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on 9 March 2011
This book marks a revival in the field of liberation theology. It demonstrates how the church, especially the emerging church, can learn from a 'theology of the poor'. It deals in practical ways how Christians can respond to issues of conflict, climate change and the increasing global poverty gap.

It looks at how churches can respond to their own contexts, and examines how in the Northern English city of Bradford, one church has dealt with urban regeneration, far right demonstrations, sanctuary seekers, guerrilla gardening and a host of other issues. It links local and global contexts and throws a challenge to all people of faith to work with their neighbours to build fairer and more just communities.

Many of those connected with this church have been arrested over the last 5 years, especially campaigning against the war in Iraq/Afghanistan and Britains nuclear weapons industry. It is at times funny (the pillow fight with zombies at Aldermaston Nuclear Base!) devastating (the deportation of asylum families) and uplifting (with many inspiring stories and projects such as the Street Angels project to reduce violence in city centres)

I hope it helps to restore the significance of liberation theology, and rebuilds confidence to tackle the big issues of our day.
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on 8 March 2011
I read a blog recently that simply stated `people don't forget stories, they forget facts`. It seems that in writing A Just Church, Chris Howson had this in mind.

A Just Church is an immensely readable story of the life of a small church community seeking to live out what they believe.

The book begins by outlining the theology on which the church operates, highlighting the Activist Christ in the Gospels and touching on the core elements of liberation theology. Following this brief introduction the reader is taken on a journey through campaigns, events and activities and the joys and frustrations of the people involved.

What is great about this book is that it enthuses rather than intimidates. I was expecting to feel a little inadequate reading about all the great things this small church has achieved in the last 5 years. This community has done great things but often through small gestures - much like Jesus describing how the Kingdom of God is - the smallest mustard seed growing into something much bigger.

Chris also provides at the end of each chapter some practical ideas for trying something similar yourself using an easy to remember model of EARS - Education, Action, Reflection and Sustaining.

Barbara Glasson in her afterword describes this book as joyful - it really is that, I found myself grinning as I read it on the train! It is also a clarion call to the church to recognise that a core part of its role is to stand up for the poor and challenge injustice wherever we find it.

At the launch of this book at the Waterstones store in Bradford, the manager said two things about the book which really ring true. Firstly, that this is an important book for Bradford - it portrays a positive image of what the people of Bradford can do when they work together. Secondly, the manager said that Chris was the first `proper Christian' he had ever met. You may not agree with all of Chris' politics or approaches but you can't deny that he is a man of integrity, truly seeking to `practice what he preaches'.

This is a book to enthuse and challenge, I recommend it to you!

Now, I just need to work out what I am going to do in response to the challenges Chris lays out...
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on 17 February 2014
The e-book turned out to be more of the author's experiences in his home area, Bradford, and his experiences with 'liberation' organisations and protest groups, which were described in detail. I would have preferred a more generalised overview of how Liberation Theology could be applied. Nevertheless, the book's title definitely describes its content, something that does not always happen. I was pleased that I did not purchase the paperback.
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on 21 June 2012
So often we receive great theory from some people - but can't 'picture' how it works in reality
or we see great work - but wonder what the philosophy is behind it.
In this book, Howson neatly splits the book into two halves : theory first (with some illustrations)
then practical outworkings of how it has worked.
Beginning with some tenets of Liberation theology, particularly contextualisation, Howson shows how a christian community can respond and indeed shape the communities and structures around it by employing both simple actions and risky projects. Supporting the weak and voiceless, seeking partners, courageous challenging of the 'powers' all proceed from a clearer understanding of Jesus of Nazareth heavily influenced by Ched Myer's work, particularly Binding the Strong Man : a socio-political interpratation of Mark's gospel.
The refreshing icing throughout the book is Howson's clear honesty about the difficulty of the road travelled and his thankfulness at the consistent reliance on 'God incidences'which enabled Justchurch to emerge and achieve so much.
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on 13 December 2012
A challenging book, presenting a theology of liberation and justice through real examples from the church on the ground. You may not agree with it all but you will be stimulated to think about the issues.
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on 19 November 2012
I read Chris' book as soon as it came out and had finished the first reading of it 24 hours later. I just couldn't put it down such is the pace of story and depth of reflection.

This book has useful tools for reflection and experiment at the end of each chapter. It's a perfect book for group study and discussion. It let's us know that story-rich Christianity is still being lived in Britain today. Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus
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on 2 July 2012
Read this book and then pass it on!
Neither the cover or the title encouraged me to pick up or read this book. After it was recomended by a friend I did read it...no devoured it. What a passionate account of living justly and in a loving way. This is a book not of words but of action. Howson is a remarkable man and his stories of his experiences in Bradford have challenged me to get my own head out of the sand and stand up for what I believe.
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on 19 February 2015
Chris Howson's book had me hooked from the start. The activist nature of his faith and his ministry are both provocative and challenging. I didn't always agree with the assumptions he was making about how Christians should respond to the world around them. However, a definite hat tip to a courageous practitioner.
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on 27 September 2014
All as expected :)
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