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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an event in which traveling speaker and respected Christian Activist, Shane Claiborne spoke at. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t originally planning on attending his event, in fact I had never even heard of the guy. A few weeks ago, while we had some time off as a band, a buddy and I decided to get into better shape and bike around downtown Charlotte for the day. After covering some serious mileage we stumbled across a church in the Queens area where church buses and vehicles were filing into. Curiosity struck us and we followed the masses up to the church to see what the deal was. The church sign read “Guest Speaker: Shane Claiborne”, a name that was insignificant to me but completely thrilled my buddy, Drew. He raved about the good things he had heard about Shane and that another good friend of ours had worked with his ministry in Philadelphia, which was how Drew had originally heard of the guy.

Drew convinced me it’d be worthwhile to take a breather for a bit and head inside to church to listen to what he had to say. I was hesitant at first, since I had no desire to hear someone speak I had no previous knowledge of, but I was exhausted so we headed inside.

As a brief biography, Shane Claiborne is a prominent activist for nonviolence and service to the poor. Wearing homemade clothes and dread-locked hair, Shane Claiborne is an “extremist for love”. He unveils the tragic truth of our world and the incredible hope of another way of life. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. He speaks over 100 times a year in a dozen or so countries and nearly every state in the US. 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. One of his biggest contributions may be the founding of the Simple Way Community Center, a homeless shelter in Philadelphia, which is also his home.

As he took the stage, I definitely didn’t expect a seemingly looking homeless man to approach the podium. But as I listened to him speak I had never heard someone with such a Christ-like love for the hurting world. The main theme I got from his message was both living out a bold life committed to God’s will and living a life with no prejudice showing impartial love to people of all makes and models. Yet doing so without being condescending and in a way that truly expressed how Christ loves us.

This recently inspired me to read from his book “The Irresistible Revolution”, a book I highly recommend. It’ll surely change your way of thinking and evoke conviction. My favorite passage I’ve read so far is posted below…

“We live in an age in which people, when they hear the word Christian, are much more likely to think of people who hate gays than people who love outcasts, and that is a dangerous thing. Bumper stickers and buttons read, ‘Jesus, save me from your followers.’ Over and over I see people rejecting God because of the mess they see in the church. As contemporary author and ragamuffin Brennan Manning says, ‘The greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. But I have tremendous hope that a new kind of Christianity is emerging. I’d just like it to get here sooner than later. We live in a world of dangerous extremes. ‘The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?’ The world has seen Christian extremists who will blow up abortion clinics and dance on the doctors’ graves. The world has seen Christian extremists who declare war in the name of the Lamb. But where are the Christian extremists for love and grace?”

If that doesn’t slap you in the face, then I don’t know what will.

As spontaneous as it was to drop in, I am convinced God purposely directed us there, as planned by Him, so that my perspective on my faith would radically change and wake me up to my luke-warm christian lifestyle. Shane Claiborne has severely changed my way of thinking of what an effective follower of Christ is to be.

Now as a complete distraction and abrupt change of subject, here is my weekly viral video below:

-Todd

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3 Comments

  1. I read this just before I went to a Bible study and we talked about a lot of stuff that related I had just read in your blog! tight! đŸ™‚

  2. Well, now I know what book I will be reading next! Have you read An Arrow Pointing To Heaven- the biography of Rich Mullins?

  3. ok that video totally creeped me out! lol đŸ™‚ thanks for sharing


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