To read Shane Claiborne’s alteration from “spiritually starving” to a “holy mischief” is a self-transforming story (Claiborne 38, 61). Growing up within a church home that emphasized Christianity, by “entertain[ing]… with quirky songs and Velcro walls” was essentially debilitating him from recognizing whom Christ truly is and His calling for His people (38). Shane accounts the numerous amounts of times he was “born again”, the spiritual bulimia that caused him to stack up on Christian “stuff”, and his feeling of “disenchantment with the church” (44).
Claiborne’s culture taught him that as long as you were born again, you were going down the right path and that basically the church was amongst those 4 walls. Buffy Robbins, who Shane mentions in his story, is a tremendous and well-known youth speaker. Multiple times, at my Christian organization back at home, he has come to speak to our youth. I understood what Shane was speaking on when he stated that there really isn’t a “how to” guide on becoming a Christian. You are “taught… what Christians believe, but… [not] told how Christians live”, therefore he wasn’t aware what life was like and how to act outside of the physical church (37). All he knew growing up was that smoking, drinking, and having sex wasn’t what Christians do when they have a relationship with God. He didn’t know that soon he would find Jesus in an unknown place.
The Jesus that he found, from being immersed with the “less desired” folk, was a relationship that would never be broken. From visiting “the badlands” of the city, with his college friends, not even “in the halls of [his] Christian college” like he expected, Claiborne found Jesus. At that time the “Bible came to life” and he could truly understand what he was being taught all out those years – it now had sustenance (47). Experiencing the eviction of homeless women and children, sitting in with families and listening to stories, from partnering with fire marshals to keep the people living in the abandoned St. Ed’s church from being evicted, Shane and his friends “set [their] hearts on becoming the church [they] dreamed of” (58). Surprisingly he didn’t even feel as if he was “selling Jesus like a used-car salesman”; he was just doing what he was called to do (43).
The church is in a huge need of resurrection. Do they truly know what the people who are outside of their edifices need? Shane Claiborne realized that “God [is] in the abandoned places, in the desert of the city” (59). Becoming the church is what is required. You are to make “the body of Christ [come] alive, [not] trapped in stained-glass windows or books of systematic theology” (57). Claiborne thoroughly justifies that “God wants our help… not that God needs us but that God wants us” (61).