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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for our time, 9 Sep 2013
By 
Simon Cross (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Paperback)
This is a book about the pursuit of justice, by someone who makes it his business to do just that.

The author, no stranger to non violent direct action (or its consequences), writes with passion and prophetic vision about how we might go about effecting change in our society. The fact that a quick web search will find references to how he practices what he (literally) preaches only goes to reinforce this point.

While this is a personal book, it's also a deeply Christian book, rooted in the Christ tradition of 'The Kingdom of God' - Justice, Peace and Joy, as you might expect from someone who spends his day to day as a parish priest. But it's also a text for all - and deserves a reading and rereading. It's simultaneously an easy read (because of the author's eloquence) and an uneasy read (because it reminds us who we are supposed to be).

An ideal work for use in a study group, a social justice group, or just for anyone who half remembers the clarion call of Christ to fight against oppression and injustice, without falling in to the trap of using the ways of the world to do so.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeking Justice and speaking sense, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Paperback)
In his enormously important book, `Seeking Justice', Keith Hebden doesn't try to convince me, as so many others do, that God is an indefinable something which wants to love me and know me on a personal level. He doesn't give me that awful phrase about how the duty of every Christian is to `share God's love' (surely a phrase like no other in its ability to cause division and confusion). Instead, Hebden provides twelve compelling and realistically challenging chapters on the mechanics of Compassionate Resistance. I'll leave you to unwrap the understanding and the implications for yourself but suffice to say that, at points, his writing made me experience some of the enthusiastic fervour which I usually witness from a safe distance, as belonging in evangelical circles.

A pivotal, although almost incidental, line from `Seeking Justice' is found on p. 54,

`Moral dilemmas, after all, are a luxury only those with the space to debate enjoy.
Powerless people often are too busy surviving to moralize.'

For me, Hebden here sums up exactly what is wrong with an awful lot of modern church. So it gives me a huge amount of hope that he, as a young and popular Anglican priest, feels able to point this out at a time when, more and more, official Christianity seems to allow itself to be defined principally as the adherence to a set of beliefs (which are themselves not remotely agreed upon) and very little else of much singularity or substance.

There can be no doubt that, in the 168 pages which make up `Seeking Justice', Hebden goes a tremendously long way towards getting us back on track. See, for example, his marvellously perceptive and ambitious;

Identifying, and identifying with, the marginalized is a long-term and vital role of compassionate activists in thwarting the system in its attempt to pass the buck for its
sins onto others. (p. 84)

And what is more, as he details, Hebden practices what he preaches; and inspires the reader to do the same.

If I have one criticism of `Seeking Justice' it is the way Hebden occasionally throws into his text abstract phrases which he doesn't define or expand. E.g. he talks about,

`what Jesus meant by the present and to-be-expected compassion of God' (p.93)

when I do not think the words `the compassion of God' appear in the New Testament. He also says things like,

`finding God in the street-talk and the street in the God-talk transforms our vision of both God and society' (p.95)

and vaguely refers to

`the abundance of God' (p.127) and similar.

Words like these certainly have a good ring about them, but what do they mean? Hebden says virtually nothing at all about God (of the Bible); about why He matters or is relevant to the `Seeking Justice' debate. For me, the way we talk about God is crucial in keeping us focussed and fit for purpose. Having said that, however, it is abundantly clear on every page. that Hebden understands that God (of the Bible) is all about marginal politics. Consequently, `Seeking Justice' is, without doubt, the most encouraging book I've read in 2012.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant theological challenge to Capitalism, 2 May 2014
By 
Reverend D. C. Macdonald (Derby, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Paperback)
This is the book I have been waiting for! It is a clear and brilliant analysis of what Capitalism is really doing to our way of life, and how the quality of all our lives is diminished by Capitalism pernicious agenda. But this is all firmly rooted in a clear Gospel imperative for the poor. Read this and be prepared to change your politics for good!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Religion, 16 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Paperback)
Keith Hebden is an Anglican priest who doesn't require one "to believe six impossible things before breakfast" (to quote Lewis Carroll) - he doesn't give a damn about liturgy and is more likely to ask one to draw the "angel" of a church than to expect one to know when to genuflect - always remembering that Keith's "angels" are messages (meanings), rather than golden boys with feathery wings. Taking inspiration from Gandhi as well as Jesus, Hebden focusses on the difference between shalom ("deep and wide peace") and pacification in the interests of oppressive regimes.

The whole book is centred on the need to fight for justice, human and natural empathy and the concomitant need to demolish oppressive power structures. It works through a range of important contemporary issues, illuminating them with biblical insights, but he knows the danger of reading the Bible at "face value" because "we hear our own assumptions reflected back at us".

Dr Hebden knows the importance of writing simply, but there is no question of his message being simplistic or condescending; he is practical, up-to-date and deeply committed. He draws on parish experience and research among India's poor Christians as well as wide knowledge of literature. This is a book that can be read by people "of all religions and none", but it will infuriate those who think that the Anglican Church should still be "the Tory Party at prayer".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New author but very promising, 15 Feb 2013
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Excellent book, very thought provoking.
Would be good to be used as a study guide in Churches
A chance to change society
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keith is leading the way, 3 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Paperback)
This is an exploration and for that reason is incomplete, but I am sure the writer wants us to make our own discoveries. He wants the reader to engage in spiritual adventure, looking at natural and supernatural dimensions to working for justice. Another step on the path Walter Wink set me on.
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Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus
Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus by Keith Hebden (Paperback - 25 Jan 2013)
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