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Shane Claiborne's Demons

The lanky, likeable standard-bearer of Christian Marxism has jumped the shark. Someday a PhD student in early 21st century evangelicalism is going to blow the dust off a flash-drive containing Shane Claiborne’s latest conniption and posit that this was the beginning of the end of the revolution. Irresistible? Hardly. What has Claiborne’s handspun knickers in a twist? Presumably, it’s this “Aha!” moment from yesterday. As it turns out, if you remove the largest entitlements from the federal budget (Medicare, Medicaid and social security) military spending is suddenly a much larger percentage than before. Claiborne has long donned sackcloth and ashes over “militarism” (e.g. hospitals for veterans, homes for soldiers, and the FBI). But this time he goes further, blaming “militarism” for America’s impending bankruptcy. He knows better. I’ve personally explained it to him. Also, there is evidence to suggest he has the ability to read, which means he has access to such authoritative sources as reports from the Congressional Budget Office that acknowledge that neither “militarism” nor the Constitutional requirement that government protect its citizens is causing the debt crisis. But, I suppose when self-deluding liberal activists acknowledge the plain fact about our national spending problem they must turn to the only form of government they don’t like. Strangely, rather than continue to lie to his sycophants about how militarism is bankrupting America, today he turns his rage to public enemy no. 1: Wall Street. Claiborne compares Americans working in business, finance, and shopping malls to demons. Really.
Jesus was walking down Wall Street in the Empire State. He met a man occupied by evil spirits that had caused the man to gorge himself on food and cover himself in gold chains. He lived in the shopping malls and banks. When Jesus asked the man his name, the man replied, “NASDAQ”. Meanwhile, about a mile away a train loaded with cows was passing by, on the way to the market. Jesus cast the demons out of the man and into the bulls, which charged down Wall Street and into the Hudson River where they drowned. The man was set free. The crowd told Jesus to get out of town.
But wait! There’s good news:
And the good news is no one is beyond redemption – not even the 1%, the CEOs, the bankers, the terrorists.
And the parting shot:
Perhaps what we need today is not an occupation of Wall Street… but an exorcism. And after Wall Street gets cleansed, maybe we’ll move on to the Pentagon and give that another shot.
I’ve disagreed with Shane Claiborne since I first read his book years ago, but I liked him too. I was one of the many who credited his “authenticity” and forgave his ignorance as part of an “aw shucks” approach to life. But this latest piece is hard to excuse. Comparing people to demons is hardly exemplary of the interpersonal relationships Christ commanded. Daydreaming about their exorcism and subsequent drowning is pathological. Claiborne is no demon, but he’s no “neighbor” either, not in the sense Jesus commanded. Perhaps he should spend his time reflecting on his own credibility on these issues. He is famous because of his books, which are published by Christian media powerhouses like Zondervan, and drive profits at Wall Street leviathans Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. His speeches attract eager young consumers to conferences sponsored by companies like TOMS Shoes, implicitly endorsing their products. Ignorance hasn’t stemmed Claiborne’s popularity, but crude judgment and hypocrisy? Those are sins worth exorcising.