By Jeff Craig and Matthew Woodrow
Christian author and activist Shane Claiborne implored Christians to radicalize their faith and their lives during his presentation in Moody Coliseum on Wednesday.
“We want a church that is fascinating. We want a church that looks like Jesus. We want a church that looks like the fruit of the spirit,” Claiborne said. “So people can taste how good that fruit is.”
Claiborne, wearing homemade green painter pants, a baggy white T-shirt and a brown bandana covering his dreadlocks, was the third and final featured speaker of Summit 2010. He began by addressing the disparity of lifestyles around the world.
“We live in a dysfunctional world where people are crushing grass to make biscuits, and others are gorging themselves to death,” Claiborne said.
Claiborne discussed the value of a simplistic lifestyle and how it can draw us closer to a Christ-like mentality. He used the reaction to the shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in 2006 that killed five children, and the subsequent display of forgiveness the Amish showed as an example of Jesus’ love for all – even one’s enemies.
“They see themselves as aliens in a strange world, who radiate a love in our community to show the world what God is like,” Claiborne said.
He told the audience that, as Christians, we have a responsibility to love and care for those at home and abroad. He emphasized that Christians need to act as a family.
“Everything in this world tells us to run from danger, from bad neighborhoods,” Claiborne said. “Jesus shows up and moves in to suffering from the time he was born – a refugee in the middle of Herod’s genocide.”
Claiborne’s also explored how Christians should consider economic issues, suggesting Christians should not put their hope in things that “moths can eat away” or things that “thieves can destroy.” He said the current economic recession was a chance for the church to “shine together.”
Claiborne said he enjoyed his time at ACU and the chance to speak at Summit.
“The thing I really love and admire about ACU is its mission statement,” Claiborne said. “The way Christ-centered attitudes and ministry are coupled together is very attractive to me – to love God and love our global community.”
Claiborne’s book Follow me to Freedom, which he co-authored with John M. Perkins, was the freshman common reading this year. For some freshman in attendance Wednesday, the chance to see Claiborne in person helped them better understand what he advocates in his book.
“Simplicity seems to be his big thing,” said Kevin Hoxworth, freshman business management major from Austin. “I really now see a lot of things I don’t need, his passion made it more convincing.”
Travis Ziegenbein, freshman youth and family ministry major from Houston, said he enjoyed hearing Claiborne’s presentation but disagreed with some of Claiborne beliefs about the economy and how the government should intervene in matters like business and healthcare.
“I’ve read his book and I enjoyed getting to hear from him in person,” Ziegenbein said. “It was more controversial than I thought it would be, but I agree with most of what he said.”
Claiborne concluded by saying that his lifestyle of simplicity is not for everyone, but emphasizing that everyone can discover what his or her individual call to service is.
“It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into each act,” Claiborne said.
Claiborne’s mother Pat Lafon traveled with him to Abilene. She described her son’s ministry as “fabulous.”
“I wish I could live more like that,” Lafon said. “I’ve always thought if I could be younger again I’d be more like Shane.”