Claiborne has a lot of good things to say. I do, however, think some of his conclusions (political and sociological) are immoral. The egalitarian, socialistic mantra he and others who tend to bend to the Christian left have been chanting at first seems a beautiful tune. However, history has shown us that socialistic political movements, whether practiced in the name of Christ or not, have been destructive and oppressive. Orthodox and Catholic Monastic communities are microcosms that work because monks realize they are there to fight the demons in their own lives and to pray without ceasing, not to save the world. Claiborne's "monasticism" sees itself as the way all Christians should live. In this very interview, he said that living the way Christians did in Acts was a way we can "end poverty". This conclusion, while a beautiful vision, is not workable with the kind of political structures Claiborne and his ilk put forth. I'm not sure if Claiborne would be more of a social anarchist or just a socialist, plain and simple.
I was surprised to hear that his conclusion, when asked what advice he would give the average person who has credit card debt and mortgage payments and such, was to despair of the American dream. Loving things too much is certainly the disease most Americans have, at the heart level. But the way to break the chains is not just to think better thoughts and have more love and compassion for those who have less. The answer, I think, is to get out of debt and never go back. Simplicity is an awesome message, but you've got to get out of the mindset our country has right now that real economic stability (an end to poverty, maybe) will come through borrowing and spending. We've got to get back to saving money, working harder, caring more for one another, giving versus lending, etc. Jesus for President is a pretty good book for understanding where Claiborne is coming from. I don't think all of his Biblical conclusions are sound, but he has a lot of really good points.
More information about text formats