The late Saul Alinsky called himself a radical, and he was clearly good at what he did.  But I’ve always felt that his book, Rules for Radicals, was a kind of ‘Machiavelli for people with short attention spans.’  

Alinsky’s rules, his pressure tactics, his deceits, manipulations and organising skills, are finally based on a fraud. They are not ‘progressive’ at all.

They are in fact the same tired grasping for power that made the world what it is. The truth is, Alinsky wasn’t nearly radical enough.


Radical means:

  • Blessed are the peacemakers.
  • Blessed are the merciful.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
  • Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
  • Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven; for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.


As Christians we don’t need to ‘succeed’ in living the Beatitudes, but we do need to try – every day, consciously, with all our hearts.

The Beatitudes irresistibly transform the world by transforming us… radically.


Excerpted and edited from +Charles J Chaput.

This article can be found in Mirror 0814.