Author and Christian social activist Shane Claiborne is a master of telling stories. He used those skills to captivate the Concordia community April 15 with his message “The Scandal of Grace.”
When Claiborne took the stage, he described his first experience with homelessness in Philadelphia.
“It’s a story that begins with seeing each other,” he says.
He showed hospitality to a homeless woman and, weeks later, she returned to let him know how their interaction completely changed her view on life. She excitedly told him she had found Christ again.
Throughout the evening he told more stories that generated laughter, sadness and awareness to the issues the world faces today. Claiborne’s stories included his experiences in Iraq, being arrested for feeding the hungry, and the relationships he has had the benefit of building with those on the margins of society around the world.
“Christianity for us is not about new ideas but about new eyes,” he says.
In 1995, Claiborne founded The Simple Way, a faith-based community in Philadelphia that helps create and connect faith communities nationally and internationally. The community hosts numerous events that include weekday morning prayers, youth football leagues and Nights of Celebration.
“I get a lot of inspiration from the folks I’m surrounded by,” he says. “Community is about surrounding ourselves with the people that we want to become.”
Claiborne’s stories led to conversation with event attendees. Inspired, there were emotional inquires about how he draws strength to continue his work, how he found his vocation, and how his journey has impacted others.
“Jesus didn’t just come to teach us how to die. Jesus came to teach us how to live,” he says.
As part of his campus visit, Claiborne sat in on Dr. Jacqueline Bussie's (religion) Liberation Theology and Social Justice class and presented the homily at chapel April 16.