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Group Read Selection

A Dangerous Dozen

12 Christians Who Threatened the Status Quo but Taught Us to Live Like Jesus

The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, PhD
Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

6 x 9, 208 pp, Quality Paperback


Large Print edition also available from

Sometimes What We Need Most Is What We Fear Most

“Times change and situations seem to change, but there is still a great need for prophets, for God’s ambassadors, to stand up and be counted. Who will dare to be Paul the Apostle today, or Dorothy Day, or Francis of Assisi, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Who will dare, when God calls, to say, ‘Here I am, Lord. Send me’?”

—from the Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Meet twelve fascinating—at times, intimidating—Christian change agents who were unafraid to ask what God would have them do in the face of life’s realities—and unafraid to go ahead and do it. Their words and actions challenged the status quo, and in so doing they showed the face of Jesus to the Church and to the world.

Whether calling us to live simply in the name of Jesus, showing the way to genuine peacemaking, or exemplifying the true meaning of courage, the legacies of these blessed troublemakers continue to inspire us today … if we let them.

Paul of Tarsus • Mary Magdalene • Origen of Alexandria • Francis of Assisi • Hildegard of Bingen • Thomas Cranmer • Sojourner Truth • Dorothy Day • Dietrich Bonhoeffer • Janani Luwum • Oscar Romero • K. H. Ting

“Surveys the full reach of Christian history and spans the whole globe…. A fine gift—a book that is not only fascinating reading but also a spur to bold and faithful action today.”

Prof. Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“Excellent … reminds us that the gospel is a revolutionary challenge to a world that accepts poverty and war as ‘just the way things are.’ Holds a mirror up to readers, forcing us to recognize the timid compromises we make in order to feel secure and prosperous. The way of Jesus, as Robertson makes clear, is far more challenging—and rewarding!”

Michael Kinnamon, general secretary, National Council of Churches

“An antidote to individualistic piety and the assumption that Christianity is inherently conservative…. A much-needed challenge to transform our safe faith into a dangerous, powerful force for good.”

Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Butler University

“For most there will be some familiar faces and some brand new.... Shines.... Colorful and easily accessible.... Communicates the message that all are welcome to join in God’s salvation within their particular time and place.... It will do the church well to learn of Robertson’s dozen dangerous Christians and to weave them in as a part of the greater life of Christ through his church.”

Englewood Review of Books

“Robertson gives us a dozen stirring exemplars who have challenged the world’s conventional wisdom on behalf of the gospel. Read and learn, and discover your own courage to love as God loves.”

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church; author, The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything

“Engaging and refreshing … lifts up special people who model faith in life. Anyone looking to apply Christian faith to the challenges of today will be guided by the stories of these twelve courageous servants of God.”

The Rev. Donald J. McCoid, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“The full force of exemplary lives can be lost on us so easily without the kind of fresh, contemporary portraits we find here. Robertson makes the compelling witness of these saints burn bright in our world.”

—Prof. Jon Nilson, Loyola University; former president, Catholic Theological Society of America

“Makes for lively reading.... Suitable for group or individual study.”

Publishers Weekly

“Invites us all to listen to that inner voice that continues to call us all—as ordinary people—to stand up and do extraordinary things for God.”

Fr. Albert Cutié, radio/TV host; author, Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love

“One need not be a Christian to appreciate that those who inspire are to be cherished wherever and however they manifest…. [A] welcome balm at a time when the world too often seems devoid of true spiritual leadership.”

Ira Rifkin, editor, Spiritual Leaders Who Changed the World: The Essential Handbook to the Past Century of Religion

“One part Bible study, several parts history lesson, 100 percent good storytelling … provide[s] us a fresh look at folks we thought we knew and introduce[s] us to people we ought to meet—exemplary women and men from many centuries and almost every continent, together reminding us of the breadth of Christian activism.”

Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Senior Fellow, Auburn Theological Seminary; author, Faith in the Neighborhood

“Celebrates the lives of twelve heroes who dared to step into darkness bearing the light of God’s love, no matter what the cost. These tales of danger, risk and sacrifice for Jesus’s sake are indeed inspiring.”

Michael Rhodes, five-time Emmy award–winning filmmaker; president, Film Clips, Inc.

“A clear and vivid picture of twelve men and women who would not stand still when the world needed to be pushed, or remain silent when power needed to be challenged. My hope is that the questions for reflection at the end of each chapter will help us to rethink our ministry in the service of God’s mission in our own time.”

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate, The Anglican Church of Canada

“Clear and very pleasing prose, with a sure and sympathetic command of his subjects, a Lives of the Saints for our times. [This] ‘dangerous dozen’ and their escapades of faith … will instruct and encourage certainly; but beware, for they will also inevitably seduce and charm you as well.”

Phyllis Tickle, popular speaker; author, The Great Emergence and The Words of Jesus


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