Quote(s) of the Week: Economics of Rebirth
I have been throughly enjoying the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. He writes in a down to earth way, yet with a rich and deep understanding of the issues. So my quote(s) of the week come from his book, which has already become one of my favorites of 2007.
“Layers of insulation separate the rich and the poor from truly encountering one another. There are the obvious layers like picket fences and SUV’s, and there are the more subtle ones like charity. Tithes, tax-exempt donation, and short-term mission trips, while they can accomplish some good, can also function as outlets that allow us to appease our consciences and still remain a safe distance from the poor.”
“When the church becomes a place of brokerage rather than an organic community, she ceases to be alive. She ceases to be something we are, the living bride of Christ. The church becomes a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. Both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get clothed and fed), but no one leaves transformed. No radical community is formed. And Jesus did not set up a program but modeled a way of life that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors (all economic words). That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems. It spread like disease – through touch, through breath, through life. It spread through people infected by love.”
“It’s important to understand that redistribution comes from community, not before community. Redistribution is not a prescription for community. Redistribution is a description of what happens when people fall in love with each other across class lines. When the Scripture tells the story of the early church in the book of Acts, it does not say that they were of one heart and mind because they sold everything. Rather, they held all in common precisely because they were of one heart and mind, as rich and poor found themselves born again into a family in which some had extra and others were desperately in need. Redistribution was not systematically regimented but flowed naturally out of a love for God and neighbor. I am not a communist, not am I a capitalist. As Will O’Brien said, “When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary.”
Do you see why I like the book so much?