The Common Good
March 2009

Important Resources for Social Change

by Sojourners | March 2009

A compilation of books, films, and training materials for making social change happen.

Books on Spiritual Formation

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

Robert Coles - Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion (Radcliffe Biography Series)

Richard Foster - Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Richard Foster - Devotional Classics: Revised Edition: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups

Kirk Byron Jones - Rest in the Storm: Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers

Thomas Merton - New Seeds of Contemplation

Henri Nouwen - In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

Elizabeth O’Connor - Journey Inward, Journey Outward

Jim Wallis - The Call to Conversion

Dallas Willard - The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives

Books on Christian Living & Discipleship

Scott Bessenecker - The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World's Poor

Shane Claiborne - The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

Edwina Gately - Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today

John Perkins - Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development

Jim Wallis - The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America

Books on Politics & Social Justice

Joan Chittister - Scarred By Struggle, Transformed By Hope

Michael Emerson and Christian Smith - Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America

Obery Hendricks - The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus' Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted

Dennis Jacobsen - Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing

Theodore Jennings - Good News to the Poor

Martin Luther King Jr. - “A Time to Break the Silence”

Robert Linthicum - Building a People of Power

Charles Marsh - The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today

Brian McLaren - Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope

Bryant Myers - Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development

Theda Skocpol - Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life

Ron Sider - Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity

Ron Sider - Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America

Sojourner Truth - Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Dover Thrift Editions)

Jim Wallis - God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It

John Howard Yoder - The Politics of Jesus

Films About Social Change

from Gareth Higgins

Gandhi: The film doesn't delve deeply enough into Gandhi as an individual, but is required viewing for anyone who wants to see an epic about a non-violent movement that changed the world.

Milk: A moving reflection on the life, death and legacy of Harvey Milk. Not simply a gay rights movie, but a film about social movements and the cost to the individuals who lead them.

A Short Film About Killing: Polish director Krystof Kieslowski announced himself as one of cinema's greatest poets with his series of films based on the Ten Commandments, 'The Dekalog'. His response to 'Thou Shalt Not Kill', this film is a story about a murder and the capital punishment meted out to the perpetrator that was so powerful, it led to the abolition of the death penalty in his home country.

Saving Private Ryan/Munich: Spielberg's films about the Second World War and the Middle East conflict; one helped war veterans open up about the trauma of their fight, the other bravely states that violence only begets violence, and no matter how just the cause, taking human life costs more than movies usually like to say.

The Battle of Algiers: A documentary-style drama about colonialism and struggling against it. Both the indigenous activists and the colonialists are shown to have their reasons, and the horror of what is often meant by 'repression' on the one hand, and 'freedom fighting' on the other is clear.

The Up Series: Filmed in seven-yearly bursts since the early 1960s, Michael Apted's documentary series is a unique record of life in the past half century; the nature-nurture debate; and the question of what makes a meaningful life.

Lone Star: John Sayles explores the necessity of ethnic reconciliation in the US through a complex thriller narrative on the Texas/Mexico border. His answer to the question of how to move on from our preoccupation with violent conflict? "Forget the Alamo."

Field of Dreams: Not an obvious film about social change – but if the basic unit of society is the family (whatever size or shape), then healing family wounds might be one of the keys to peace in the rest of the world. And you can't watch 'Field of Dreams' without wanting to have a better relationship with your parents!

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