341: RED CHRISTIAN DOCUMENTS #29: BIG BUSINESS (SHANE CLAIBORNE, US, 2006)

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, a blog that dares to go where no other blog has gone before, looking for truth and exposing hypocrisy and ridiculousness in the church (and there’s enough there to keep me going for years!)
Today I’m quoting one of the few evangelicals that does not bring me out in a rash. Shane Claiborne is a Southern Methodist and an ex Jesus freak  and he impresses me. He believes in miracles, heaven and hell and all that guff I gave up  believing in when I was about 6; but at heart both he and I know it’s what you do, not what you believe, that really counts. And what Shane does is amazing. No wonder he has been labelled as America’s leading radical Christian writer and activist.

Naturally he overemphasizes the personal side of the faith rather than the social, as is only to be expected for an evangelical, but on a couple of pages in his work ‘The Irresistible Revolution’, Shane “goes structural”. He lets slip his real feelings. As an honest man, it’s the only conclusion he can come to when he lives among the poor and oppressed of America’s industrial wasteland: Capitalism sucks!
I hope you get something from this library of Red Christian documents!”

Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

Red Christian documents #29:

Big Business

by Shane Claiborne

As we practice hospitality, there comes a point where the suffering around us drives is to ask what it would take to reimagine the world. We’ve all heard the saying, “Give someone a fish and they’ll eat for a day, but teach them to fish and they’ll eat for the rest of their life.” The problem is that nobody is asking who owns the pond. As we consider economics, some of us will give people fish. Others will teach people to fish. But still others must be looking at who owns the pond and who polluted it, for these are also essential questions for our survival. We must storm the fence that has been built around the pond and make sure everyone can get to it, for there are enough fish for all of us.

A homeless mother once told us that there is a big difference between managing poverty and ending poverty. “Managing poverty is big business. Ending poverty is revolutionary.” Too often, the church has chaplained the corporate global economy, caring for the victims of the systems. As long as we uncritically manage the collateral damage of the market economy the world can continue to produce victims. But as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said during his age of injustice, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, but we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

We cannot look at the sick without looking at what is causing the sickness, that sin is both personal and social.

When we live in the wreckage of an old industrial neighbourhood that has lost over two hundred thousand jobs and now has seven hundred abandoned factories, we start to ask questions about the corporate global economy, especially when we see the same companies abuse other “neighbours” overseas. Dr Martin Luther King put it like this: “We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside…but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars  needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved.”
(Emphasis added)

Source:
(i) Claiborne, S. “The Irresistible revolution. Living as an ordinary radical” Zondervan (2006) p.150-153
(ii) King, Martin Luther “A time to break the silence” (Sermon, Riverside Church, New York 4/4/67)

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Structural ‘sin’
Alphabetical index for ‘Crimes of the bourgeoisie’ posts and ‘Red Christian documents’ Posts

[340, i&l. t&c]

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