Shane Claiborne

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Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne is a leader of Red Letter Christians and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of Jesus for President. His newest book is Executing Grace: Why It is Time to Put the Death Penalty to Death.[1]

Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, 
social justice, and Jesus, and is the author of several books 
including "The Irresistible Revolution," "Jesus for President," and his 
newest book "Executing Grace." He is the visionary
leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and co-director of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.


Red Letter Christians

Christians Against Christian Nationalism Statement

Shane Claiborne signed the Christians Against Christian Nationalism statement, which says in part:[3]

"Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation."

Nonviolence or Non-Existence: Choosing Nonviolence

March and Action Washington, DC September 21-22.

As part of the CNV Action Week, Campaign Nonviolence will solemnly march from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Memorial to the White House on Saturday, September 22. Join Rev. Lennox Yearwood, George Martin, Lisa Sharon Harper, Shane Claiborne, Dr. Kit Evans-Ford, Rev. John Dear and many others to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination and to take action for change today. We will mobilize in the spirit of Dr. King’s proclamation the night before he died: “The choice is no longer violence or nonviolence; it’s nonviolence or non-existence.”[4]

White House arrest


Shane Claiborne June 26, 2018 ·

BREAKING... Eleven faith leaders have been arrested at the White House. Here is our statement from today's witness.

Those arrested were: Rev. William Barber, Shane Claiborne, Don Golden, executive director of Red Letter Christians; Rev. Adam Taylor, Executive Director of Sojourners; Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, Rev. Alex Dyer; Rev. Chaz Howard, UPenn Chaplain; Rev. Doug Pagitt, Vote Common Good; Noel Castellanos, executive director, Christian Community Development Association; Rev. William Gipson; and Jane Saari.


As members of the clergy, we have made vows to proclaim the truth of Scripture and lead people of faith in making sound moral choices in their private and public lives. Today we joined together in a prayer of defiance outside the White House to demonstrate that we will not cooperate with policies that separate families. We invite others to join us by taking direct action at places in our communities where the policy violence of this administration is being executed.

League of Revolutionaries for a New America

Shane Claiborne is very close to the League of Revolutionaries for a New America.

Border trip

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, wrote Aug 1, 2019.

(Religion New Service, July 30, 2019) — Sixteen years ago, when I and other human rights advocates were deported from Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s regime just days before its collapse, we were welcomed into a United Nations refugee camp on the Jordanian border, where we received medical attention, food and accommodations in spacious air-conditioned tents.

The same can’t be said for those staying at the makeshift camp at the U.S. border in Juarez, Mexico, where 200 migrants from Central America and Africa have found temporary shelter.

When we arrived there on Sunday (July 28), we met migrants in the dirt courtyard outside a block building without air conditioning and heard their stories under the desert sun.

I had traveled to Juarez with fellow leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Revs. William J. Barber II, Liz Theoharis and Robin Tanner, as well as Imam Omar Suleiman of the Yaqeen Institute, Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism and Shane Claiborne of the Red Letter Christians network.

We were there at the invitation of the Border Network for Human Rights, a grassroots advocacy group that has organized in the borderlands for more than 20 years.

In each of our religious traditions, we minister to families in the midst of marriage and child-rearing, sickness and death, economic hardship and unexpected tragedy. The migrants we met in Juarez have faced challenges that would threaten any family. They shared stories of gang violence, domestic abuse and political turmoil in their home countries, along with the trials of their precarious journeys through Mexico.[5]

Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign


Shane Claiborne September 17, 2015 ·

UPDATE: The Tent City has now moved inside a church building, and a generous donor has given at least one house. The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign continues the fight for dignified, affordable housing for all...

Homeless families have now set up a shantytown just a few miles from where the Pope will visit in 10 days. The group led by Cheri Honkala and our friends at the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign is comprised mostly of homeless moms and kids, including 2 newborn babies. The Tent City is both an act of desperation, and a courageous effort to expose the real tragedy of homelessness among mothers and children in our city and throughout the country. The Tent City is a critique of the millions being spent on the papal visit, while many still suffer from poverty and homelessness. The families are calling their shantytown the "Church of the Poor" -- provoking the Pope's powerful statement that he hopes for a Church that is poor and "for the poor." Let us hope the Pope's visit means permanent housing for these families and the hundreds of other families just like them.

Sustainable Faith conference

April 2010 Danielle Shroyer spoke at the Sustainable Faith conference in Florida. I’ll be joined by Shane Claiborne, Spencer Burke and Cheri Honkala. The primary question around which we’ll be gathering is, “How can we be sustainably committed to justice over the long haul and not become overwhelmed by the enormity of it’s scope and size?” I’ll be delivering one of the keynotes, tying in themes of hope, God’s boundary-breaking.[6]

2015 US Social Forum


Shane Claiborne Invites Everyone to the 2015 US Social Forum.

Published June 5, 2015.

Shane Claiborne is a founder and board member of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. As a student, Shane worked alongside the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, which is now the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (An anchor organization of the USSF), during a church takeover to help house homeless families in the Kensington community. This experience is highlighted in his book, The Irresistible Revolution.

Shane invites all of us to join the US Social Forum in Philadelphia or San Jose this June.

12 NY Faith & Justice Highlights from 2007!

Shane Claiborne, Willie Baptist, Obery Hendricks and others lit us up with vision and challenged us to see Jesus through the eyes of the poor. Thank you, Suzana Andrade for letting your vision become reality among us. Your risk blessed many. [7]

Inspired by Kensington Welfare Rights Union

The Simple Way provides Kensington residents with emergency services, housing and food. Claiborne founded the organization in 1998 with some fellow students from Eastern University. They were inspired by the Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) a group of Kensington mothers led by anti-poverty advocate Cheri Honkala, who used an abandoned church to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness a few years earlier.

According to Claiborne, KWRU hung a banner in front of the church that said, “How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?” As a Christian, that was particularly memorable to him.[8]

The takeover of St. Edward's Church

The takeover of St. Edward's Church had a history behind it according to Liz Theoharis an organizer from the Kensington Welfare Rights Union. In 1999 the KWRU helped to found the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign.

In May 2003 Liz Theoharis and Willie Baptist established the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary in New York City with Chris Caruso, Amy Gopp, Dawn Plummer and Alix Mariko Webb.

In 2006, working with Joe Strife and other faith-rooted organizers in the student group Empty the Shelters Theoharis recruited students from Villanova, University of Pennsylvania and other colleges. The student activity centered on a house called Jubilee which was part of the Life Center Association, a network of intentional community co-housing created by the Movement for a New Society - social justice movement led by among others Dale T. Irvin president of New York Theological Seminary.

With the help of this network which included William Sloane Coffin Baptist and Theoharis were able to institutionalize the work of ending poverty at Union Theological Seminary under the administration of president Joseph Hough.

Also inspired by the St. Edward's takeover some students from Eastern University including Shane Claiborne formed The Simple Way, which went on to "become a national leader in raising issues of poverty and justice in the Evangelical community and beyond."

Since that time the church has been the home of The Simple Way. Shane Claiborne and his wife Mary Jo were married there as were two other The Simple Way founders Michael Brix and Michelle Brix.

Shane Claiborne writes:

It was at St. Ed's that I was born again...again.[9]

Meeting Cheri Honkala

Shane Claiborne met Cheri Honkala in 1995 when Claiborne and other students from Eastern University helped Honkala's people helped 70 homeless families occupy St. Edwards Cathedrdal. "Cheri was one of my original teachers and mentors into justice...Cheri helped open my eyes to the fact that the world is not the way it should be...The experience was transformative on my politics and my theology and me as a person" [10]

Still Evangelical?

Still Evangelical? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning is a new book edited by Mark Labberton, the president of Fuller Seminary. He brings together a number of people to tackle the “evangelical identity crisis” head-on by discussing the meaning of the movement in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. The contributors are Lisa Sharon Harper, Karen Swallow Prior, Mark Young, Robert Chao Romero, Soong-Chan Rah, Allen Yeh, Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Mark Galli, Shane Claiborne, Jim Daly, and Tom Lin.

Promoting Illegal Immigration & Refugee Resettlement

World Relief Logo

Shane Claiborne signed a letter to President Trump written by World Relief.[11] titled "Top evangelical leaders and pastors from all 50 states urge action to help vulnerable immigrants" which lamented a decrease in refugees entering the United States, and requested amnesty for DACA recipients.


"Dear President Trump and Members of Congress,
"As Christian leaders, we have a commitment to caring for the vulnerable in our churches while also supporting just, compassionate and welcoming policies toward refugees and other immigrants. The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s love and concern for the vulnerable, and also challenges us to think beyond our nationality, ethnicity or religion when loving our neighbor.
"We are committed to praying for you, our elected leaders, just as Scripture mandates (1 Timothy 2:1-2). In particular, we pray that you will not forget the following people as you craft our nation’s laws and policies:
"Dreamers. Roughly 700,000 young people are poised to lose their right to work lawfully in the U.S., not to mention their dreams of a future in this country—the country they were brought to as children, without choice. Our prayer is that these young people would be allowed to continue contributing to our society without fear of deportation.
"Refugees. We are troubled by the dramatic reduction in arrivals of refugees to the United States, which declined from 96,874 in 2016 to just 33,368 in 2017. Based on arrivals so far in this fiscal year, the United States is on track to admit the lowest number of refugees since the formalization of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in 1980. This, at a time when there are more refugees in the world than ever before in recorded history. Our prayer is that the U.S. would continue to be a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution.
"Persecuted Christians. Refugees of all faiths and nationalities deserve our welcome, for they (like all human beings) are made in the image of God. We are particularly aware, though, of the Christian refugees and other minorities facing persecution in countries like Iraq, Iran and Syria. Admission of Christian refugees to the U.S. from these three countries has declined by 60%. We pray that those facing religious persecution would be protected overseas as well as in the U.S.
"Families Waiting for Reunification. God ordained the family as the cornerstone of society, and we believe that our country is stronger when our citizens can be quickly reunited with their close family members. For some U.S. citizens, the waiting period can be years or even decades. We pray you will respect the unity of the family.
"We are mindful of the difficulty of serving in public office and are grateful for your service. We ask that God would grant you wisdom and courage as you confront these and various other complex policy issues in the days and months ahead.


Justice Conference 2012

At the Justice Conference 2012 in Portland, Ore., Shane Claiborne, a Christian activist for nonviolence and service to the poor, shared a story of his outreach visit to Iraq during the war.

“We were having a birthday party for a 13-year-old girl when bombs started falling, and we thought we need to end this party, but another girl said ‘Our laughter is more powerful than bombs,’” Claiborne recalled. Later he said, “We need to be known for love.”

Claiborne was joined for his talk at the conference by Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Cohen was also against the war, and, though he and Claiborne may not share the same faith, they agree on their belief in nonviolence, which is a justice issue for them.

Said Cohen, “I got the same vision, but I ain’t got the preacher in me.”

He and Claiborne were two of dozens to speak on a variety of justice issues, from war to sex trafficking to poverty to gender equality to race issues. And, though the speakers and attendees hailed from diverse backgrounds, they agreed upon the universal theme of making the world more just.

The second annual Justice Conference drew 4,000 strong, quadrupling the number from last year’s inaugural event in Bend, Ore. And it’s going to the East Coast next year.

Ken Wytsma is the visionary behind the conference, holding last year’s event in the city where he lives and works. He has been teaching classes on justice at Kilns College-School of Theology for years, and he has preached on the topic of justice at Antioch Church, where he is the founding pastor.

But last year he wanted to dive into real life.

“I had a desire to look beyond the text book definition of justice, to actually practicing it,” Wytsma said.

He shared his vision with fellow pastors, teachers, theologians, professors and activists, who then joined him in a conference setting for communal dialogue on what it means to live a just life.

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