Monday, February 28, 2011

Shane Claiborne on Prayer, Liturgy and Social Justice

Shane Claiborne, an author who is one of the founding members of  The Simple Way community in Philadelphia, recently published a great piece on the value of integrating liturgy and prayer with our works of social justice.  Shane, who has spoken on Emerging Christianity at conferences in April 2009 and April 2010 sponsored by the Center for Action and Contemplation, is a pioneer in the New Monasticism movement and strong advocate for nonviolence and service to the poor.

Here are excerpts of the article, co-authored with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, entitled Shane Claiborne on a New Way to Pray.  The piece appeared in Relevant magazine.
It has been said we should live with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. We have to connect our faith to the world we live in, not just use it as a ticket into heaven or an excuse to ignore the hells around us.

We admire folks like Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day because they lived and proclaimed a faith that makes sense of our whole lives. But we don’t often stop to ask, “What kind of community and daily life made people like that possible in this world?”

In our own attempts to integrate action and contemplation, faith and practice, we found our way into new monastic communities. Through works of mercy on our streets and peacemaking in conflict zones around the world, our communities have been known for their activism. But our communities have also learned action alone can become hollow and depressing. We set out to change the world … and then we realized we couldn’t even change ourselves. Our passion for justice has brought us face to face not only with the world’s brokenness, but with our own limitations.

It is within this tension that we have relearned what it means to pray.

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