Claiborne starts out The Irresistible Revolution describing who he was in high school: someone who was tired of a God who didn’t care and in need of answers no one could give him. Claiborne kept sharing questions and problems that no one seemed to be able to reconcile. He spent his time around people who claimed to follow the homeless Jesus of Nazareth but went out and did the exact opposite of what he said. He went to church every week where he was told about a shallow version of God whom Claiborne wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Jesus had become a commercialized, abstract idea, and he wanted more: “People had taught me what Christians believe, but no one had told me how Christians live.” Claiborne wasn’t against the church, but he was frustrated with the apathy that many Christians lived with.
Throughout the rest of the book, he shares his journey of searching for the Jesus described in the New Testament. He started college looking for people who believed in the Jesus who fed the poor and ate with the tax collectors and prostitutes. Claiborne wanted to identify with the Jesus who said he came to save the people who needed saving; the same people today’s apathetic church often ignores.
Claiborne sat through theology classes that gave practical ways to put faith into action and not just keep it as a theory, yet he couldn’t find God while living in the halls of a Christian college. He stayed active in a church and was there on time every Sunday, but he couldn’t find God as long as he only stayed in the front pew at church. Claiborne didn’t find God until he went with some friends to spend an evening with the homeless community down the street.
After spending a few months in a leper colony in Calcutta with Mother Teresa and going to Iraq in the middle of America bombing them in 2003, Claiborne thinks he might have an understanding of what God wanted when he said to build his kingdom on earth. Since then, he has spent his time making that vision a reality, unifying the divided church, and ultimately sharing the love of God with the whole world.
For more detailed accounts of Shane Claiborne’s adventures, check out The Irresistible Revolution. He brings up many spiritual questions to consider and explores his own journey in living out the answers.