Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shane Claiborne's Partial Jesus for President

I recently read Shane Claiborne's Jesus For President and liked it very much. The one major place it did not connect with me is in its incomplete presentation of Jesus on the kingdom of God. I think Claiborne presents an awesome partial gospel; viz., Jesus' kingdom concerns for the poor, and Jesus' upside-down kingdom when it comes to the issue of power. And he's living this out in real time, which gives him massive credibility and authenticity. To follow Jesus is not just a nice theological theory for Shane. It's with this in mind that I offer a few thoughts to, I hope, supplement his Christology and theology of the kingdom.

My one comment is that Shane says little about Jesus' continual demonstations of healing and deliverance. For me, as someone who believes in these things and find them central to Jesus and the kingdom, I find their absence leaving Shane's Christology incomplete. If Jesus were president, would he not both proclaim the kingdom of heaven and demonstrate that kingdom with signs, wonders, healings, and casting out demons? Jesus' healings and demonic deliverances lie at the heart of the gospel of the kingdom. There are Jesus-followers who affirm this and live it out and also live out Jesus' mandate to care for the poor and the sick. For some examples, see Donald E. Miller's Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement - look at the chapters of Florence Muindi and Jackie Pullinger, for example.

There's a piece on Shane today. I'm so thankful for him and how God is using him. From the article:

"Claiborne is touring the country, packing churches and community centers, in support of the book he and Chris Haw co-authored, "Jesus for President." "This whole project is about the political imagination of what it means to follow after Jesus," Claiborne said. "The language of Jesus as Lord and savior is just as radical as it would be to say 'Jesus as our commander in chief' today.""