The Socialist Jesus Show

I was first introduced to Shane Claiborne at Catalyst, an annual leadership conference that I love to attend. Shane has termed himself a Christian Activist. A friend recently explained that title as a Socialist Jesus Follower (SJF). When I heard the SJF the first time around, I hated everything about it. His ideas struck against the CCC (Capitalistic Conservative Christian) bones in my body. I was sure that the conference organizers had made a huge mistake letting someone like this in as a speaker. Fast forward three years…

My pastor, Greg DePriest, comes to me last Friday and asks if I would like to attend a speech with him at my old college – King. Excited at the chance to spend some one-on-one time with him, I accept before asking who the speaker would be. You’ve got it, the SJF (aka Shane Claiborne). We meet up a few days later to attend. Upon arrival, I am pleasantly surprised to see some of my old professors and friends. While making my rounds, I find myself standing face to face with the SJF. Being an exceptional Christian (or perhaps a coward), I am very pleasant in our exchange of hellos. Then, I settle in for something that I am sure will be quite miserable.

Shane does something different this time. Instead of simply presenting his ideas for how we should be acting as Christians (ideas which I simply don’t accept), he begins by sharing truth. Truth clearly presented from God’s Word. He has my attention. I didn’t think someone like this guy even read the Bible, much less presented some of it’s most basic principles so clearly. I find myself drawn in to this message. About the time he really has me, he transitions to the second half of his speech, the Socialist Jesus Show. Once again, I find myself disgusted with his ideas. But this time I am having trouble with something. These ideas are his application of the clear truth he had just shared. If I accept the truth but cannot buy into the ideas, I am left with a problem of conscience – what I am doing with this truth? I haven’t answered that question yet. I am truly thankful to Shane for challenging me to think about some things that I have not been considering in my life.

I will leave this post with a few quotes from the speech:

  • “Christianity has been obsessed with what happens after death.”
  • “We are called not only to make believers but to make disciples.”
  • “Born again again”-(speaking of his life growing up in church and church camps)
  • “A bible a candle and a copy of the matrix – emergent church”
  • “When asked to give an account of our lives, the questions will not be about doctrine”
  • “Our christianity had been so obsessed with what we believe that we have forgotten who we are.”
  • “Christianity has an image crisis”
  • We have been so obsessed with evangelism that it as come at the cost of discipleship”
  • “Our Christianity has become a mile long and an inch deep”
  • “If we begin to live out love thy neighbor as thyself capitalism won’t be possible and Marxism won’t be necessary.”
  • “In the example of Jesus we see that there is something worth dying for, bit there is nothing worth killing for.”
  • “North America did not invent Christianity, we just domesticated it.”
  • “I want a Christianity known nit for what we believe, but for how we live.”

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