Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ordinary Radicals

On a day when yet another shooting, this one in Virginia, claimed at least one life and dominated the news media, and when political slings and arrows (aka insults) compete for the remaining time, it is refreshing to come upon someone like Shane Claiborne, as I did today in reading about his work with the Franciscan Richard Rohr.

Like another Dorothy Day, committed to feeding the hungry and working for peace, Claiborne, from an evangelical background, is one of several people at work in the New Monasticism movement, creating communities that build on the wisdom of the old monasteries of the Catholic tradition and often partner with them.

Claiborne, as I learned today, is one of the founders of the Simple Way in Philadelphia; he has worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta and in Bagdad with the Iraq Peace Team.  He is a radical in the sense that Jesus Christ was a radical.

So it is apt that he has teamed up with two Franciscans to present, through the Center for Action and Contemplation, a webcast on Aug. 30-Sept. 1 and conference on "How St. Francis and Pope Francis are changing the world." I wish I were there in New Mexico to hear the speakers. Rohr is always worth listening to.

Like the Trappist Fr. Thomas Keating, he teams up with non-traditional, evangelical and other spiritual seekers who try to apply the Gospel message to an ever-violent world. Rory McEntee and his Foundation for a New Monasticism is another group that appears to be breaking new ground, reaching new audiences that might be turned off by traditional organized religions.

A hopeful sign that good is operating in our world.

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