The IRD posted an article about the recent visit by Shane Claiborne to an Indiana UMC clergy gathering. (I could not attend as it was held during a time when bi-vocational folks often have conflicts.) The article reminds me why I am not a fan of IRD. It’s mix of politics and religion is distasteful to me. The article lapses into talk radio screed at times.
The author of the piece, however, does provide some more thoughtful comments about Claiborne in the comment thread of the article:
I tend to enjoy Mr. Claiborne’s insights and his consistency in carrying out his life. We live in a world mostly bereft of true localized community and charity; the Simple Way and others are a shining beacon on that front. However, I fear his pursuit of being counter-cultural and “radical” is off base, as we can see in some of his over-the-top statements against the “powers that be” who are doing a good job in their God-given vocations. My great fear is that he is picking and choosing what old traditions he finds are convenient and useful–they serve him, he does not serve them. For example, I don’t think the New Monasticism is monasticism at all. True monasticism accepts the authority and teaching of the Church (this is why it occurs in high church traditions of Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism, which have a strong understanding of apostolic authority/continuity and catholicism). The Simple Way is not a monastic community; it’s an Anabaptist one. That’s how it functions, except that members join whatever churches in the neighborhood that they desire.
The New Monasticism has some traction in the UMC. I think questions about what it is and what traditions it draws upon are good ones for us to discuss.