I’m reading “Schools for Conversion: 12 Marks of New Monasticism” and it is rocking my world! Here is an excerpt form Shane Claiborne’s chapter:
The more I have gotten to know rich folks, the more I a convinced that the great tragedy in teh church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that rich Christians do not know the poor. A few years back I surveyed people who said they were “strong followers of Jesus.” Over 80% agreed with the statement, “Jesus spent much time with the poor.” Yet only 1 percent said that they themselves spent time with the poor.
It is much more comfortable to de-personalize the poor so that we do not feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that someone is on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes. … When we get the heaven and are separated into sheep and goats, I don’t believe Jesus is going to say, “When I was hungry you have a check to the United Way and they fed me,” or, “When I was naked you donated to the Salvation army and they clothed me.” Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He is seeking concrete actions of love: “you fed me…you visited me, … you welcomed me in… you clothed me…” (Matthew 25)
When the church becomes a place of brokerage rather than an organic community, she ceases to be alive. Brokerage turns the church into an organization rather than a new family of re-birth…. The church becomes a distribution center, a place where the poor coe to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. Both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get fed), but no one leaves transformed-no new community is formed.
People do not get crucified for charity. People get crucified for disrupting the status quo, for calling forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joinging them.
(talking about the early church in Acts) Redistribution was not systematically regimented but flowed naturally out of love of for God and neighbor. I am not a communist, nor am I a capitalist. As one person put it: “When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary.”