I recently read “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. Wow.
Shane asks some big questions about life and brings into question the way that modern-day Christians live. It resonated with me in such a big way – I’ve always felt discomforted by the “health, wealth, and happiness” promises of modern Christianity when the Bible contradicts this kind of teaching. This book made me think long and hard about the way I live and whether or not I’m really following Jesus. And, sad as it is to say, if I’m truthful with myself, I do a pretty crappy job.
In this book, I was taken by the hand and led out of my comfort zone, joining Shane as he traveled across the world to find a real Christian. His search took him from the ghettos of Philadelphia to Calcutta with Mother Theresa, from Baghdad during the US bombings to multi-million dollar megachurches.
Shane plunges “deeper into what the earliest Christians called ‘The Way’ – the way of Jesus, the way of the kingdom [of God], and the way of the cross. He is the first to admit that what he and his spiritual cohorts are doing seems quite radical, even crazy, and maybe insane. But he also has come to question the sanity of the consumer culture, the distorted priorities of the global economy, and the methodology of the warfare state, while, at the same time, rediscovering the biblical reversal of our social logic – that the foolishness of God has always seemed a little nuts to the world.” — Jim Wallis, foreward
How do Shane and his friends live that seems so crazy? Reckless love. Reckless generosity. Shane and some friends have established ‘the simple way‘, an intentional community in the heart of Philadelphia’s poorest community in order to live out their beliefs. Shane is adamant that, if we are to truly reflect Jesus’ character we must (gasp!) live as He did. And, thankfully, Jesus’ life can be summed up in one word. Unfortunately, that one little word is the most difficult thing to consistently live: LOVE. And, in order to love, one must create relationships – which doesn’t seem too hard, unless you really think about it.
In our culture of individuality, true Christianity screams “community”. And in our world of individuality, community isn’t always the most welcome thing to scream. But we are called to live in community – especially with those who are poor and needy.
So what does this mean for me? It means maybe not moving to the nicest part of town to buy a house with a white picket fence and instead choosing to be “downwardly mobile”. Maybe it means volunteering downtown at a shelter or with underprivileged kids. And maybe, just maybe, it means getting together with some like-minded folk and creating our own intentional community where we can share resources and open our homes and lives to the people who need us so we can show them Jesus.