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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Claiborne

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Claiborne

Shane Claiborne chooses to live a life that many of us cannot. To simply put it, he lives...simple. He is the author of books such as "The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical" and "Jesus for President".

He is also a founding member of the Potter St. Community, formerly known as The Simple Way community. Even though he chooses to live a simple and humble life, living well below his means, he is a revolutionary and a radical. There are a couple of events I would like to share with you that Shane has been a part of.

Jubilee on Wall Street: At
approximately 8:27am Monday morning (October 21, 2002) on the steps in front of the statue of our first president taking his oath of office, a man dressed in black, holding a megaphone, stepped out. He proclaimed news of another way of doing life, in stark contrast to the example shown on Wall St. As he proclaimed, “Let the Celebration begin!”, a Shofar, or ram’s horn, was blown, ushering in the ancient Torah tradition of Jubilee. Seemingly out of nowhere, bills began to fall and three banners were unfurled reading: “Love.” “Stop Terrorism… Share” and quoting the forefather of the nonviolence and alternative economics movements, Gandhi, “There is enough for everyone’s NEED, but not enough for everyone’s GREED”. At the same time, about two-dozen pedestrians emptied their pockets and bags of thousands of dollars of coins. Both homeless and professionals alike scrambled for nickels, dimes and quarters while others stood back and watched astonished that thousands of dollars were littering the corners of Broad and Wall Streets. You can read the rest of this article here.

$100 Dollars to 100 People: I read a book by Rick McKinley who is the pastor of Imago Dei community in Portland, Oregon. The book is called "This Beautiful Mess" and he writes about Shane in part of his book. This isn't how it was written in the book exactly, I'm just remembering what it said from memory. One day, Rick received a $100 bill with the word "LOVE" written on it. It was from Shane Claiborne. Shane had sent 100, $100 bills to 100 people and Rick was one of the recipients. Rick carried the $100 in his wallet, waiting for the right opportunity to use it. He went to the store to buy some things one day, but all he had was the $100 bill. He thought about paying for his stuff with it, but because Shane had written "LOVE" on it, he knew he couldn't use it just to but a few things for himself. He ended up giving it to a single mother. I'm not sure what the other 99 people did with their $100 bills, but I hope they were as thoughtful as Rick.

It's obvious to see that Shane could be living a comfortable life, yet he chooses to live in what many of us would call poverty. I had seriously considered becoming a part of the Potter St. community at one time, but then a bunch of my friends started talking about getting something like that started here in our own area. We want to take a trip down to Philadelphia to check out the Potter St. community and see how they do what they do, living as a true community. By that I mean getting to know your neighbors, treating them as family, borrowing things from each other. For example: why should so many people who live so close to each other each need to own their own lawnmower? Why not own one together as neighbors. Yes, it is easier said than done. But that's why we need to get over our greed so that there is enough for everyone's need. What if the lawnmower breaks? Everyone can chip in to get it fixed which would be much less expensive than owning your own lawnmower.

There is a DVD called $imply Enough. It is a study/action guide and it covers a variety of topics such as money, food, lifestyle, and justice. We went through this study last year at Valley Mosaic. It features Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo discussing these different topics. Tony was one of Shane's professors at Eastern University. Below is the trailer for $imply Enough.

You can find out more about Shane and The Simple Way here.

1 comment:

  1. Dan, you wrote that "Shane Claiborne chooses to live a life that many of us cannont." I hear people say this a lot about Shane and the monastics, and I have a slight problem with it. Far too often this becomes a way for people to write off what the New Monastics are doing as something that is too "radical," and not necessary. Or, in most cases, it becomes a way for people to make themselves feel less guitly abot their selfish, individualistic, consumer driven lifestyles (not that you are in any way doing this. I'm just saying, people do think this way). In all reality, I think many of us CAN live this way, and will have to before long. The cold hard fact of the matter, in my opinion, is that we are going to have to live like Shane, the question is, are we going to do it now, on our own, or be forced to do it later?

    Think about it. With the recession supposedly getting worse and worse lasting well into next year (I doubt this will be the last one in our lifetimes), population out of control, famine, water shortages, war...the world seems pretty unstable and scary. What I mean to say is, as Shane puts it, the world can't afford the American dream. Gandhi says "there is enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed," something is going to have to give. In my view, what Shane and his friends are doing is really giving us a glimpse of what the future needs to look like if humans, along with all creation are too survive.

    And, actually, when you think about it, what Shane and his friends are doing is not all that radical. Yes, from our spoiled American perspective it is, but sharing pocessions, re-using things, sharing meals, food, money, resources and living in tight community is not new for Christians. We just need to get back on track! I think we can do it. Better yet, we need to do it!

    No, we don't all have to move into the ghetto and make our own clothes. But, we can bring the Kingdom to Earth as it is in Heaven right where we are, right now. I'm glad you decided to post on this subject because I love the emample that these people are setting. I just pray that the church is wise enough to heed the call of this prophitic voice from the desert.