Chapter Eight: Jesus Made Me Do It

“Sometimes people ask me if I am scared, living in the inner city. I usually reply, ‘I’m more scared of the suburbs.’ The Scriptures say that we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matt. 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of more subtle demonic forces—numbness, complacency, comfort—and it is these that can eat away at our souls.” (p. 217). Claiborne goes on to talk about God who is not at all safe, but who is good. What is dangerous about the gospel stories? What are some dangerous gospel stories you know of from your own life?

“More than fifty cities have passed anti-homeless legislation that discriminates against those who do not have homes. These laws have made it illegal to sleep in public, share food with the homeless, ask for spare change, even look for food in the trash. (One city made all trash city property.) One story made national news recently,t when a ninety-year-old man, Arnold Abbott, in Florida faced charges for feeding the homeless. Abbott said police confronted him and told him to ‘drop that plate.’ It was as if he had a weapon instead of a platter.” (p 226). Has your city passed anti-homelessness laws? What are other ways that your town criminalizes poverty?

“So if the world hates us, we take courage that it hated Jesus first. If you are wondering whether you’ll be safe, just look at what they did to Jesus and those who followed him. There are safer ways to live than by being a Christian. And there are cooler ways to live than by following the gospel. But look on the bright side, if you end up in jail, historically, you will be in very good company. Jail has always been an important place for Christians. In eras of injustice, it becomes the Christian’s home. So live real good, and get beat up real bad. Dance until they kill you, and then we’ll dance some more. That’s how this thing seems to work.” (p. 232). Have you been moved to civil disobedience in following Jesus?