Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shane Claiborne on Suffering and Sacrifice

Shane Claiborne is founding partner of The Simple Way, an intentional community in Kensington, PA. He is the best selling author of The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President. He is one of the pioneers of the New Monastic movement and loves the circus.

There’s so much in our culture that teaches us to move away from suffering and to move away from people who don’t look like us and to move out of neighborhoods where there’s high crime and things like that. And yet the heart of the Gospel is that that God hears the suffering, enters into the suffering. Hebrew Scriptures are filled with this. One of the first stories we have is God hears the cry and the pain of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt and rescues them out of their slavery and over and over you hear this theme in Scripture that God is close to the poor and hears the cry of the oppressed. 

We don’t need to be doing this out of guilt or duty but out of this is what we’re made for. Mother Teresa had a great line when this journalist said “I couldn’t do what you do for a million dollars. You’re such a saint.” And she said “I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars either.” What you begin to discover is that we’re made to live for something bigger than ourselves and I think that’s what we’re about and what we’re discovering. Isaiah says so brilliantly, when we spend our lives on behalf of the suffering, our healing comes and our light begins to shine as well. So it’s not only life-giving to others but it’s life-giving to us. I think in a lot of wealthy countries we pursue other dreams – the American dream or the Wall Street dream or the Canadian dream. We settle short of the kind of life that God wants for us. We see those patterns leave us incredibly empty. In some of the wealthiest countries in the world you have some of the highest rates of depression, loneliness and suicide. We’re really talking about Jesus saying I really came to give you life to the fullest and not settling for anything short of that.


DrsMyhre said...

This evening when I should have been home cooking dinner I was still in the hospital, holding a shrimp of a little baby with multiple anomalies who probably won't survive another month, and I had earlier made her mom cry because I told her the truth, and I was losing track of the purpose . . so thanks for posting this, I needed to read it tonight.

Ordinary Radical said...

Oh man. You are in the front lines of suffering. May Jesus meet you in it, becuase He is there too. Thanks for sharing.