Shane Claiborne is an original voice, a creative spirit, in a gathering movement of young people known as the “new monastics.” With virtues like simplicity and imagination, they are engaging great contradictions of our culture — beginning with the gap between the churches they were raised in, the needs of the poor, and the “loneliness” they find in our culture’s vision of adulthood.

Some interesting quotes from his piece on Downward Mobility

Basil the Great, writing in the fourth century, put it this way: “When someone strips a man of his clothes, we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not — should not he be given the same name? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute.”

Or, in the words of Dorothy Day, “If you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor.” Should we not, then, return our stolen goods with humility, like a child returning a stolen candy bar to the grocery store clerk? Should we not cry out, in the words of St. Vincent de Paul: “May the poor man forgive me the bread I give him”?


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