Changemaker of the Week: Shane Claiborne

I met this remarkable young man when he visited Wellington on a speaking tour this year. Shane is part of an intentional community in the US called The Potter St Community (formerly the Simple Way), similar in many ways to our Urban Vision. They choose to ‘be’ Jesus to those who are poor, marginalised, and lonely.

I read Shane’s book ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ when it first came out a few years ago, and it was very influential in shaping my faith and worldview. I cannot commend it enough. Pick it up and be inspired. If you’ve already read it and are looking for more, I recommend New Friars by Scott Bessenecker, Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren, or just about anything by Jim Wallis. I hear the Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is excellent too.. I’ve just ordered my copy. =)

Here are my favourite quotes from Shane’s book (s0rry about the length here.. it’s a good book!):

“At first I went on mission trips to “take the good news” to poor people. Then I discovered they were the ones who brought the good news to me.”

“Most good things have been said far too many times, and just need to be lived.”

“I used to be cool. Then I met Jesus and he wrecked my life. The more I read the gospel, the more it messed me up, turned everything I believed in, valued, and hoped for upside-down. I am still recovering from my conversion.”

“God comforts the disturbed, and disturbs the comfortable”

“We knew the world could not afford the American Dream, and the good news is, there is another dream”

“We are not pacifist hippies but passionate lovers who abhor passivity and violence. We spend our lives actively resisting everything that destroys life”

“Many people have not been able to hear the words of Christians, because the lives of Christians have been making such terrible noise”

“The Church can too easily become a distribution centre, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. Both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get clothed and fed), but no-one leaves transformed”

“We have no right not to be charitable. The early Christians taught that charity is merely returning what we have stolen. In the seventeenth century, St Vincent de Paul
said that when he gave bread to beggars, he got on his knees and asked forgiveness of them. The early Christians used to write that when they did not have enough food for the hungry people at their door, the entire community would fast until everyone could share a meal together. What an incredible economy of love”

“There is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for… it is more courageous to love our enemies than to kill them”

“The Church is a place where we can stand up and say we are wretched, and everyone will nod and agree and remind us that we are also beautiful”

“We can be moral but not alive”

“Whenever someone tells me they have rejected God, I say, “tell me about the God you have rejected”. And as they describe a God of condemnation, of laws and lightning bolts, of frowning gray-haired people and boring meetings, I usually confess “I too have rejected that God”

“Never forget that you are beautiful, just like everybody else. And never forget that you are a fool, just like everybody else”

“The Jesus movement is a revolution that dances”


~ by humblemonkey on August 16, 2009.

One Response to “Changemaker of the Week: Shane Claiborne”

  1. The last one is definitely one of my favorites! My “religious views” section on FB says this: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution!” ~Emma Goldman

    Amen and amen! These are good reminders. I’m going to see Shane in a couple of weeks; this gets me all kinds of excited to see my brother again.


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