John Perkins, historic African American leader rocks the Jubilee conference

Well, we got the rented truck unloaded from Jubilee and we’ve now got dozens of boxes underfoot and even more in the garage.  Our ears are still ringing and every muscle aches, but it is the sort of exhaustion that comes from very good work.  We were thrilled to be selling books to young adults, students, scholars, activists, fellow-vendors and leaders, and nearly as thrilled to be up front,byron on stage.jpg speaking with passion and joy about the duty to read widely, study hard, learn much, as we become savvy ambassadors, translating the message of the reign of God to a post-Christian culture. I’ll give a more full report later, but the chance to cross paths with prominent authors, old friends, great students, and to do several workshops and talks and book announcement–well, whewie, what a few fabulous days! 

crowd.jpgWhat a great Kingdom vision Jubilee holds up, and what honor CCO staff and Jubilee volunteers manifest in running this innovative and electric gathering.  Years ago, when Episcopalian minister Sam Shoemaker insisted that someday Pittsburgh would be famous for God, and then worked to nurture Bill W. (founder of AA and the small group movement) and a lively faith-at-work ministry in that city of steel, he set the stage for a lay-oriented, ecumenical renewal that lead to the formation of Coalition for Christian Outreach and its campus ministry.  It took some Dutch Calvinists and Francis Schaeffer to deepen the intellectual vision of integrated Christian scholarship for Christian students, and it took preachers like Tony Campolo reminding us to live out this “Christ across the curriculum” worldview in tangible acts of service, justice, and peacemaking, but the CCO has seemed to have followed its calling, living out the DNA of its unique organizational convictions and traditions.  The CCOs Jubilee event has long been an interesting blend of thoughtful stuff about vocation, calling, and careers, and social transformation, missional service, and justice-advocacy.  In and through and for Christ Jesus, ordinary folks take up their high callings to be agents of Christ’s ways in the university, the work-world, third places of the arts and culture, and as citizens and neighbors.  Jubilee teaches ’em how to rock this world, and we are thrilled.

There is one man who has been a regular every so often at Jubilee over the years, and if not at Jubilee, at several Pittsburgh-area churches.  Or, at CCO-related colleges through-out the mid-Atlantic. One man surely stands out as having helped CCO, especially, with issues of race and class, and called us to make multi-ethnic ministry an important aspect of our work.  There have been others, but Dr. John Perkins, founder of Voice of Calvary (in Mendenhall Mississippi) has been more than a friend to the CCO, he has been a supporter, one to consult with and challenge and provoke us, a leader among leaders, who has insisted that the gospel be worked out in ways that show God’s plan for reconciliation. 

You can read more about Dr. Perkin’s truly remarkable life here, here, or about his work here, You should
John Perkins.jpg know that he has not only been supportive of the CCO and has left his mark on their work for more than 30 years,  but that he once again this year gave of himself to inspire and equip the young adults at the Jubilee conference.  As one of my very best friends, Ken Heffner, of Calvin College, put it, after hearing him preach Sunday morning, “I’ve been listening to John Perkins for 34 years and he just keeps getting better and better.”  His radical call to justice, his confidence in the vast implications of grace, his insistence that race and class divisions are worldly and can be overcome by Christ’s cross, and that God is about the business of reconciling all things….well, it just doesn’t get much better. This message was full of power, conviction, anointed by God’s Spirit, and delivered by a man who bears the marks of suffering and dedication.  Dr. Perkins honored us once again at Jubilee, and it reminded me of the many times I’ve heard him or that we have been with him.  He has been one of the top heroes and models for Beth and I and we wanted you to know. Friends of H&M should know of John Perkins.

I will be honest, too: Perkins spoke at Jubilee late Sunday morning, and after a spectacular (and pretty frenetic) week-end, the dazzled students had little time to get back to the book display to buy his books.  So, we have a lot left over.

SO, here is what we’d love to do.  To honor Dr. John Perkins, the CCO, and this invitation to a wholistic vision of a Christ-centered multi-faceted reconciliation, we will offer a buy-one-get-one deal.  Here are three books that we are offering, while supplies last, of the honorable social reformer, civil rights leader, and Christian activist, John Perkins. They are great books.

let justice roll.jpgLet Justice Roll Down  John Perkins (Regal) $19.99  Here is what it says on the front of this newly re-issued edition of his classic biography, “His brother died in his arms, shot by a deputy marshal…he was beaten and tortured by the sheriff and State Police…but through it all he returned good for evil, love for hate, progress for prejudice and brought hope to black and white alike.”   Anyone who thinks this is overly sentimental, or less than fully Biblical religion should know that this is clearly about the kind of social action that should come out of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.  It is about forming visible community development that is creating new models for black housing, economic independence, education and health care, but is rooted, as he puts it, in “only the power of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and the glory of His resurrection.”  One of the great biographies of a Christian leader of the 20th century, a leader born of share-croppers in Mississippi who returned there to work in a Christ-centered, radical ministry, who has earned honorary PhDs and remains true to his founding vision.

with justice for all.jpgWith Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development (revised and expanded) $17.99  John has done decades of work, forming organizations, models, networks and ministries around the themes of this powerful, pivotal book, the work that explains his three-fold call to transformation.  Put simply, this is his development of what he calls “the three Rs—Relocation, Reconciliation, Redistribution.”    This is an outstandi
ng book for anyone interested in social change or wholistic ministry, for anyone or any church who has interest in a missional vision or in service to those in need.  His updated chapter on “redistribution” especially is very important for our current “common good” public debates, and a lovely edition includes an afterward by his daughter on how a younger generation is being embraced in a new decade. Truly, truly outstanding.

follow me to freedom.jpgFollow Me to Freedom: Leading as an Ordinary Radical John Perkins & Shane Claiborne (Regal) $14.99  I raved about this when it came out, and think it is a gem of a read.  Here, we have this African American sage elder and this pugnacious hipster white kid, both of whom share a passion for serving the poor and working to see God’s Kingdom come as the church becomes a serious crucible for transforming and healing broken lives.  As the baton is passed from one leader to another, this book of conversations (literally) ranges from leadership to followership, from being faithful in service to learning how to endure over the long haul.  There is some nice stuff on prayer and some great humor as the prankster Shane tweeks his older, black brother.  This is a fun, funny, and altogether interesting book for anybody interested in what these two important author activists have to say to one another, and to us all.  Love it.

 Let Justice Roll Down
 With Justice for All  or Follow Me to Freedom
absolutely free
just tell us which you prefer as your complimentary copy
20% off

mention the John Perkins blog special deal at our secure order form at the website

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