Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

My Carefully Calibrated Difference

September 15, 2007

I recently finished Sara Miles’ excellent new book Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Sara chronicles her surprising mid-life transformation from atheist to Christian and her calling to establish a food pantry in one of San Francisco’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Passionately committed to the unconditional welcome of Jesus’ Table, Sara and her food pantry volunteers embrace schizophrenics, drug addicts, little children, ex-cons, and sweet old ladies alike. One particular section of the book has really stuck with me:

So I’d sit down next to people and let them talk or cry; I’d listen and put my hands on them; at some point, I’d pray aloud, without really knowing where the words were coming from. It felt homey, not mysterious. But it usually made me cry too…

If my carefully calibrated difference from others wasn’t going to be the vitally important thing about me, then my identity was going to be bound up with all kinds of other people at their most vulnerable and unattractive…

It was my own weakness, my own confusion and hunger; it was everything I couldn’t be sophisticated and together about. Of course I was going to weep, and pray, with her.

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Shane Claiborne Interview

May 2, 2007

A few weeks ago I did an interview for the Justice and Compassion blog with one of my favorite author/activists Shane Claiborne. Here is the write-up from my conversation with Shane.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Shane Claiborne. Shane is a founding member of the New Monastic community the Simple Way and author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. While in college, Shane spent a summer in Calcutta working with Mother Teresa and in 2003, he traveled to Baghdad as part of the Iraq Peace Team.

In preparation for our telephone conversation, I had asked our blog participants to contribute questions. I read the questions to Shane and asked him to share his thoughts.

The first question was from Joe, “Ask him about making his own clothes. Yes, you heard me correctly. The guy. Makes. His own. Clothing.” Laughing, Shane explained, “I love making my clothes! My mom taught me; we sew together almost liturgically every Christmas the clothes for the next year.”

He shared that he caught the vision while living in Calcutta in a village of people with leprosy. Since they were completely cut off from the rest of society, they had to make their own clothes and shoes, grow their own food and be a fully self-sustaining community. Shane found himself mesmerized with the way of life that they had created, “a new society in the shell of the old.”
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The Early Church on Poverty & Wealth

February 7, 2007

“Their property held them in chains . . . chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.” – Cyprian, 300 A.D.

“The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you put into the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help but fail to help.” – Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

“You are not making a gift of your possession to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his.” – Ambrose of Milan, 340-397 A.D.

“Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs.” – John Chrysostom, 347-407 AD

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