On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Shane Claiborne is coming to Lehman Auditorium to speak at 10 a.m. about service and learning by relating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to our contemporary culture. He will also be speaking at a forum later that afternoon in Lehman.
As he walks out to speak, Claiborne will greet you with a physical appearance that might not be what you are expecting. He has long dreadlocks and usually dresses in baggy pants and a shirt (that he made himself).
Claiborne is a co-founder of The Simple Way in Philadelphia, PA. The Simple Way is a New Monastic community center for the people of Philadelphia. In an article from 2006, Claiborne compares Henry David Thoreau’s move to the woods to “live deliberately, to breathe deeply, and to suck out the marrow of life” and his and six other peoples’ move to Kensington as a vision to “love God, love people, and follow Jesus.”
Being in Philadelphia, he says, is an amazing opportunity to reach the community there. “This is what Jesus had in mind: folks coming together, forming close-knit communities and meeting each other’s needs—no kings, no major welfare systems, no presidents necessary. His is a theology and practice for the people of God, not a set of suggestions for empire.” The people of The Simple Way allow the kids of the neighborhood to stay and do homework. They also run around in fire hydrants on hot Philly days.
The people of this city of brotherly love live in a concrete jungle, so another thing they do at The Simple Way is plant gardens. They have at least half a dozen lots they are currently gardening on.
Claiborne is a graduate of Eastern University and continued on to do his gradate work at Princeton’s seminary. He interned with Willow Creek Community church in Wheaton, Illinois while doing his final academic work for Eastern University.
He also authored many books including “The Irresistible Revolution,” “Jesus For President” (which he co-wrote with Chris Haw), and many more.
Claiborne is an activist for nonviolence and promotes resources for the poor.
His experiences do not just end in America; he worked alongside Mother Theresa in Calcutta for ten weeks. He also has witnessed to people in Iraq through the Iraq Peace Team program. In Iraq, he would visit areas which had been recently bombed. He also visited hospitals with the victims of the bombings and their families and attended worship services while the war was still continuing.
Shane currently travels to speak to many different groups and writes about peacemaking, social justice and, of course, Jesus.
-Alicia Calkins, Feature Editor