This week, we welcome back Shane Claiborne—and friends. With Chris Haw, Shane once again is drumming up support for a radically different approach to politics in America. Borrowing an old Woody Guthrie song—Jesus for President—Shane and Chris are stumping once again for God’s compassionate priorities in this world.
Want the multimedia package we’re writing about today? It’s tricky to find this exact boxed set in the ocean of Shane materials available online, these days. Here’s the specific Amazon link to buy the 2012 edition of his book and DVD, called Jesus for President Pack: Politics for Ordinary Radicals
At the same time, this spring, Shane and his co-author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are promoting their Common Prayer books in homes, congregations and neighborhoods—wherever people gather in faith and hope. Shane and Jonathan have taken on the mantle of promoting grassroots common prayer from other important religious voices—including Phyllis Tickle and Richard Rohr, both of whom now actively encourage the younger writers’ efforts. The newest Shane-and-Jonathan Common Prayer offering is a much-easier-to-tote-around version of their book, called Common Prayer Pocket Edition: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
THIS WEEK, ReadTheSpirit welcomes Shane Claiborne—and friends—to talk about these radically different approaches to saving America in an era of chronic crises. Keep coming back to readthespirit.com this week for our series focusing on Shane, Jonathan, Jesus for President and the Common Prayer project.
JESUS FOR PRESIDENT IN SHANE CLAIBORNE’S OWN WORDS
TO BEGIN OUR WEEK … here’s an excerpt from our interviews with Shane. We will publish the full text later this week. But these opening words from Shane explain the basic idea of this barnstorming campaign on behalf of Jesus.
QUESTION: Why is a young evangelist like Shane Claiborne campaigning for a 2,000-year-old rabbi who isn’t on the ballot in any of our 50 states?
SHANE CLAIBORNE: The whole idea of Jesus for President really started back before the 2004 election when we began thinking and talking seriously about making a faithful Christian witness to the State. For years, we had read books, studied this and eventually Chris Haw and I were led to create Jesus for President. It was released as a book for the 2008 election and now we’re back with a book and a DVD that was filmed in many of the places we stopped along the road with this message.
Even though we’ve been working on this for some years now, we realize that this message is even more relevant than when we began. This is post-Religious Right America and we are seeing a whole lot of evangelicals and political misfits who are trying to find their way to new decisions about faith and politics. The old evangelical and Religious Right messages just don’t work anymore for a lot of us. And I know that the questions we are raising today are really touching people’s hearts.
There are a lot of good things that have been stirring up conversations across the country. The Occupy movement raised people’s awareness that 1 percent of people in our world own way more than their share of the world’s stuff. Now, people are more aware than ever of the deep and growing disparity between the rich and the poor. You can’t read the Bible and not realize that situation matters to God.
We’ve also got militarism and violence going on every where you look. We need to remember that Jesus also lived in a world where there were wars and rumors of wars everywhere he looked. It’s almost eerie sometimes to think about how much the situation in his world with the Roman empire was like our world with empires today. The question is: What does it mean to follow the Prince of Peace—and to really love our enemies—in our world today? That’s what we want people to get people talking about.
WOODY GUTHRIE’S LYRICS TO JESUS FOR PRESIDENT
Get a copy of Shane’s DVD and, in the opening minutes, you’ll hear his makeshift folk ensemble belt out Woody Guthrie’s classic song of protest.
Here are the lyrics …
Let’s have Christ our President
Let us have him for our king
Cast your vote for the Carpenter
That you call the Nazarene
The only way we can ever beat
These crooked politician men
Is to cast the money changers out of the temple
Put the Carpenter in
O It’s Jesus Christ our President
God above our king
With a job and a pension for young and old
We will make hallelujah ring
Every year we waste enough
To feed the ones who starve
We build our civilization up
And we shoot it down with wars
But when the Carpenter is on the seat
Way up in the Capital town
The USA would be on the way
SEE SHANE CLAIBORNE’S VIDEO INTRODUCING JESUS FOR PRESIDENT
Shane worked with Zondervan to produce this short video, introducing Jesus for President. Later this week, we will publish our new interview with Shane—and friends—but this video clip lets you see and hear him in action with his distinctive Southern drawl. (Note: If you don’t see a video screen in your version of this story, click here to reload the story in your browser.)
READ PART 2 IN OUR SERIES: Interview with Shane Claiborne on Jesus for President.
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.