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Untamed (Shapevine) [Paperback]

Alan Hirsch , Debra Hirsch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2010 Shapevine
Discipleship is costly. Are we willing to critique and even challenge much we've been taught for the sake of the kingdom? For this is the radical nature of the discipleship to which Jesus calls us. He did not allow the outside culture to hold him captive; instead he established the kingdom of God and turned the world on its head. Jesus was untamed, and he calls his church to be the same. In this provocative and compelling book, internationally known missiologists Alan and Debra Hirsch overthrow culturized understandings of theology and culture, and cast a vision for a distinctly mission-shaped way of living the Christian life. Written for any Christian serious about issue of discipleship, Untamed covers such topics as church, humans as bearers of the image of God, family life, culture, and sexuality. Through it all they seek to answer the question, how are we to think and live day to day as followers of Jesus? Each chapter ends with suggested practices to help readers begin to live out the book's principles as well as questions for group discussion.

Frequently Bought Together

Untamed (Shapevine) + Faith of Leap, The (Shapevine Missionals) + Rejesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (1 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013430
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alan Hirsch is the founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and co-founder of Shapevine. He is a sought-after speaker and trainer who travels the world extensively sharing his missional church experience. He is the author of The Forgotten Ways and coauthor of ReJesus and The Shaping of Things to Come. Debra Hirsch is a minister at Tribe of L.A., an eclectic bunch of missional artists and vagabonds in downtown L.A. . She is also on the leadership team of Christian Associates International, a church-planting agency working on three continents. The authors live in the Los Angeles area.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging 5 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not finished it yet but it has certainly given me plenty to think about. A bit long winded at times but a real help in thinking about how we do church.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 15 Mar 2013
By martind
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book very useful for the recent Bishop's Certificate in Discipleship I recently took part in. A very useful and informative book
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Espresso Christianity 30 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Untamed" by Alan & Deb Hirsch, if it was coffee would be a double espresso made from dark roasted arabica beans. Its a passionate protest against the decaffinated discipleship that passes for Christianity in much of the West. Buy a copy but don't read it at night it will keep you awake!
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Understeered 15 Mar 2010
By Halo Faire - Published on Amazon.com
There's a lot going for this book in terms of ideas and in trying to capture a missional form of discipleship.But it seems like a lot of effort is needed in sorting out the "chaff" from the "wheat". I did appreciate the efforts and intended applications of the book, overall though it's follow through seems a little off and it results in a mixed bag of ideas.

The foundational opening chapters of Hirsch's book I found good and thought provoking.But it's when they then develop from that truth, that things get a little subjective and disappointing. Untamed says that the focus of all faith and discipleship is found in the person of Jesus. How we relate to God and to each other must be from a Messianic viewpoint. They explain (very well in my opinion) that the trouble in the church is that there is too much subjectivity about Jesus, we remake Him in our own image. Therefore we must go back to a 'Biblical' definition of the nature of Christ to have a "true" picture. Hirsch uses the "Shema" (Hear Oh Israel) statement of Jesus' teaching for their foundational truth , i.e. You must love God with all you heart and you neighbor as yourself. So far so good. Then "untamed" goes on in the next chapters to relate that to becoming disciples and followers of this Jesus.

But rather then and go look at the "biblical" definitions of what Discipleship should too look like. The Hirsch's use their personal walk of faith as a methodology for working out the faith. Which is very subjective and reliant of their personal "church' experiences in Australia and elsewhere. But doesn't the New testament in it's background and teaching gives us a clear definitive pictures of what discipleship should look like already ? Otherwise what we can get, is a picture of the body of Christ as we came to faith and our personal preferences in it's style. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying, the expression of our faith can be according to our cultural and spiritual upbringing. There is no "accounting" for taste. But in the matter of living under the Messiah in His Kingdom, there's defined "life" boundaries and methods of evangelism. For example, prayer must be one of important foundations for discipleship growth. As Jesus not only "role modeled" praying, taught on the contents of a prayer life, but also gave commands to pray. Instead what we read in "Untamed" is a series of "straw men" arguments and discussions about Christian Community. What would have been better is a looking of what Biblical discipleship is defined as, what are the foundational important aspects to get right and then application of these to our fellowships and churches.

In the rest of the chapters then, I found I was reading a "how to" book of stories and personal value judgments of the Hirsch's. These, like all similar "how to " writings, can be are very hit and miss. Some good, some bland and some just deeply held opinions. Which is a pity, as it seems like the authors have the ability to define a brand of discipleship on a more biblical grounding. Whilst reading "Untamed" I also got the impression that they are trying to reinvent the " missional wheel " .A lot of what they write about was also explored in the early 1970's by the "Jesus" movement. Of wanting to relate the gospel to then hippie generation and "scene".

There were similarly many "Jesus Freaks' of the day who needed to be discipled and brought into the Faith. And it was through missional trial and sometimes cultural error; that they learned to build not on their on "subjective" prevailing sand, but on the eternal biblical Rock of ages.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars milk and honey 7 April 2010
By Patrick O - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Over the last couple of decades the church in the West has been going through a significant transition away from established assumptions of Christendom in which there are cultural expectations of church involvement. Indeed, this realization has arisen long after the reality in the West has broken down many, if not most, peoples involvement with churches. It became clear that the church in the West was in need of a new stance, a missional stance, in which faithful disciples of Christ no longer waited in sheltered enclaves for outsiders to peek in and join up. This involves a new stance towards involvement in this wider society, bringing the light of Christ out and among the people. This goes well beyond church growth strategies, and may be just the opposite. It also goes well beyond evangelism, as a renewed reading of the Gospels and the whole Scriptures suggest a call to Christ's followers to be involved with others in significant, holistic ways.

With this dawning, missional realization the last couple of decades, and especially the last five or six years, have brought a large number of helpful texts and teachers who are asking significant questions and have helped contribute very useful guidance as those in church continues to stumble its way through this transition. I have read a number of these books, and indeed I've begun specializing in these approaches, focusing my attention on the impact on deeper aspects of theology that comes along with this renewed embrace of a holistic discipleship. I've been involved in churches, and I'm now working on an advanced degree in theological studies and church history. It is with all this practical and theoretical involvement behind me that I come to this book.

And with this all in mind, I consider Untamed to be the best book on contemporary missional theology and practice I've read.

I do not say this lightly, nor do I say this with a predisposition to freely applauding the many missional books that have been written. Most, for me, have offered useful ideas but each seems to have at least one major flaw that keeps me from being wholeheartedly supportive--and often leads me to grumbling. Indeed, this grumbling of what I read over the years was a big factor in me going back to pursue more study of theology in its ancient and contemporary expressions. I was not finding anything that seemed to be truly balanced in reflecting Christ's call in our lives.

Untamed finds this balance. This is not to say Untamed is the last word on missional theology. Indeed, I would say the opposite. Instead, in Untamed Alan and Deb Hirsch have combined their practical experience in a variety of very missional settings with their deep considerations on life with God. With this they provide what I see as an extremely helpful, constructive starting place for continued development of practices, as well as continued development of theology that reflects more deeply on these practices.

A lot of missional books are filled with angst or worry or point to questions without leading to substantive answers. Untamed, however, moves past this and points towards significant points of orientation that allow a renewing, freeing life in community with Christ and others.

Two points stand out especially to me, though there are many, many others worth noting. The first is the Hirsch's perspective on holiness which embraces the idea of holiness in a renewed way, one that acknowledges this call of God in our lives as it is reflected in Scriptural. The Holy God is not the distant God, but the one who lived among us, walked in the streets, runs towards us, died for us. The holiness of God embraces humanity, seeking us, yearning for us to find our whole identity in him, and in doing this freeing us to become truly who we were made to be.

The second emphasis, so utterly rare in these types of books, is the specific discussion of the Holy Spirit. This discussion renews a perspective on the Spirit who is God's power and presence with us, bringing us each to wholeness with God and in community. By bringing in the Holy Spirit to the discussion, the Hirsch's avoid the oft common works-oriented demands of so many ministry books that emphasis a call of God, then pressure the reader to perform. Instead, the Hirsch's are at every point, beginning to the end, emphasizing the work of God who empowers us, freeing us, inviting us to join in this work as we are empowered and led by the Spirit. This creates a refreshing renewal of theology and practice that does not put a heavy weight on already tired souls, but instead delights as it points to how we can best live in the new reality that God brings to our lives in this world.

If I were to recommend one book of missional theology--or indeed one book on living the life Christ calls us to live in this present context--I would point to Untamed as being a the book to start with. It refreshes as it reorients, it enlightens as it challenges, it brings new perspective to old stories, all while staying more faithful to the whole testimony of Scripture than most any ministry book I've ever read. And it does this while being immensely readable.

Get this book. Share it with your friends. Read it through to get a sense of the whole, then read it through more slowly and reflect on each point, using the Hirsch's insights to help ignite your own study of Scripture, your own personal relationship with the Triune God, and your participation in the community of God's people. This is not a definitive, comprehensive work. It's a starting place. But it's starting us with a holistic, wonderful, renewing perspective on God's grand work in this world. Something we all should study and develop more, each in our own settings.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wild and Dangerous Read ~ Live UNTAMED Lives! 9 Mar 2010
By John M. Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's dangerous to label a person as a prophet with all the baggage this word comes with.

However, I completely agree with the several well-respected endorsements of Christian authors/thinkers who call Alan Hirsch, and his wife Debra, prophets of our time.

Untamed, Alan Hirsch's (along with his wife Debra) latest book, is a prophetic call to a wild, dangerous, and missional lifestyle modeled after the radical Jesus. It is a much-needed voice calling Jesus' bride, the Church, back to its original intention: To make radical disciples of Jesus.

In other words, "it's time to get serious about discipleship."

Few people have influenced my life more than Alan Hirsch. His previous books, ReJesus, The Forgotten Ways, and The Shaping of Things to Come, have all been extremely influential in calling people (especially me) back to a more wild, missional, generous, and challenging form of Christianity -- all centered and focused on the person, life, death, and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Hirsch writes (and speaks and lives) with a unique voice. It is all about the radical, the dangerous, the wild, the uncomfortable, the challenge, the missional. He doesn't write liberally or conservatively. He doesn't possess an emerging or a Calvinist or a Reformed or a liberal or even a MISSIONAL (a huge buzz-word right now) agenda. He addresses tough issues compassionately and fairly. He doesn't attempt to fit his agenda into God, Jesus, or Scripture.

Hirsch has one agenda: Jesus Christ.

His secondary agenda? To get people back to centering their lives NOT around Church, Protestantism, Liberalism, Emergent-ism, or anything else OTHER than JESUS CHRIST.

Consider some of the following quotes from Untamed:

"God's love is all-embracing & requires an all-exclusive relationship - he simply will not share us with other gods."
"Worship is...a dangerous act, because to truly encounter the Holy in the act of worship IS TO CHANGE."
"Every single aspect of the way we live our lives needs to be realigned around the person of Jesus and His lordship."
"You simply cannot be a disciple without being a missionary - a sent one."
"We are meant to live wild and dangerous lives, flying above the heads of our generation, calling them to the authenticity of what they were created to do."

In Untamed, Hirsch addresses the many ways Christians have abused and misunderstood the Trinity: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He focuses on ways we've misunderstood or failed to influence Culture, the Church, and the "Family." In the final chapters, he lets Jesus have the last word on The Self and Sexuality, and how this compels us to be missionaries.

In conclusion, I highly recommend reading anything by Hirsch. Although I don't know him personally, I do know that he is a prophetic and much-needed voice for the Christian church. Any of his works, including now Untamed, are necessary and highly impacting reads for anyone longing to see Christianity return to its original intention: to be fully-made, radical disciples of Jesus. And now, adding his wife's voice Debra to this work, has given another adrenaline shot to his writing. My wife and I have been influenced by the way they live their lives (which again, we only know through hearing them speak and reading their books).

If you are attempting to figure out who this Jesus guy is all about, read Untamed.
If you are tired of boring and predictable Christianity, this book is for you.
If you are wondering how to move a community of people from passive consumers to fully-made disciples of Jesus, read this book.
If you are longing for a voice to a more passionate form of following Jesus Christ, read Untamed.
If you are afraid you've sold-out to a more domesticated version of Christianity, read this BOOK!

"The true Jesus is not safe and sterile, conflicted by a mission and a passive kindness -- He never carried the party line." (Neil Cole)
The Hirsches respond: "His was a wild holiness that calls to account all who refuse to deal with God, preferring instead to follow the lame dictates of a religion of ethical codes and pious rituals."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those not just looking for missional theology, but praxis 16 Aug 2012
By Cheri Cowell - Published on Amazon.com
I heard Alan and Deb speak on this book and knew their story and life practice to be genuine, forward-thinking, and somewhat outside the box. I was not disappointed to find the same in their book. This book is challenging for those of us in mainline denominations with out structures and hierarchies, but it is also freeing because the Hirsches aren't talking about a new program, but a way of thinking that leads to different choices. They don't leave us hanging without practical ways to apply these new thoughts, but the application given is not an action-plan but a window into what this way of thinking might look like in this particular context. I recommend this book for any church leader who wants to see the church live into her calling, to follow Christ, to become untamed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book 11 Nov 2011
By Judith Goodrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every person who calls themself a Christian should read this book by Alan and Debra Hirsch. They have a unique perspective, and whether or not you agree with what they present, this book will make you think.
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