Friday, August 05, 2005

A conversation with a young radical

Blogging the SMC festival

After lunch this old radical invited young radical Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way over for a visit. One of the founders of the Simple Way, next February Shane is publishing with Zondervan a book called The Irresistible Revolution.

Shane is an interesting character. He’s evangelical to the core and a radical living among the poor in Philadelphia. He’s had a goods time working with a group of young editor’s at Zondervan.

Zondervan is committed to publishing the book but they’ve put together a team of lawyers in case they get sued for what Shane says in the book.

Shane says there is a whole group of young evangelicals who are looking for models of how to live out their faith.

I’m glad to hear that not all my evangelical brothers and sisters are enamored of right wing politics.

What does a young radical do when he publishes a book. He makes sure the book is copyrighted by the Simple Way, a nonprofit, that will give away all the money that he makes on the book.

Zondervan couldn’t believe it. When they finally did believe it they decide to give away some of the money they make on the book.

This world needs more evangelical radicals. Young and old.

A healer of machines

Blogging the SMC festival

Rose, a tiny young woman from The Simple Way, an eight-year-old community planted in a poor section of Philadelphia gave a brief history of the community.

A decade ago there was a big housing crisis in Philadelphia. (Still is). Thirty homeless families squatted in an abandoned Catholic church in a neighborhood called Kensington. The bishop wanted to kick them out. A group of Eastern College students began to befriend the squatters, rallying to their support although eventually they were evicted.

Ten of the Eastern students formed a community and decided to settle in Kensington. They now own two houses.

All of them come from evangelical backgrounds but as one of their founders, Shane, says, ‘It’s really been our neighbors who are teaching the kingdom.”

A handful of people with lots of visitors, “The Simple Way believes in living authentically small in a way that is visible,” says Shane.

For instance, one of their members, Justin, tells the story of their car mechanic telling them about Adrian, a mother with three children who had just become homeless. The Simple Way folks contacted Adrian and took her and her children in. ”It’s cool to provide some hospitality,” says Justin.

One day while they were driving Adrian around to look at houses for her to rent, a city bus clipped the door of their car, driving the door forward and ruining it.

When they brought it to their mechanic they told him what had happened and told him the progress Adrian was making.

“I’m going to fix your car door for free,” he said. “You guys are healers and I’m a healer of machines.”

Bringing our praise and longings

Blogging SMC festival 1

Reba Place is leading the worship this morning. David Janzen, 60-something, and a group of 20-something folks serves as singers, drummers, and guitarists as we pour out our praise and longings.

Paul Rhode and Heather Munn are sitting next to me. Yesterday morning as I sat in my chair, keeping my leg up, writing on my laptop, I saw them moving hither and yon, gentle servants, preparing this place for the festival.


“Thank you, Lord for the beauty of creation, for the purple and red sunrise this morning.”

“Put your loving healing hands upon us…”

“Enrich everyone one here.

“We pray for this broken and warring world…”

“Let us continue to exalt you with righteous fellowship, Father.”