Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some Thoughts on Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution

I’ve been reading Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution and have been really challenged by it. His descriptions of community and identifying with the poor have convicted me tremendously. I will be writing more about my positive impressions in the future, for there are many. I did want to point out a few things I think he overstates and one I think he just gets wrong.

Shane on several occasions refers to Jesus as “homeless.” He was a “baby refugee” who “wandered the world a homeless rabbi…” I think the refugee language he uses is purposely politically charged. There was something to this in that Jesus was born away from his parents’ home; he also fled to Egypt to escape persecution (extermination) from the political leader of the day. Both his birth in Bethlehem and his flight to Egypt were also to fulfill messianic understandings of the Scriptures. Early on in Jesus’ life, he did live in a home in Nazareth. Herod’s death took place around 4 BC, thus his return to Palestine and his settling in Nazareth would place Jesus in a home in Nazareth for almost 30 years. We get another glimpse of this in John 1.37-39, where two disciples are curious about this “Lamb of God” and want to know where he is staying. Jesus takes them there and they spend the day with him. Jesus’ was not homeless in during his public ministry by chance or by financial hardship, but it allowed supporters to show him hospitality and it allowed Jesus’ disciples to see what living by faith and depending on people of peace looked like. In this spirit, I think Shane is right on. Jesus’ models living by faith and let’s the church see what it looks like to support itinerant ministers. People really get to fellowship properly and participate in the blessings that sharing and hospitality offer to brothers and sisters in Christ. I am being nit-picky because I do think Shane overplays the “Jesus was homeless” card to show how Jesus did this to identify with the poor and I don’t think that tells the entire story.

This nit-picky observation (followed by another) only shows part of the picture. I plan on providing some of my thoughts on his book that I thought were very thoughtful and very challenging in a good way.

1 comment:

WHP said...

I liked it when Religion and Politics were separate... oh wait...