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Shane Claiborne
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Shane Claiborne activist and bestselling author of The Irresistible Revolution
www.thesimpleway.org

Entries by Shane Claiborne

The First Year Of The Pope's Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 5:46 PM

A year ago -- March 13, 2013 - Pope Francis officially became Pope. Since then he has fascinated the world.

He didn't don the snazzy red shoes and fancy papal attire. He chose a humble apartment rather than the posh papal palace. He washed the feet of women in...

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Gun Death And Bringing America Back to Life

(33) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 2:37 PM

Yesterday, I read about the 2-year old child who shot herself by accident in North Carolina over the weekend. Then I read about the horror of another school shooting in Nevada. Only hours later -- shots rang out again on our block in North Philadelphia, for...

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Remembering Francis: From 12th Century Rebel to 21st Century Pope

(1) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 11:52 AM

Today (October 4), Christians around the world remember one of the great heroes of our faith, and the Pope's namesake - Francis of Assisi. But Francesco Bernadone (Francis of Assisi), who died on October 3, 1226 must be laughing at the irony of it all.

He was one of...

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Beating AK47s into Shovels

(151) Comments | Posted August 15, 2013 | 2:18 PM

It doesn't get much cooler than beating an AK47 into a shovel. We are starting to make a habit of it.

Our first weapon-conversion was on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. A welder buddy of mine took an AK 47 and transformed it LIVE, into a shovel and a...

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Remember Guantanamo Bay?

(13) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 10:14 AM

I had a chance to meet with some of the folks who have served as mediators to Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and I am deeply disturbed by what I learned.

Here's a little update from Guantanamo. Some of the things I learned...

One hundred and sixty-six prisoners remain in the prison....

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Taking Good Friday Liturgy to the Streets

(1) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 3:51 PM

Taking Liturgy to the Streets...

Liturgy and worship were never meant to be confined to the cathedrals and sanctuaries. Liturgy at its best can be performed like a circus or theater - making the Gospel visible as a witness to the world around us. Consider these services that happened in...

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What Would Jesus Say to the NRA?

(782) Comments | Posted December 24, 2012 | 3:43 PM

What does the birth of the baby Jesus 2,000 years ago have to offer the violent, troubled world we live in? Or what would Jesus say to the NRA?

I want to suggest: a lot. A whole lot.

Jesus entered the world from a posture of absolute vulnerability -- as...

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I Found Peace in Kabul

(10) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 10:03 AM

Afghanistan is one of the most desperate, beat up places in the world. Forbes magazine has called it the most dangerous nation on earth. More than 30 years of war have left 2 million people dead, and much of the country in chaos. But even in the most troubled places...

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Jesus for President 2012

(622) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 7:41 AM

It was way back in 2004 that the spark for the "Jesus for President" campaign was born -- by a bunch of post-evangelical Christians trying to figure out how to engage the political circus that happens every every years. It started as a little Bible study looking at the politics...

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Big Beasts and Little Prophets: Activists Cooling Down the War Machine With Holy Water

(4) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 8:10 AM

I just arrived in Tennessee for a little sabbatical in the hills where I grew up. As I settled into my old childhood room again for a week or so of rest, I noticed a pile of newspaper articles my mom placed by the toilet. She's gotten into the habit...

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The Myth of Redemptive Violence

(35) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 2:57 PM

I had a veteran friend once tell me, "The biggest lie I have ever been told is that violence is evil, except in war." He went on, "My government told me that. My Church told me that. My family told me that. ... I came back from war and told...

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Practicing Resurrection: Turning Vacant Lots Into Gardens in Philadelphia

(25) Comments | Posted April 22, 2012 | 8:58 AM

"What's that?" one of the kids asked, with big gleaming eyes.

"That's a firefly" I said, with a smile, realizing it was his first firefly-sighting.

"Why does it glow like that?"

I thought for a minute. "I'm not sure. I think God just felt extra wild one day and said, "I think I'll make a bug that glows in the dark."

"God is cool" the kid said, grinning from ear to ear.

One of the most beautiful things we get to do here at The Simple Way is plant gardens in the concrete jungle of North Philadelphia -- and see kids discover the miracle of life, and fall in love with the Creator of life. Gardens have a special place in the human story. After all God first planted humanity in a garden in Eden. And the most redemptive act in history began in a garden in Gethsemane. And the story ends in Revelation with the image of the garden taking over the City of God, with the river of life flowing through the city center and the tree of life piercing the urban concrete.

Now, as we approach 15 years of community here at The Simple Way, we have half a dozen lots that we are gardening on. And we are seeing a neighborhood come back to life. I will never forget the haunting words of a neighborhood kid who once said years ago, "It's easier to get a gun in our neighborhood than it is to get a salad." His words broke my heart. And they have continued to fan a flame all these years to try and change that reality.

When a kid pulls a carrot out of the ground for the first time it is magical. The more they see things that are alive, the more filled with wonder they become at the God who made all this wild and wonderful stuff like fireflies and butterflies, hummingbirds and earthworms - and you and me. Sometimes it's hard to believe that there is a beautiful God when so much of what you see is ugly. It's hard to believe in a God that is a lover of life when there is so much death and decay and abandonment.

So we talk alot these days about "practicing resurrection" -- by making ugly things beautiful... and turning vacant lots into gardens... and loving people back to life. Not a bad encore after Easter here. After all, resurrection is something we get to do every day. Every day is Easter. We are resurrection people.

Our latest experiment in resurrection has been a new greenhouse which we completed this past week. We built it on the fire-scorched land where our houses burned down almost exactly 5 years ago. Now our park flaunts this solar-powered greenhouse with a 200-gallon fish pond that can hold over 1000 fish that will fertilize the water where plants will grow... an integrated system of fish-farming and hydroponics that mimics what nature does naturally. Building on some of the most creative techniques in urban farming, we are now cultivating life in these post-industrial ruins, where we see the dark side of the global economy every day. Each morning we wake up on the wrong side of capitalism. But we see hope. We are building a new world in the shell of the old one. We see grass piercing concrete. We see a neighborhood coming back to life, rising from the dead. We now have a little oasis in the "food desert" of North Philadelphia.

In the end - it's all about small things with great love. What's important to us is not how much we do, but how much love we put into doing it. We want you to know that we are committed to taking your financial gifts and doing small things with great love.

It is no coincidence that the images Jesus uses for the "Kingdom of God" are very small. The Kingdom of God is like yeast, which you cannot even see. It's like light - and salt... little things that have unprecedented power. And one of those images is mustard.

Mustard was an interesting metaphor. It was an invasive plant. Jews had laws against growing mustard in their gardens, because it would take over the whole garden, leaving them only with mustard. It's like the wild kudzu we have down south that can cover an entire house with greenery, or like the wild weeds that crack the foundations of our houses here in Philly. It's a beautiful and scandalous image. Mustard is a humble plant though - it didn't grow huge like the cedars of Lebanon, or the giant redwoods in California. Mature mustard only stands a few feet high, a modest little bush.

One thing that mustard, light, salt, yeast all have in common is that they take over - they are invasive in the best sense of the word. Everywhere we look we see this dazzling invasion of grace in the world - spreading like wild mustard. It is happening on our block as gardens take over vacant lots. It's happening around the world as new communities sprout like seedlings. And you all are like the hidden heroes of the garden. You are planting seeds that you may never even see the fruit of - so thank you.

Here are some seeds to remind you of the incredible movement that we are all caught up in. Thanks for making it possible. And thanks be to our Lord Jesus - the seed that died so that we all can live. Please remember us in your prayers as we continue to practice resurrection. And know that you are in our prayers as you cultivate life and interrupt death right where you are.
Here is a prayer that we pray every morning, and that we prayed as we dedicated the new greenhouse last week. We invite you to pray it with us. Somedays you can replace "Kensington" with your town name... and other days we hope you will leave "Kensington" in and remember us.

Almighty God,
we praise you for all you have done.
Help us with all that you want us to do.

Come, Holy Creator,
and rebuild the City of Kensington
so that we do not labor in vain without you.

Come, Holy Savior,
and heal all that is broken
in our lives and in our streets.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and inspire us with energy and willingness
to rebuild Kensington to your honor and...

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Fat Tuesday and Skinny Wednesday

(5) Comments | Posted February 21, 2012 | 4:00 PM

"What's the difference between a flute and a stick in the mud?" our priest asked on Sunday. He then went on, "The stick in the mud is full of itself. The flute has been emptied of itself so it can make music." That's a good image for Fat Tuesday and...

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Occupy Nonviolence

(6) Comments | Posted February 17, 2012 | 11:21 AM

Amid the recent police violence in Oakland and the sure temptation of some protestors to resort to violence, I wrote this little reflection inviting all Occupiers to a renewed commitment to nonviolence.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Our battle is not against flesh and blood but...

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Exorcise Wall Street

(6) Comments | Posted February 13, 2012 | 11:51 AM

There was an occasion in the '60s where a bunch of hippies surrounded the Pentagon and tried to exorcise the demons. It didn't work. Despite their valiant effort, not much happened that day.

Nevertheless, I am one of those Christians who believes in angels and demons. But I think...

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Dorothy Day Named National Hero By Obama At National Prayer Breakfast

(16) Comments | Posted February 2, 2012 | 3:59 PM

This morning, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama named Dorothy Day as a "great reformer in American history." Who woulda thunk it?

I think President Hoover called her a threat to national security.

Here's the exact quote from the President's speech:

We can't leave our values...

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When Soldiers Become Saints

(11) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 9:42 AM

Today, as the United States celebrates Veteran's Day, the Church celebrates Martin of Tours, a conscientious objector to war whose Feast Day is recognized by Christians around the world on Nov. 11. It is fascinating, even Providential, that Veteran's Day falls on a Church holiday that remembers one of the...

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A Devotion for Wall Street

(25) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 11:20 AM

A reporter recently asked me, "As a Christian leader, does your faith have anything to say about Wall Street?" I said, "How much time do you have?" My faith has a lot to say about Wall Street.
Theologian Karl Barth said, "We have to read the Bible in...

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Praying With St. Francis, the Radical Christian Peacemaker

(106) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 5:02 PM

Today (Oct. 4) Christians around the world celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the
bright lights of the Church and one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live...

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Duane Buck And Celebrating The Interruption Of Death

(63) Comments | Posted September 16, 2011 | 1:52 PM

Last night death was interrupted. Duane Buck was set for execution. His execution would have been the second this week and the eleventh this year in Texas alone... and two more executions are scheduled for next week. When Presidential candidate Rick Perry celebrated his 234 executions as Texas governor last...

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