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Jesus Takes A Side

Embracing the Political Demands of the Gospel

 
Jesus sides with the oppressed. Will you?

In a world divided by left and right, red and blue, many Christians have upheld a “third way” approach in pursuit of moderation, harmony, and unity. But if Christians are more concerned with divisiveness than with faithfulness, we have failed to grasp the gospel’s political demands. We do not see Jesus taking a “third way” between oppressor and oppressed. And as followers of Jesus, neither should we.

For the sake of our faith, for the sake of the least of these among us, and for Christ’s sake, Christians need to stand firmly for truth, peace, and justice. In Jesus Takes a Side, author Jonny Rashid lays out the political demands of following Jesus and offers strategies for how to engage politics practically and prophetically—even if it means taking a side.

 
Reviews

Jesus Takes a Side is almost jarringly political, saying out loud what we tend to talk about among ourselves or, if we’re especially brave, write in carefully worded social media posts. Rashid dismantles sacred cows like taking the ‘third way, ‘ unity, bipartisanship, consensus and compromise, and ‘bothsidesism, ‘ arguing convincingly that they ultimately protect the status quo and don’t upset the norms like Jesus did throughout his ministry. Using familiar stories and teachings from Jesus’ life, Rashid makes the case that Jesus didn’t meet anyone in the middle; there is no third way between the oppressor and the oppressed.” -HARRIET SIDER BICKSLER, editor of Shalom! A Journal for the Practice of Reconciliation and editor for the Brethren in Christ Historical Society

Jesus Takes a Side presents a compelling rebuttal to the tired mantra ‘I’m not a Republican or a Democrat–just a follower of Jesus.’ This third way politics of neutrality works for the privileged, but wreaks havoc on the marginalized. Rashid draws on Scripture and his pastoral experience to animate a God who sides with the oppressed and who invites the church to do the same. A must-read for ministering to this moment.” -DREW STRAIT, assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Jesus Takes a Side reminds readers of the church’s central call to liberation that necessitates a resolute stance. This book is for all who are weary from passive centrism that fails to penetrate the gospel’s imperative of centering the least of these, which is undeniably political. Jonny Rashid lays to rest amenable quietism while resuscitating Jesus’ message of unequivocal preference for society’s marginalized in a way that will leave readers empowered and revived.” -ROSE LEE-NORMAN, formation pastor at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis and adjunct assistant professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University

“In Jesus Takes a Side, Jonny Rashid calls Christians to recognize the political implications of the gospel of the Jesus they proclaim, a politics that centers the marginalized, liberates the oppressed, and calls us to take a side.” -MATTHEW THIESSEN, associate professor of religious studies at McMaster University and author of Jesus and the Forces of Death

“In Jesus Takes a Side, Jonny Rashid skillfully invites Christians to follow the Jesus who took the side of the marginalized–every time. In an era when being ‘nonpolitical’ has become a path for many Christians to keep so-called peace, Rashid challenges us to move beyond the temptations of ‘bothsidesism’ and into lives of prophetic witness. You may not agree with every theological or political position Rashid takes, but make no mistake about it: this book will provoke important conversations about what it means to follow Jesus in any political system. Highly recommended!” -KURT WILLEMS, pastor of Brentview Baptist Church in Calgary and author of Echoing Hope

“In his new book, Jonny Rashid moves his readers from abstraction and politeness to the place where Jesus stands, waiting to welcome us home. Through biblical interpretation, stories of being a pastor, and his experience as an Arab American, Rashid cuts through fears of conflict and polarization to expose the difficult and beautiful work of the gospel. With prophetic witness and embodied hope, Rashid ignites in readers a faith that draws us all into freedom.”-MELISSA FLORER-BIXLER, author of How to Ha ve an Enemy and lead pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church

“In our day and age, it is easy to lose sight of the real Jesus and how we, ourselves, become advocates with him. Jonny Rashid’s Jesus Takes a Side leads us straight to Jesus and makes clear the path we are to walk with him. Rashid’s book is refreshing to read and substantial in content. I enjoyed it immensely. -RANDY S. WOODLEY, author, activist, and co-sustainer at Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice

About the Author

Jonny Rashid has served as pastor for Circle of Hope, an Anabaptist cell church, for over ten years. He is father to Elaine and Agatha, and married to Kristen. He lives on Lenape land, colonized as Philadelphia, in the northern part of the city. He moved to Philadelphia from Lebanon, PA, where his parents emigrated from Egypt. He is an abolitionist and a housing activist. He is an avid home cook (find him on Instagram @foodpastor) and a perpetually disappointed Philadelphia sports fan. He spends too much time on Twitter, blogs at jonnyrashid.com, and hosts Circle of Hope’s Resist and Restore podcast. He studied journalism, education, and history at Temple University and completed his Master of Divinity at Palmer Theological Seminary.

Review & Commentary