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Shaking the System: What I Learned from the Great American Reform Movements [Hardcover]

By Tim Stafford (Author)
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Item Number 59496  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   171
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.6" Width: 5.86" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.73 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830834362  
EAN  9780830834365  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Looks at the roots of four great American social reform movements and explores the influence of faith-based communities on prohibition, abolition, women's suffrage, and the struggle for civil rights.

Publishers Description
Saving the environment. Helping the poor. Stopping abortion. Feeding the hungry. Increasing fair trade. Eliminating pornography. Ending racism. Thousands are active today seeking to make the world a better place. It is a great American tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Sometimes such reform movements were very effective and sometimes they weren't. What made the difference? How come some grand ideals were fulfilled and others faded away? Tim Stafford explores the patterns of successful and failed reform movements to highlight what activists today can learn. How can activists keep from burning out? How can they avoid the lure of violence? What are ways to engage politics that are at once practical and ethical? The great American reform movements of the last two centuries have an abundance of down-to-earth guidance to offer on these and other vital questions. Tim Stafford weaves the stories of the abolitionist movement, the temperance movement, the suffrage movement and the civil rights movement into this readable and practical study with application to those today who are motivated by the gospel to make a difference in the world.

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More About Tim Stafford

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tim Stafford is a lifelong professional writer with more than twenty published books. Tim serves as senior writer for Christianity Today and has published hundreds of articles in that magazine as well as in other publications. He lives with his wife, Popie, in Santa Rosa, California.

Tim Stafford has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Hertfordshire, UK.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State   [1182  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Interesting, but....  Jan 14, 2009
You can get details in the previous two reviews. This book is interesting, but while being short, it still seems to move slow in what it covers. I'll admit that I didn't make it to the end of the book, but I did force myself through most of it.

The book came recommended via church and the concept of Shaking the System is fantastic. I think more of us need to shake the system on a number of key topics ranging from poverty to stopping the vocal minority. It just seemed to me that while the details of this book were interesting, it simply didn't maintain my interest enough. If I had wanted to know more about the past reform movements, then this would have been 5 stars all the way. I wanted to know more about shaking the system today and what can be done based on what the author had learned to shake today's systems. I didn't feel this came through as well as it could in the book.
Shaking the System  Jun 18, 2008
Stafford's book is a helpful reminder that Christianity should be making an impact on our culture in positive ways as well as a warning of the dangers of pursuing cultural reform. Idealism can prevent us from seeing the complexity of culture as well as the complexity and weaknesses of human nature which can make our reform efforts difficult. Without a realistic view of such complexities, we can easily become disillusioned and stop working for the public good. Stafford's historical review offers us insights in issues like abolition, women's suffrage, prohibition and civil rights which give us perspective for our own work in our contemporary culture.
Unique  Oct 5, 2007
Such a curious book. I've never seen one quite like it. This is a psychological forecast of what the average social activist will go through in pursuit of change, with reference to the last century and a half of great reformations. Through abolition, temperance, women's suffrage, and the civil rights movement, Stafford walks us through the unique experiences of reformers, but not as an idle curiosity. He seems to be telling us what we should expect, in case we give it a try.

He says that great social change begins with an unwavering commitment to a truth, even one that most people do not see or intentionally deny. The reformer must then be prepared to meet resistance, face and use pressure tactics, and have the staying power to persevere through a long fight and considerable persecution. Stafford analyzes the temptation to violence as a means of persuasion when frustration sets in. He holds up the options of political involvement or prophetic challenge that is disengaged from politics, and then describes how political pressures can be brought against those in office.

What is most engaging about the book is that there is just no genre to describe it. It's primarily a historical work, with a fascinating look at incidents that brought about or stymied social reforms. However, it's far from a merely objective look at historical events. It's a practicum on how to do it. It's almost like something you could hand to a college freshman, whispering, "Fight the power." And yet it's calm and matter-of-fact in its approach, as if it was meant for the middle-aged suburbanite who has been itching to do something meaningful in the world. There's actually a wide audience that would find interest in such a select topic. And it fits in nicely with the growing edge of evangelical Christianity in America: the desire to make social justice central to the proclamation of the gospel without losing the theological heart of evangelicalism.

It's a strong, quick read, and a necessary part of the Church's coversations today.

James W. Miller is the author of "God Scent."

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