Show, don't tell: Shane Claiborne brings call to action to campus
By Molly Edmonds | Oct. 11, 2012
Prominent Christian activist and bestselling author Shane Claiborne
Kevin Crawford says that reading the books of Shane Claiborne ruined his life — in the best way possible.
"The message is loud and clear," says the second-year master of divinity student at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. "If there is a love in your heart, a passion to do something for somebody with a deficit or need, then act on it. Do it."
Claiborne, a prominent Christian activist and best-selling author, will bring that message to Candler in two public lectures on the Emory campus in October. On Oct. 23, Claiborne will present "Jesus for President" at 7 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium, and on Oct. 24, he will address "Resurrecting Church" at 11 a.m. in Candler School of Theology. Admission to both events is free, but advance registration is required for each.
Bob Winstead, assistant professor in the practice of church leadership and director of the Office of Lifelong Learning at Candler, says that Claiborne's lectures offer the opportunity to hear from one of the "few truly prophetic voices" in the church today, a voice that could change others just as Crawford was changed.
"The world and the church need to hear the truth of the gospel calling us to live as Jesus' followers among the poor," says Winstead. "Shane Claiborne is a modern-day prophet of this radical message. He sees the world as it really is, applies the gospel of Jesus, and advocates peacemaking and social justice."
Adapted from his 2008 book of the same name (co-authored with Chris Haw), Claiborne's "Jesus for President" aims to cut through the current noise of talking heads telling us about Democrats and Republicans to explain that our actions in the voting booth are less important than our actions on all other days. Rather than endorsing a political party or candidate, Claiborne will talk about what would make up the platform of Jesus and discuss how we can accomplish that mission in the world today. Register for "Jesus for President."
In "Resurrecting Church," Claiborne will share how his experience as an advocate for the homeless reshaped his understanding of what it means to be the Church in the world. This talk will bring in both early Christians and their lives and contemporary stories of "ordinary radicals" — Claiborne's term for Christians who try to change the world around them through love and service. Register for "Resurrecting Church."
Claiborne is a founding member of The Simple Way, an intentional community in inner-city Philadelphia that has been heralded as an example of "new monasticism." His ministry experience has included working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, serving on the Iraq Peace Team, and an internship with Willow Creek Community Church, a mega-congregation in Chicago. He has been featured in numerous media outlets, including "The Wall Street Journal," CNN and National Public Radio, among others.
For Crawford, Claiborne's experience with The Simple Way and that community's ministry with the poor underscores a message of taking action — an especially important reminder for theology students who are immersed in studying action.
"Claiborne is an excellent choice to speak because he brings a breath of exacting reality that we need in the middle of a heavy-laden scholastic endeavor," Crawford explains. "Candler students theorize a lot about what's radical and revolutionary. We make great efforts to answer the ‘why' question. This series might be a necessity to experience a narrative of ‘how' one comes to a place to give it all up and live a radical and revolutionary life."
And according to Winstead, this message will resonate with all attendees, even those long past their scholastic days.
"Shane Claiborne encourages Christians to show the love of Jesus, rather than just talking about it. We, the church, need to hear that again and again."