Chapter 11 of Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution is titled “Making Revolution Irresistible.”
He begins the chapter talking about how he rebelled from “church” by joining social activist causes. Quickly he felt, “a self-righteousness mirroring that of conservative Christianity. I felt an aggressiveness and judgementalism reminiscent of that which I had grown to despise in the church.” He was fighting for issues and what changed for him was when he began fighting for faces, people, not issues. “That’s when things are transformed, when people become humans, neighbors, family.”
For Claiborne everything changed when he was able to put a humanity to something that feels larger than life. This happened especially during his time in Iraq. His time there humanized the war…even for me. He says, “degrees of separation allow us to destroy human beings we do not know except as the enemy.” A reference to 2nd Samuel 21:1-14 speaks well to this idea. He talks about a woman named Rizpah (Saul’s concubine) and how she tried to cover her son’s dead bodies who were killed by David’s men. Word of this spread fast and quickly to King David. When he hears about this he provides the bodies a proper burial. It was the humanity that touched David and changed Shane.
It is often hard for us to see faces of big things like aids, war, starvation, malnutrition. It is not often in my day that I seem to care about such things and I think Shane makes a great point by saying that they are issues to me. They have no humanity or faces in my mind.
I wonder how to respond so that we do see faces to these issues…and I wonder how that might change us.