If you’re not familiar with Shane Claiborne, now is the time to go ahead and take note. Shane is well-known for his work with the Red-Letter Christians, Huffpost, and various other media outlets. He travels the globe teaching on social justice and what life is meant to look like for a follower of Jesus. But in this book, we [at last] get to meet Shane the pastor. From the onset, each chapter of Executing Grace reads as a sermon fit for any pulpit that desires to convey the gospel message of social justice, and specifically that of its rejection of all forms of retributive violence. Every chapter contains both theological thought as well as an exegetical understanding of the Bible, combined with real-life examples of the [far too frequent] failures of the current manner in which we dole out final justice to those who offend. This book is a call to repentance for anyone still clinging to the dying notion that the man of peace would ever have anything other than forgiveness to offer those of us caught in any form of systemic violence or theological oppression.
The clarity with which Claiborne’s argument is presented is simple enough for anyone to understand, and thorough enough for those still struggling with the issue of the gospel and the death penalty. For this reader, the most potent reminder and call to repentance in the book comes in chapter 5 –
“Any time we rejoice in death, we disgrace the cross”.
Executing Grace is a continual reminder for those who claim allegiance to Jesus of Nazareth that the most powerful agent of change is forgiveness, and that forgiveness never looks like retribution.