So you came to the 'berg! Newberg, that is. Actually, as I write this, you are here (I think!?). And while I was going to the Y, I was listening to you on a podcast...it's starting to seem like you are all over the place, or maybe I am just looking for anything you have to say.
Shane, I am incredibly bummed that I wasn't able to see you here in Newberg. Your message has caught my interest because you are the first one to say things I have wondered about--it seemed like there was a strong message of community in Acts (I think this was the place). My husband and I talk about it, it is a challenging but welcome message. But Shane, it cost 40 bucks to go see you!
EDIT: Holy Cow, Shane Claiborne actually read my poorly written blog post (I am still editing it)! Regrets, I am hearing reports it was free, and he himself assured me that he wouldn't want a person to not attend based on cost and would absorb it his self. Good of him, and apologies, it was not my point to deliver bad press. I assumed the fee was coming from George Fox Univ. who paired him with another guy, also talented.
So your messages have been percolating in my head and my thoughts are all kind of around this idea of selling everything and then following the Lord. I have to admit, that passage I have always read with a "surely there is a contextual consideration there...". With a 4 month old and a 3 year old, doesn't charity begins at home? Am happy to take care of my little ones, aren't they a blessing from the father?
I ponder specifics, how do I live out this Simple Way from where I am?
The Simple Way website give suggestions, like tell your college administrator that he should earn only as much as the janitor and that I should pound a war machine into a plowshare. I can only take those comments as tongue in cheek. They are cute, funny, not particularly realistic. Sorry to be a party pooper.
I do keep hearing the quote though... "We can do no great things, only small things with great love," resounding through my head.
What are those small things? I have ideas, am not clueless, but I want to hear from you, too. I had one idea, it would be a challenge for me. Not insurmountable. Just challenging. Some might be surprised that something so small could be challenging. Some might think i was a bit extremist for trying. But I am going to try, Shane.
I thought to quit buying new stuff. Not a huge deal, but its a decision to make. Have always been perfectly ok with Goodwill, garage sales, consignment etc, but admit to those once or twice a year splurges on something nice.
I always feel kinda uncomfortable about all the garbage we get from China. The factories of questionable ethics. The clothes that come from countries that I know little to nothing about, and the stories of labor practices that are a bit less than humane.
I have been mulling on it, and thinking about how to make this work out, logistics. its exciting, but its so small, its easy to think what difference will that make?
Don't know, but it's so small, and it is doable. And if more people did it then we probably wouldn't need to worry about China's economy overtaking the world. I won't feel complicit in the lack of transparency of how factory workers overseas are treated. I won't feel crummy about being part of the consumer culture of America and right now, it makes sense.
All these reasons seem all very, very small. So I think that it will just be a start. We do feel the loss of community and miss it. We have a great community, I wonder if we can put that to work.
Anyway, Shane, we had some conversation about this passage:
The Rich Young Man
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'[a]"
20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
J made the suggestion that we don't necessarily have to sell all our stuff in order to follow Christ, but that this rich young man was proud and his heart wasn't right with God, and that was what separated him from God. The parable before it tells of entering the kingdom like a child, and that is what this rich young man lacked. Christ saying that "all things are possible with God" simply underscores the fact that his works alone could never guarantee him a spot in heaven, but rather God's grace gets us there...
Anyway, just random thoughts Shane. Sorry I missed you, maybe you can ask that they don't charge so much so that the riff raff like J and I can go see you some other time when you are in Portland, your words are welcome here!