If you haven't read The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, read it now!
Shane Claiborne spoke in a general session at the NPC, the conference I went to last week, and he was brilliant as usual. His words sparked such emotion in me, fed my imagination dreams of community and action. He inspired me so much... but it's just too much.
I want so badly to be free to just pick up and go somewhere... somewhere like inner-city Los Angeles or to an orphanage in Haiti. I'd love to make things "easy" and just go soewhere with obvious and unescapable poverty where I wouldn't have to get creative just to get to know poor people, but I just can't... my sins have caught up with me. I am now bound by the chains of student loans, loans which funded the education I needed just to realize how bad it was to spend $100,000 on myself (I guess you really don't need an education for that). I am now dedcated and obligated to making money, to earning profit, to paying my debts. It's not that I dodn't think that youth ministry is good, it's not even that I don't think that God has called me to Youth Ministy but I just hate the burden of needing to make money and not having the freedom to give of myslef in the ways I dream that I can. My student loans are steeling my imagination...
It can happen to anyone. We innocently enter into something, into an obligation, into a sort of covenant and slowly but surely we realize just how much of ourselves we have truly given and dedicated to that something. We find ourselves giving unto Caesar that which is God's and finding that there's not much left for God. Your sin catches up to you. Eventually you have to pay up.
Now, I know I am being negative, rpobably too negative. I believe that God sent me to Azusa Pacific University. I don't regret going there, especially since my experience there is what has given me these dreams and passions. I believe God has called me into Youth Ministry and eventually I'll see why. But am I clothing the naked? Am I feeding the poor? am I visiting the prisoner? (matthew 25).
Think of what I could do if I were free from debt and free to go and free from this pattern of profit taking and payment making. I think God knew what he was talking about when he told us to "come out from her, my people!" (Revelation 18:4) God knew what great things the church could do if she was free from the economic system.
So what would Shane Claiborne say to a guy like me? I might just write him a letter.
Can't speak for Shane, but I know what I would tell you. Raise up a generation of youth who are passionate about serving the poor. Then you've multiplied your effectiveness as well.
That's encouraging. I'll work on it.
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