Home Shane Claiborne, Jubilee USA Network announce new partnership during EMU visit

Shane Claiborne, Jubilee USA Network announce new partnership during EMU visit


EMU logoShane Claiborne of Red Letter Christians and Andrew Hanauer, campaigns director for Jubilee USA Network, will kick off a new partnership between the two organizations with a visit to Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The day’s events will focus on a Christian view of economics that includes people and groups on the margins.

“As they started looking at where they wanted to launch this campaign, they chose us as the first site,” Director of Campus Ministries Brian Martin Burkholder says. “They wanted a place where they thought the message would resonate.”

It will be at least the third time Claiborne has visited EMU, most recently in 2013. Burkholder says that Claiborne—a noted author, speaker and activist whose books include “Jesus for President” and “The Irresistible Revolution”— “connects well” with the EMU community and with EMU’s mission.

“His theology and his take on faithful living resonates pretty deeply with Anabaptist theology and yet encourages and challenges us,” Burkholder says. “It moves us beyond complacency.”

Claiborne and Hanauer will both share during the day’s headline event, a public forum with Q&A at 7 p.m. in Lehman Auditorium. They will address the theme “Jubilee: The Bible’s Vision for a Just Economy.”

Hanauer will also speak at a chapel service on “Jubilee Economics” at 10 a.m., followed by a talk-back session with Claiborne over lunch, and Claiborne will share with the campus community at a dinner gathering focused on “Doing What Jesus Said” at 5 p.m. Hanauer will join Claiborne again for a late-evening residence hall dialogue time.

Claiborne’s work with Red Letter Christians—an organization he founded with prominent Christian speaker Tony Campolo “to take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture”—and with The Simple Way community in Philadelphia meshes well with Jubilee USA Network’s emphasis on “building an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable.”

“It’s apparent now that the inequity between the super-rich and super-poor is one of the most pressing ethical issues of our time,” Claiborne says. “All of that looks very different from the patterns of scripture. A lot of us, particularly people of faith, know that the world doesn’t have to be this way.”

EMU was a natural place to launch the initiative, he says, because it is an institution “known for its work with things like reconciliation and doing something about racial injustice.”

As for Jubilee USA—a coalition of more than 650 US organizations, faith communities and global partners—Claiborne provides a known and respected voice that can raise their visibility and draw greater attention to Jubilee USA’s work, especially on college campuses.

“They want to engage with Christian young adults around the idea of jubilee economics—debt reduction and all kinds of things about reshaping policy around kingdom economics,” Burkholder says. “Including Shane in the campaign means more interest and a higher level of engagement.”

It’s also a “unique opportunity,” Burkholder adds, for business students and others to explore the relationship between the areas of business and economics and the areas of faith, an intersection that doesn’t always receive a great deal of attention.

Business Department chair Jim Leaman notes, “The core message of Claiborne and Jubilee USA resonates with EMU’s perspective on business as a holistic social enterprise that has the potential to serve the common good.”

Story by Walt Wiltschek



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