Friday, August 6, 2010

Beware of the Suburban Demons

Shane Claiborne is our "give it away, give it away now" hero! Shane Claiborne (born 1975) is one of the founding members of a New Monastic community named the Potter Street Community (formerly The Simple Way) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This organization was featured on the cover of Christianity Today. Claiborne is also a prominent activist for nonviolence and service to the poor.

Claiborne's outlook on ministry to the poor is often compared to Mother Teresa, whom he worked alongside during a 10-week term in Calcutta. He spent 3 weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team (a project of Voices in the Wilderness and Christian Peacemaker Teams). He was witness to the military bombardment of Baghdad as well as the militarized areas between Baghdad and Amman. As a member of IPT, Claiborne took daily trips to sites where there had been bombings, visited hospitals and families, and attended worship services during the war. He also continues to serve as a board member for the nation-wide Christian Community Development Association which was founded by the authors and community developers, John Perkins and Wayne Gordon. Shane was also an intern at Willow Creek Mega-church.

The Simple Way Website lists Shane's 12 Marks of New Monasticism
1) Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire
2) Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.
3) Hospitality to the stranger
4) Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.
5) Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church.
6) Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.
7) Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.
8) Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.
9) Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.
10) Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies.
11) Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.
12) Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.

"I heard one of the teaching pastors at Willow Creek speak on the rich young ruler text that Rich (Mullins) had talked about in Wheaton's chapel. The teaching pastor had said, "now this doesn't mean you have to go sell your rollerblades and golf clubs," and he went on to "contextualize" the teaching to show that we just need to be careful not to make idols of our things. I wasn't so sure about that. Jesus doesn't tell the man to be a better steward, or to treat his workers fairly, or not to make money an idol. He tells this highly educated and devoutly religious young man that he lacks one thing: giving up everything he owns to give the poor. Jesus also says we should fear all the more those things that can endanger our souls… and those are the more subtle dangers, and the suburban demons – like insulating ourselves from suffering or cluttering our lives with possessions while others live in poverty. These are the things that can destroy our souls." Shane

We heard that Shane shed most of his possessions - so we raided his pockets to see what was left...


  1. whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice.

    chew on that wheatie!

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