Tag Archives: shane claiborne

What We Need Is Adventure


My newest blog post on DMergent is up. I’ve been working on this one for a few weeks. The ideas started coming up around the end of April with a congregational workshop on family systems theory, looking at the teachings of Edwin Friedman. The other pieces continued to snowball from other experiences here and there. Plus, mashing this up with Goonies was a no brainer. That movie is both awful and fantastic, in its own ways.

Adventure is a tricky concept to define, so I didn’t try to define it. What can be exciting and daring for one community or person might not be for another. But the idea that Friedman seems to tackle is that if you don’t escape a negative cycle with something radical, nothing will change. You could even tie this in with many people who struggle with addiction – unless they really hit bottom or break away from the world that has been supporting their addiction, they will stay trapped.

Shane Claiborne, in his work for nonviolence and peace, often gets asked what he would do if a mob of angry men with machetes ran toward him. He thinks the question itself is crazy, so he says he would start flapping his arms like a chicken, pecking at the ground, and making silly noises. Don’t succumb to the system – don’t respond to violence with more violence. What then will change?

We all need adventure. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. Yes, it’s supposed to be a little scary at first, but adventures are how the world gets changed.

Can giving change the world?

With all this talk about giving and stewardship, it’s important that we are not afraid to stop from time to time and ask ourselves – does all this giving making a difference?

We all give for a variety of reasons. People who are not religious may give to take advantage of tax breaks or just because they like to give. People of faith are often called and urged to give with a call to remember what God has done for them. (Although, a lot of us don’t mind the tax breaks either.)

Regardless of how much we give and why we give, the ultimate idea is that we make the world a better place through our sharing with one another. A person who owns two coats gives one to someone in need. A home is built with time and money shared by groups of Christians and neighbors. Ten dollars buys bags of rice and grain to feed a family in the midst of a drought. Giving creates a channel through which others are blessed.

Sometimes, though, our giving may not seem to leave an indelible impact. You may toss in ten bucks to help struggling families in some part of the world, and you may hear of their need again in a year. You may donate old clothes to a clothing ministry only to find out that more and more are needed. You work tirelessly with a local organization to end homelessness and discover that the numbers of homeless in your community continue to rise. The reality is that the world is complex – our giving is not the only solution to the broken systems that dehumanize and destroy people. We have a lot to learn and understand in that regard.

In the meanwhile, what sustains us is the joy that comes from our giving – a joy that opens doors to new ways of seeing and being in this world. Take it from Shane Claiborne’s book, The Irresistible Revolution:

People who experiment in sharing may begin out of burden or guilt, but they are sustained by the matchless joy it brings. What delight it is to see others receive the gifts of God, especially when they have been deprived of them for far too long. One of the beggars in Calcutta approached me on day, and I had no money on me, but I felt a piece of gum in my pocket, so I handed it to her. I have no idea how long it had been since she had chewed gum, or if she had ever even had the chance. She looked at it and smiled with delight. Then she tore it into three pieces and handed one to me and one to my friend so we could share the excitement.

Every time you give, imagine that image in your mind – someone receiving with joy even the littlest blessing that you may offer and splitting it up to share with others. Giving can change our world by starting thousands and millions of these chain effects, ripples of sharing from person to person in need. Of course, you got to be willing to do your part, keep the change going by being a steward of what God shares with us in the first place. Are you willing?

The Ironies of Palm Sunday

A Donkey Rests After Carrying the King of KingsHoly Week is here, folks.

It may feel like it’s a little late. It may feel like it’s early. Regardless, it’s here.

Are you ready?

I am going to be making an effort to post something everyday of the week during Holy Week, tracing the journey as a community, as a Christian, and even as a bystander to all the busy-ness of life during this time. Some of it will be thought-provoking. Some of it will be funny. (And some likely stupid…)

Thinking ahead, Palm Sunday is one of those real difficult days in the life of the church. Yes, we shout “Hosannas” and wave palm branches. It seems like a happy day, that precursor to the party that is Easter. But, really, Palm Sunday is a precursor to the storm that is Holy Week. It’s filled with bitter irony, like the same crowd that shouts “Hosanna” to Jesus is the same crowd that shouts “Crucify him” later in the week.

Eugene Cho wrote a blog post back in 2009 about the irony of Palm Sunday:

The image of Palm Sunday is one of the greatest ironies.  Jesus Christ – the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the Morning Star, the Savior of all Humanity, and we can list descriptives after descriptives – rides into a procession of “Hosanna, Hosanna…Hosanna in the Highest” - on a donkey – aka - an ass.

He goes on to say it’s like his friend Shane Claiborne once said, “that a modern equivalent of such an incredulous image is of the most powerful person in our modern world, the United States President, riding into a procession…on a unicycle.”

Such an image is indicative of the rollercoaster ride that is Holy Week in the Christian faith – from perceived victory to utter defeat to transcendant eucatastrophe.

Hey, maybe you need some irony in your life. Travel with us – our journey begins Sunday.


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