael Frost offers a fresh read of Luke to reframe Jesus, or more accurately shows how Jesus reframes our views - of our sin, our guilt, our relating to other people and our relationship to God. This reframing comes from seeing and understanding Jesus as a fool, not as unintelligent but like the medieval court jester who mischievously and provocatively undermines pretension and challenges the status quo.

When Jesus came on the Palestinian scene, people longed for a messiah in the image of Judas Maccabeus the underdog revolutionary, or perhaps another John the Baptist ascetic type. Instead Jesus came quietly from Nazareth on the margins of Palestine and shattered people’s expectations with his refusal to take up arms and his eagerness to attend parties.

For his first miracle, he used ceremonial jars to lubricate an almost dry wedding. Many of his encounters with people were over food and drink in the midst of their culture. He was labelled a glutton and a drunkard and criticised for who he ate with. And he asked his disciples to remember him and to embody his life – by eating and drinking! His approach was so different to the expectations of the existing religious and political systems, but he was bringing new life and hope to both.

Jesus embodied an abundant, hope-full and hope-giving life. Luke shows how Jesus encountered people and gave them fresh perspectives. Through conversation and parable, he reframed how people can experience what really is good news:

- forgiveness as gift rather than reward
- community that values relationships over property
- generosity in a world that is stingy
- hospitality in a world of hostility.

Frost paints an inviting yet radical picture. He digs into the cultural background of Luke (drawing especially on Kenneth Bailey), tells inspiring stories and challenges the reader to join Jesus on the road and help others to reframe their views of church and Jesus. Jesus was out-of-the-box outrageous character, seemingly foolish at times and certainly a ‘fool’ in the medieval sense of questioning the status quo. Ash Barker comments, ‘This Jesus is one who may be out of place in boring and predictable churches, but is alive to the margins and true to the Gospels.’

This is a helpful book to read alongside Luke and provides a wealth of background material and stories for preachers, small group leaders and personal reading. But it comes with a warning - it may radically reframe your view of Jesus and how he calls us to relate to the world.

This review was originally published in W!tness, 7 April 2014.
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