The Irresistible Revolution:
Living as an ordinary Radical

Home | Back

I started to like Shane Claiborne early on when I discovered he had the good fortune of ministering with Rich Mullins, as did I. He even used one of my favorite Rich Mullin’s quotes in his book. “I know “‘Vengeance is mine” saith the Lord,’ but I just want to be about the father's business.” (Rich was joking, of course.) And I knew I must take seriously Shane’s powerful words when I discovered he worked alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta for a while.

After being radically impacted by this book, I decided I would include some of my favorite quotes. May you receive what Rich (quoting Robert Frost) used to call an “immortal wound” that one never gets over and proves to be beneficial for all eternity!

To refer to the Church as a building is to call people 2 x 4's. (As in two by four)

I once heard a pastor say, “The church is like Noah's ark. It stinks, but if you get out of it, you'll drown.” We are the church. If she were perfect, we'd mess her up as soon as we joined.

Only Jesus would be crazy enough to suggest that if you want to become the greatest, you should become the least. Only Jesus would declare God's blessing on the poor rather than on the rich and would insist that it's not enough to just love your friends. I just began to wonder if anybody still believed Jesus meant those things He said.

...I believe in a God of scandalous grace. I have pledged allegiance to a King who loved evildoers so much He died for them, teaching us that there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for.

A pastor friend of mine said, “Our problem is that we no longer have martyrs. We only have celebrities.”

After Mother Teresa died, I was in an interview with some reporter who asked me if Mother Teresa's spirit will live on. I said, “To be honest, Mother Teresa died a long time ago, when she gave her life to Jesus. The joy and compassion and love that the world finds so magnetic are only Jesus, and that is eternal.”

So I did a little survey ….. I asked participants who claim to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80% said yes. I asked the same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2% said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what He did.

The lives of the 30,000 children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.

I read a study comparing the health of a society with its economics, and one of the things it revealed is that wealthy countries like ours have the highest rates of depression, suicide, and loneliness.

So if the world hates us, we take courage that it hated Jesus first. If you're wondering whether you'll be safe, just look at what they did to Jesus and those who followed him. There are safer ways to live than by being a Christian.

Dance until they kill you, and then we'll dance some more.

One of the texts that has always given me trouble was John 14:12: “Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” You shall do even greater things? Here's the son of the Almighty, God incarnate, telling us ragtag disciples that we will do the same things He has been doing. I don't know about you, but I haven't raised anyone from the dead lately….. I started to see the miracles were an expression not so much of Jesus’ mighty power as of His love. Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead, and a few years later, Lazarus died again. He fed the thousands, and the next day they were hungry again. It wasn't that Jesus healed a leper but that He touched a leper, because no one touched lepers. And the incredible thing about that love is that it now lives inside of us. We shall do even greater things because the love that lived in the radical Christ now lives within millions of ordinary radicals all over the planet.

There’s another person who felt the world killed the good in him, a young man who was a decorated Army veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. I remember reading the letters he wrote home from the war, in which he told his family how hard it was to kill. He told them he felt like he was turning into an animal because day after day it became a little easier to kill. His name was Timothy McVeigh. (He) became the worst domestic terrorist we have ever seen. No doubt his mind had been tragically deranged by the myth of redemptive violence. He bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in hopes that complacent Americans could see what collateral damage looks like and cry out against bloodshed everywhere, even in Iraq. Instead, the government that had trained him to kill, killed him, to teach the rest of us that it is wrong to kill. (Emphasis mine) Dear God, liberate us from the logic of redemptive violence. (Violence to solve problems – for an alternative see Luke 6:27-28.)

The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble He seems to get me into.



Home | Back