MATERIALISM

Jesus said that life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. As American Christians we tend not to believe that. The proof is in our real estate, closets, garages and rented storage spaces. If we do believe that it is for some one else. The truth is when you die two things will happen to your stuff. One is a yard sale the second is a dumpster. Get rid of stuff now, save the preoccupation and start serving others. For goodness sake how long do you want to dust knickknacks?

To drive some sobering thoughts home, here are some quotes from Shane Claiborne on us and the poor:

Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy, too. But I guess that’s why God invented highlighers, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time wit the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

Only Jesus would be crazy enough to suggest that if you want to become the greatest, you should become the least. Only Jesus would declare God’s blessing on the poor rather than on the rich and would insist that it’s not enough to just love your friends. I just began to wonder if anybody still believed Jesus meant those things he said.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

I’m just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, “When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle. One of the verses I have grown to love is the one where Jesus is preparing to leave the disciples and says, “I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Servanthood is a fine place to begin, but gradually we move toward mutual love, genuine relationships. Someday, perhaps we can even say those words that Ruth said to Naomi after years of partnership: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17).

Shane Claiborne

God’s people are not to accumulate stuff for tomorrow but to share indiscriminately with the scandalous and holy confidence that God will provide for tomorrow. Then we need not stockpile stuff in barns or a 401(k), especially when there is someone in need.

Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?

If the devil can’t steal your soul, he’ll just keep you busy doing meaningless church work.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

What if evangelical mega churches became known around the world for things like providing water access for entire countries or fighting to end the AIDS pandemic? Imagine what integrity that would give to the good news we preach, especially the gospel that Jesus declares is good news to the poor.

Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical