Why Claiborne thinks we need revert back to a culture of giving:
E.V. Hill, that old African-American evangelist-preacher told a story about a little old lady who sat at the front row of his church. When he’d get up and preach about all of the things that were wrong in the world, this lady would say, “Get to the good news.” He would preach about injustice and oppression, and she would murmur to herself, “Get to the good news, Pastor.” He would talk about what happened on Good Friday on that old rugged cross, and she would say, “Get to the good news.” So when he would get to talking about Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead, she would stand up and shout, “Now that’s it! Preach that, preacher!”
The good news is that we have a God who loves us even when we’re full of wickedness. It’s a message that says even a wicked people can repent. I think that all the bad news we hear all around us and read in the newspapers is a beautiful opportunity for the church to shine. This is what is happening in the Gospel story. The times were bad. John the Baptist just got put in jail. But in verse 14 it says that after John was put in prison, Jesus preached the good news that “the kingdom of God is near” all over the town. That seems a little odd to me. I wonder how I’d feel if I got locked up and all my community mates would go out on the streets, singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made!” But you see, Jesus knew the end of the story; it’s almost as if Jesus was laughing at Herod, because he knew in the end that mercy will triumph, that God will triumph. It’s no coincidence, I think, that the first folks to leave everything to follow Jesus were the marginalized: teenagers, prostitutes, fishermen. Rome’s dream had failed them. They wanted something more to live for, or die for. The first folks to die for Jesus were people who had nothing else to lose except for the heavy yoke that Rome had laid on their backs. (Read more)
Published with permission from The Simple Way. Read more at Converge Magazine. Shane Claiborne will be the Keynote Speaker at Missions Fest VancouverJanuary 27 & 28 2012 as well as Missions Fest Halifax in March.