Fortress Press

Radical Discipleship: A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel

Radical Discipleship

A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel

Jennifer M. McBride (Author)


  • In stock
  • eBook coming soon

Reminiscent of Bonhoeffer's Discipleship, Jennifer McBride's Radical Discipleship utilizes the liturgical seasons as a framework for engaging the social evils of mass incarceration, capital punishment, and homelessness, arguing that to be faithful to the gospel, Christians must become disciples of, not simply believers in, Jesus. The book arises out of McBride's extensive experience teaching theology in a women's prison while participating in a residential Christian activist and worshipping community. Arguing that disciples must take responsibility for the social evils that bar "beloved community," Martin Luther King's term for a just social order, the promised kingdom of God, McBride calls for a dual commitment to the works of mercy and the struggle for justice.

This work seeks to form readers into an understanding of the social and political character of the good news proclaimed in the Gospels. Organically connecting liturgy with activism and theological reflection, McBride argues that discipleship requires that privileged Christians place their bodies in spaces of social struggle and distress to reduce the distance between themselves and those who suffer injustice, and stand in solidarity with those whom society deems guilty, despises, and rejects—which makes discipleship radical as Christians take seriously the Jesus of the Gospels.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506401898
  • eBook ISBN 9781506401904
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 290
  • Publication Date March 1, 2017


1. Advent
2. Christmas
3. Ordinary Time
4. Lent and Holy Week
5. Good Friday
6. Easter
Conclusion: Pentecost: The Birth of the Discipleship Movement


A compelling and beautifully written book

“Weaving together her profound expertise in Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr. with the poignant authenticity of someone who has spent time on the frontlines of lockdown America, Jennifer M. McBride calls us to discover the promise of the gospel in a divided age. Her extraordinary journey to radical discipleship among those in prison challenges us all to a life of costly grace. This is a compelling and beautifully written book for anyone who cares about the future of Christianity.”

Jeffrey C. Pugh | Elon University

Reading it might be an act of worship, too

“In her brilliant exploration of the politics of the ecclesial calendar, Jennifer M. McBride shows us the different invitations each church season poses to those who would follow Jesus, and the different truths each season teaches about what following Jesus entails. McBride has named writing this book as an act of worship; in a way, reading it might be an act of worship, too.”

Lauren Winner | Duke Divinity School

Full of wisdom, pathos, and hope

“Prisoners need prophetic advocates who will be their voice to teach us about the reality of their lives. Jennifer McBride’s powerful account of her work with women in prison raises their insights as she challenges us to rethink what the gospel is all about. This book is full of wisdom, pathos, and hope as it invites us to be transformed into disciples who enter into community with people we readily condemn.”

Helen Prejean, CSJ | Author, Dead Man Walking

Original, wise and inspiring

“This is an original, wise and inspiring book. McBride draws on her wide and deep theological learning, alongside her experiences of radical Christian practices of community, to present a realistic and challenging account of what discipleship might entail in a profoundly unequal and unjust society.”

Rachel Muers | University of Leeds

Rooted in lived experience

“A gritty, honest practical theology rooted in lived experience. A very strong new contribution from the author of the brilliant The Church for the World. Strongly recommended!”

David P. Gushee | Mercer University

Both deeply learned and eminently practical

"Jennifer McBride writes lived theology in the fullest sense of those words.  She has lived into the discipleship to which she calls us.  And she has listened deeply to  disciples she has walked with along the way: imprisoned women, homeless people, long-time activists, and more.  The genius of McBride’s work is to respect the theological insights in these lives and to place them in conversation with thinkers like Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The result is a book that is both deeply learned and eminently practical.  In its method as much as its content, it is one of this generation’s most thoughtful and powerful calls to radical discipleship."

Ted A. Smith | Candler School of Theology