Chapter 8 of Claiborne’s book is titled “Jesus Made Me Do It.” This chapter focuses on some of Shane’s experiences upon his return from Iraq. It is essentially a chapter on living in our comfort zones.
In Philadelphia’s Love Park, Shane would hang out with homeless folks and pass out food often. The city then passed a law making it illegal to sleep in the park, to ask for money in the park, and illegal to hand out food in the park. He pondered what it meant to submit to authority and still uphold to God’s law of love. He answer this question by having a church service in the park. They sang and prayed and even shared in the breaking of bread and communion together. Soon after communion they continued by bringing in pizzas, and even after that everyone slept in the park overnight. During the night the police came and arrested everyone.
In court, Shane wore a shirt that said, “Jesus was homeless.” The judge asked him about it and Shane quoted, “foxes have holes and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” The judge later sided with Shane and his friends stating that “if it weren’t for people who broke unjust laws, we wouldn’t have the freedom that we have.”
Shane ends the chapter by saying there are safer ways to live than by being a Christian. It was a radical love that Jesus brought to this earth and following it is a high calling.
I have one problem with all this. That is that it is far different to fight to have an unjust law removed then it is to purposely break the law. I just cannot think of how Shane saw this as submitting to authority and also honoring God.
That being said, he is right about Christianity not being easy. I experience easy Christianity everyday. Seminary, working at a church, being married to a Christian, and etc. This isn’t reminiscent of the difficulties Jesus and the apostles encountered when bringing the message of good news to the world.