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Monday, June 19, 2006

The Irresistible Revolution

I know, it's been a while since my last post. That electricity deal again...

I mentioned a while back, reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. It's really been messing with my head in terms of making me think about poverty and wealth and what I'm supposed to do with what I have materially. Tonight, I think I finally nailed what it means.

Tonight was our Bible study group's night to prepare and serve dinner for a local teen shelter. It really got me thinking a lot about what I read in Shane's book. While we sat and ate with these kids, one of the guys asked why we were doing it, etc, and my friend told him about our church. One guy sounded like he wanted to check it out, but the others sitting around us started a debate about God. I felt so bad for one girl, because she was a professing Christian, and the others were ganging up on her. To them, "Christian" meant being a judgmental jerk who wanted to send fire and brimstone on them for being heathens. She finally said, "Look, I don't want to fight anymore. Let's just drop it." I'll be honest-I didn't know what to say or do. How does one defend against such bad experiences, that for these people, were the truth of Christianity? I hoped, and prayed, that at least these people would see the love of Christ in us. We weren't there to judge, just to make them dinner, share a meal, and hang out.

I think prior to reading Shane's book, I would have tried to think of a clever argument or something, and then kicked myself for not having a great comeback. I still wish I'd had something to say to them that would have been a good witness sort of thing, but I'm hoping our actions spoke for themselves.

The other neat thing that came about with all of this is that when we were all hanging out, the guys noticed the basketball hoop and asked if the kids wanted to play. The director said that they didn't have a basketball because theirs were all lost or stolen or destroyed. My hubby jumped in the car and ran over to WalMart and bought some balls and things. When he walked in with the balls, I don't think I've ever seen such excitement at the news that those were their new balls.

I can't stop thinking about it. This may sound dumb, but I think it's a sort of picture of what Shane was trying to illustrate about the Christian life. They had a need, and there was an immediate response to physically meet the need. Not, "I'll pray about it," or "You should be grateful you got dinner," or "I'll see if we can find a way to do it." Just got up, went out, and bought the balls.

In Acts 2:45, in the description of the early church, it says,"Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." I always thought that was some radical thing like what Shane taught about. But if you juxtapose that with 2 Corin 8:13-15, it may be a lot simpler than that. "13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.""

As I think about the selection in 2 Corinthians, I think about that youth shelter-I think about the needs of people I know, needs I am capable of meeting. Maybe, rather than feeling like I have to radically change to be like Shane, it's as simple as recognizing needs in the world around me and just meeting those needs. The radical thing about it-which completely blows my mind-what if we all stepped up to that challenge? Not selling all our stuff and moving to the inner city or going to Africa, but just taking the time to notice the people around us and meeting their needs. Would anyone on earth have a need if we all worked together to help each other? Because truly, most of the needs we have are pretty simple.

Okay, off to ponder some more...


Heather Diane Tipton said...

oooh very cool post! there was actually something last week that was presented to me as someone else's need and I met it... not that I really have the money for it but I could meet it and I did. it was really cool

Danica/Dream said...


I love that. I was thinking more about this today, because I realized just how much of a passion I have for this stuff. And I was sorta mad that right now, it's not in my ability to help out at the center as a regular volunteer. But of course, God smacked me, and said, "Duh... just reach out to the ones around you." It's amazing how many little things we can do to help others without ever realizing it.