The Inconvenient Gospel: A Southern Prophet Tackles War, Wealth, Race, and Religion

Plough. Oct. 2022. 152p. ed. by Frederick L. Downing. ISBN 9781636080284. pap. $12. REL
A selection from the sermons and writings of the late Jordan (1912–69), a farmer and Baptist preacher who founded Koinonia Farm, a pacifist interracial Christian community in Georgia, in 1942. Editor Downing (Clarence Jordan: A Radical Pilgrimage in Scorn of the Consequences) has compiled and arranged Jordan’s texts in chronological order, addressing the period from 1948 to 1969. Jordan was a familiar name to many U.S. Christians a few decades ago—partly because of his books (like 1969’s The Cotton Patch Version of Luke-Acts: Jesus Doings and Happenings) that translated Scripture into the vernacular language of the Southern United States and interpreted it the context of American racism, and partly because of Koinonia Farm, where white and Black people lived and worked together. Yet 21st-century readers will likely need a first introduction to this significant man, who faced death threats and confrontations with the Ku Klux Klan. Jordan’s texts will challenge readers as they point to the radical nature of Christianity which, he argued, requires believers to live out their faith in ways that run counter to—and even confront—the society and culture around them.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this review listed 1961 as the year Jordan died. LJ regrets the error.

VERDICT This book is an excellent introduction for those interested in Jordan or in faith-based social justice.


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