Campolo/Claiborne Talk Religious Peace

March 23, 2009 — 2 Comments


Peace. Everybody wants it, but there are many different routes to getting there.  So much of war is caused by religious differences.  It’s sad, but it is true.  Conservatives are criticized because they want to stop violence with violence.  Liberals are criticized because “all they want to do is talk”.  Maybe you “don’t care about politics”, but I find that most people that say this still definitely care about things like peace and justice.  This disconnect is frustrating for me to watch.  Is our government going to solve the huge problems of this world?  Of course not, but the government can serve as one source of helping (or what seems to more frequently happen, end up hurting the situation).  So maybe you don’t care about politics and that is ok.  But what do we tell our government to do when there is a genocide in Darfur (2,000 – 5,000+ dead since 2003)?  What do we say when our government bombs innocent people because we are looking for a small terrorist group in a huge land?  What do you think about abortion or gay rights?

Anyways, here is an old but interesting interview between Tony Campolo (president of Eastern University) and Shane Claiborne (a crazy, but interesting, hippie for Jesus).  I learned a lot and more importantly, it confirmed a lot of of my beliefs of how to come to peace between our religious differences (muslim, christian, atheist, etc.).  Maybe there won’t ever be peace between us, but that does not give us the excuse to stop trying.

Jonathan Sigmon


2 responses to Campolo/Claiborne Talk Religious Peace

  1. Hey man. First off, Tony Campolo is definitely not president of Eastern University. He’s considered a ‘Professor Emeritus of Sociology’. Never has been, and is not likely to become ‘president’. Second, if Shane Claiborne is crazy, then I don’t want to be sane. (And, it might be nice to give him the credit he deserves as a leading author on ‘the new monasticism’ co-founder of the ‘Another World is Possible’ video series, and co-founder of The Simple Way community in Phila, PA.) Third, if we really cared about things like peace and justice, we wouldn’t waste our time trying to get ‘The Government’ to do something about it. We’d do something about it ourselves. (Or create organizations that do). This is exactly what the church (read all Christians) should be doing. Fourth, “Our Government” can be a misleading phrase, as it tends to make our first identity citizens of the United States, when our first identity as Christians should be citizens of the Kingdom of G-D. We just happen to live here. That does not take away our responsibility, however. It increases it. Our King is much more demanding than ‘our’ government.

  2. @Ben You are correct. I didn’t do my homework on Campolo. And you as a former Eastern sociology student would be a good source to go to! Thanks for your thoughts.

    When I said Shane is crazy, I did not mean it in a negative context. I do think sometimes he can be too idealistic and miss some things, but he is definitely one of my favorite thinkers when it comes to how our faith should be lived out. If not, I wouldn’t always be quoting these guys.

    But even your argument about not involving the government is a point where I disagree. Yes, we can create organizations like “Save Darfur” and yes, I have donated small amounts of money (example of personal involvement). BUT, think if we had not spent billions in Iraq and billions in bailout money? Our national deficit equals out to about the sum of those two monsters.

    I definitely agree that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God and not making my first identity in the U.S. Definitely. And I also agree in putting “Jesus as President” of our lives. However, it is easy to sit back and say things like “if we really cared about things like peace and justice, we wouldn’t waste our time trying to get ‘The Government’ to do something about it. We’d do something about it ourselves.” The reality is, we can do small things, and even big things for Christ. However, if we can rally our government to take a stand at these injustices, we can actually have a much better chance (if even resource wise) at stopping them sooner.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I will never be putting my trust in a government that always seems to mess things up. That’s why I’m a libertarian and not a liberal like most of Claiborne’s followers. The less government, the better. I hope that Claiborne’s followers realize that they are indeed making political stances even when they stand against war (of which I totally agree), as well as when they believe that government should be re-distributing our wealth (or at least that’s what their leaders do who they vote for).

    If we are never involved in government, or as many Claiborne followers do – protest the vote – how do we see this change?

    Either way, this post was meant to be a promotion for Claiborne/Campolo and not a slam on them in any way.

    Final note to readers, I respect Ben the most of people who have posted on the blog thus far (besides Seth Godin…sorry Ben haha), as he points out areas where he agrees and corrects me where I miss the path. That’s the point of this. Conversation.

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