A Call to Love

16 04 2013

With the bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday we are reminded of the pain, suffering, and brokenness in the world.

I cannot begin to grasp or wrap my head around what type of person would do such a thing or what would drive an individual to commit such an evil act.  We must call a thing what it is…and the death, suffering, and pain that was dealt to those people cheering on their family, friends, and loved ones during an incredible, uplifting event, can be called nothing other than evil.

Seeing the pain and suffering plastered on the news…the wailing…the fear…the tears… the sorrow,

breaks my heart…

makes my stomach turn…

and makes me deeply angry.

Sisters and Brothers, these emotions are normal, I am sure of it.  And the emotion that usually takes control, at least for me, and consumes everything else is anger.  Which leads to seeking revenge…A clear sign that, indeed, violence simply begets more violence.

There must be another way…

A different way than this cycle of pain and suffering and death and negativity.

Amazingly there is another way.

The way of love.

The way that God wants us to choose… the way that God calls us to live.

We are called to love one another… to love all of creation regardless of race, class, sex, or species.

We are specifically called to love our enemies.  A difficult task indeed…a task that you can probably count on one hand ever actually seeing practiced.  And yet we must take Jesus and his words seriously.  As Shane Claiborne says, “When Jesus calls us to love our enemies, he doesn’t mean to kill them.”  And I’ll add, “Or hurt them, or degrade them, or seek revenge through them.”  We are called to love them.  A difficult, radical, seemingly impossible task, and yet it is our task.

My question is…

What if we did more loving and less judging?

What if individuals who commit these horrendously evil acts felt loved and a part of something greater than the hurt, individualism, pain, and separation that can be found on a daily basis?  Would they still feel moved to commit such acts if they saw love and grace daily?

What if instead of focusing on ‘Terror’ and ‘Fear’ we focused on Love and Relationships?

Maybe I’m being a bit idealistic…Maybe I don’t understand…Maybe I’m being a bit unrealistic…

Quite frankly though, I don’t care.

I’m tired of the way that our society and culture gives us; the way of separation, brokenness, and hate.

If God calls us to be unrealistic and idealistic then maybe we should give it a go, because our way clearly doesn’t work.

So, Brothers and Sisters, will we take the Call to Love seriously?  Or only when it benefits us and is easy to do?  Will we dwell in God’s promise of life even amidst death? Or will we dwell in the darkness of anger and revenge? Will we find our security in a God that forgives and loves unconditionally?  Or will we let ‘Terror’ and ‘Fear’ control our lives?

I pray that we can love.

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Book Review: Shane Claiborne “The Irresistible Revolution”

15 04 2013
"The Irresistible Revolution" By: Shane Claiborne

“The Irresistible Revolution” By: Shane Claiborne

What a truly moving, inspiring, spirit lifting, fire starting work this is.  Whew!  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?! Well, it is!

Claiborne’s book, The Irresistible Revolution, is somewhat of a biography/memoir/theological discourse/prophetic literature that will move the reader to action if they have a pulse.  Shane is as humble a servant of Christ as I have seen and truly lives by what he preaches.  In this book you will journey with Shane to India where he spends the summer working with Mother Teresa  in Calcutta, among the poorest of the poor, living in a leper colony.  You will join him in his struggle with the church and its many faults and how he comes to grips with it.  You will join him on a years internship at one of the biggest Mega-churches in the world, Willow Creek.  Claiborne then tries to discern where God is calling him next and how he can best follow Jesus and his teachings.  He decides with several other friends to open The Simple Way,  a house in downtown Philadelphia where they live among the hungry, the poor, and the homeless.  He shares of times that he slept on the sidewalks or in the parks in solidarity with the homeless.  He shares of many marches and protests that he has been a part of fighting for the poor and the hungry. He shares of being arrested for sleeping with and feeding the poor in a park in Philadelphia.  You will join him on a trip to Bagdad, Iraq just before the bombings of the Second Gulf War, in which he is peacefully protesting the use of violence.  He tells about hearing the bombs dropping around them and then visiting the hospitals and seeing the wounded children and innocent who were “collateral damage” and apologizing to them for his country’s actions.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Shane shares.

Even if you disagree with his stance on particular issues, it is very difficult not to take Shane and his faith seriously.  He is authentic and genuine.  He is also humble and does not present a ‘Holier than thou’ persona.  He is simply trying to live his life how Jesus lived his and how Jesus calls each of us to live.  Shane’s stories are simply him trying his hardest to love his neighbor, stand with the poor, the oppressed, the impoverished, and to love his enemies.

I found myself often saying, “YES! YES! Exactly!! Why doesn’t anybody else get this?!” And then the next page I’d be screaming, “NO!!!” because  I would feel the guilt and condemnation in my own heart of just picking and choosing to follow Jesus in ways that are easy or beneficial to me.

You will find yourself rejoicing in Claiborne’s work.

You will also feel very uncomfortable and convicted by Claiborne’s work.

Above all, Shane has a vision for the church and its role in the world today that is true to the Gospel and what Jesus has called us to do as his followers.  His vision is about as far away from what society and American culture tell us is our purpose in life, but so far, I’ve been extremely disappointed in what Society has taught and told us… and think maybe, just maybe, God’s way is the better way…

I fully recommend this book!!  Prepare for your heart to be opened and for your life to be changed if you read this book.

A link to buy the book if you wish: http://www.amazon.com/Irresistible-Revolution-Living-Ordinary-Radical/dp/0310266300/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366045631&sr=1-3&keywords=shane+claiborne