4. CONDEMNATION OF LARGE CHURCHES & LARGE CHURCH GATHERINGS
In combination with his condemnation of Christians who still have wealth (see next section), Shane is unequivocal in his condemnation of large churches, referred to often by him as ‘mega-churches’. As he defines a mega-church as a ‘million dollar’ church, that covers many conventional well-attended churches – sdsDSdsdsdsds. Once again, he builds up an exaggerated stereotype to tilt at it all the more successfully. Is it fair to imply (as he does) that every church with land or which is paying its staff from its offerings is committing ‘murder’ as long as one person in the world dies of hunger? Is it fair to typify every such church as just sitting back and enjoying middle-class ease rather than, as is more often the case, using their wealth to reach others for Christ (both rich, poor and those in between). Of course, herein lies another problem over definitions – Shane does not identify with the same concept of Christian mission that we do.
He does not approve of large gatherings and disparages large corporate worship celebrations. In the next quote, in an almost Pharisaical aside (Pharisaical in the sense that the Pharisees didn’t care that Jesus healed someone, they just didn’t want it going on on the Sabbath), Shane accuses churches of ‘being tempted to do big, miraculous things so people might believe’. Perhaps, as we have explored in this paper, his concept of ‘miraculous’ does not always coincide with our own.
In fact, as he makes clear, Shane is not into church growth. He thinks churches should get smaller and be less visible, so they can be more ‘subversive’ (one of his favourite buzzwords). df gd d fgd fgd fg dfg df d g dfg df gd fg df df gd fg dfg d d f d…
[Talking about The Simple Way’s alternative lifestyle and the things they do such as run their bus on used vegetable oil, etc, Shane writes] It’s easy to see these things as spectacular, but I really believe that’s only because we live in a world that has lost its imagination. These things were normal in the early church. It’s just what conversion looked like… But today (by contrast) people crave the spectacular… today the Church is tempted by the spectacular, to do big, miraculous things so people might believe, but Jesus has called us to littleness and compares revolution to the little mustard seed, to yeast making its way through dough, slowly infecting this dark world with love. Many of us who find ourselves living differently from the dominant culture end up needing to “despectacularize” things a little so that The Simple Way is made as accessible as possible to the ordinary radicals. (p.132)
Bigger is better, so we hear, we live in a world that wants things larger and larger. We want to supersize fries, sodas, SUVs, and church buildings. Cities build bigger stadiums and conventions want to draw the biggest crowds. Amid all the supersizing, I want to make a modest suggestion: our goal should be not to get larger and larger but to get smaller and smaller… There was a majestic mega-church in the time of Jesus. People flocked to it, hoping to meet God there. They bought all sorts of stuff in the temple market, hoping it would bring them closer to God. And yet it is in the middle of that religious market that Jesus flips the tables and drives up the moneychangers. He rebukes the religious elite to take the last pennies of homeless widows to build their palaces for God. (p.332) … Despite the fact that God’s word insists that “God does not dwell in temples built by hands,” we insist that God should. (p.324)
Read that again…
He says that people came to the Temple ‘hoping to meet God there’. They bought ‘stuff’ there ‘hoping it would bring them closer to God’ (The Christian T shirts and bumper stickers of their day, produced by their own version of the ‘Christian Industrial Complex’?). This is clearly meant to be criticism of the mega-churches he dislikes. Then Jesus drives out the money changers and rebukes the religious elite (today’s mega-church pastors) for fleecing the widows to build their palaces.
You have to read it twice to realise exactly what he is saying. And if you think I am being uncharitable in my interpretation, read these next excerpts:
A few years back, Willow Creek Community Church announced its vision for “Chapter 2,” which included a building expansion costing tens of millions of dollars. My heart sank. Many of us in the evangelical church, both within and outside the Willow Creek community, voiced tremendous concern about the new venture… Any time I was asked in private, all I could do was weep. It broke my heart… I did a ton of research on tithes and offerings in Scripture, and discovered they are unmistakably intended to be used for redistributing resources to the poor and not to go towards buildings and staff for the church... I expressed to the leadership of Willow Creek in solemn earnestness that I feared church was guilty of theft and embezzling from the poor. (p.326) (Italics added – this is debatable bible interpretation at the very least)
The pervasive myth is that as we grow larger, we can do more good. But there is little evidence that this is ever realised. My own research and experience would suggest that as congregations grow in terms of staff and property, they’re giving to causes outside of operating expenses decreases dramatically, especially money given directly to the poor. I just read a recent study that showed that rich people are significantly less generous (proportionately) than poor people, and that large congregations give proportionally far less to people in poverty than do small ones. (p.328)
The underlying assumption is that money from the offering or tithe belongs to the church. But the Scriptures constantly teach that the offering is God’s instrument of redistribution and that it belongs to the poor. Giving to the poor should not make its way into the budget; it is the budget. (p.331)
Here is another comment in the same vein:
As we consider what it means to be “born again,” as the evangelical jargon goes, we must ask what it means to be born again into a family in which our sisters and brothers are starving to death. Then we begin to see why rebirth and redistribution are inextricably bound up in one another, as a growing number of evangelicals have come to proclaim. It also becomes scandalous for the Church to spend money on windows and buildings when some family members don’t even have water. Welcome to the dysfunctional family of Yahweh. (p.163)
Next comes the accusation of murder. In typical Shane style, it is downplayed by being put in the mouth of ‘the early prophets’ but we are left in little doubt that he is using this device to make a point he himself agrees with. In this next piece, quite who are ‘her children’ is unclear; we are probably to assume this means the starving poor somewhere in the world. They are absolutely in need of our compassion and aid but are they, in theological terms, ‘our children’? Can a church have ‘children’? Only if you are a universalist.
Whether it’s the crowds in the streets during the Republican National Convention or the folks flocking into the mega-churches, we like to be around people who look and think like us. Big visions of multiculturalism and reconciliation will make their way into the church only when they are lived at first in real relationships, out of our homes and around dinner tables and in living rooms… As we build our buildings, human temples are being destroyed by hunger and homelessness. The early prophets would say the church that spends millions of dollars on buildings while her children are starving is guilty of murder. (p.329)
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One of the big arguments in favour of large gatherings of Christians is the opportunity that this provides for large scale worship. Given that it is so important to some of the churches he goes to speak at, he cannot wholly dismiss it, though it is obvious from his words he does not value it very highly. Bearing in mind that he has already described charismatic church practice and worship as ‘spiritual masturbation’, this is perhaps not surprising:
There is something precious about corporate worship but corporate is whenever two or three of us gathered with God. We must resist the ancient temptation to centralise worship, especially at the expense of justice for the poor (His footnote: The words of the prophets like in Amos 5:21-24, even declare that God hates worship and singing if they are devoid of justice, and God demands that they cease until we practice justice to the poor and oppressed.). Acts 17:24 reminds us that God “does not live in temples built by hands.”.. Perhaps we are just as likely to encounter God over the dinner table or in the slums or in the streets as in a giant auditorium.
He then adds mischievously:
Of course, suggesting that God doesn’t need these million-dollar mega-cathedrals is the sort of thing that gets you in big trouble. (p.323)
… as may be suggesting that, in spite of all his hip radicalism and his admirable work with the poor, aspects of Shane’s Christian philosophy don’t add up.
5. PERSONAL WEALTH & CORPORATE AMERICA
A clearly important and formative influence on Shane was the visit of Rich Mullins to Wheaton Chapel:
Rich stood up in chapel and said, “You guys are all into that born-again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I had to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too… but I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.” (p.98)
Shane’s teaching on wealth follows in the same vein as that sermon. It seems that rich people can only enter the kingdom God (which phrase Shane seems to interpret as communities of radical Christians on earth like The Simple Way, rather than the orthodox meaning we understand) if they first give away all their wealth. Christian conversion and the possession of personal wealth appear, in his book, to be incompatible:
No wonder it is easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom, as Jesus said to that rich ruler. That doesn’t mean rich people are excluded or not welcome. It means that it is nearly impossible for them to catch the vision of interdependent community, dependent on God and one another. Rich folks, while they may be spiritually starving for God and community, still believe the illusion that they are self-sufficient autonomous individuals, and that belief is incompatible with the gospel that says wherever two or more are gathered, God is among us. And yet “nothing is impossible”… rocks can cry out, donkeys can talk, dead people can come to life, and rich people can release their riches and enter the Kingdom of God. Yes! (p.181) (Italics added)
Jesus doesn’t exclude rich people; he just lets them know their rebirth will cost them everything they have. (p.104)
And Shane cannot accept any interpretation of the meeting between Jesus and the rich young ruler which excludes the conclusion that all Christians should give away their wealth when they come to Christ:
I heard one of the teaching pastors at Willow Creek speak on the rich young ruler text that Rich had talked about in Wheaton’s chapel. The teaching pastor said, “Now this doesn’t mean you have to go and send your rollerblades and golf clubs,” and he went on to “contextualise” the teaching to show that we just needed to be careful not to make idols of things. I wasn’t so sure about that. Jesus doesn’t tell the man to be a better steward, or to treat his workers fairly, or not to make money an idol. He tells this highly educated and devoutly religious young man that he lacks one thing: giving up everything he owns to give to the poor. (p.102)
Mention has already been made of his omission of the full story of Ananias and Sapphira whose guilt he attributes to withholding a portion of their possessions from the common offering – whereas Peter says they had the right to have (i.e. keep) it and their sin was to lie about it. (p.105)
As well as condemning personal wealth, Shane is strident about the evils of the corporate world and capitalism, which appears, like membership of the Republican Party, to be absolutely incompatible with his brand of Christianity:
(At The Simple Way community) we fight terrorism – the terrorism within each of us, the terrorism of corporate greed, of American consumerism, of war. (p.123)
Will O’Brien of The Alternative Seminary here in Philly says, “when we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary. (p.164)
Speaking of his Wall Street demonstration, Shane appears to think that Wall Street, a place of ‘hoarding’, and ‘darkness’, is Mammon:
We knew it was dangerous, intentionally bringing God and Mammon face to face. But this is precisely what we have committed our lives to… believing that giving is more contagious than hoarding, that love can convert hatred, light can overcome darkness, grass can pierce concrete – even on Wall Street. (p.189)
Though the masses cry out for a safer, more sustainable world, the bear and the ball of Wall Street are aggressive and are ready to tear apart anything that stands in their way. The truth is that much stands in the way of God’s will for our world… the giant triplets of evil: racism, militarism, and materialism. (p.25)
As for respect or honour for a President who does not share his politics and for right-wing politicians who openly proclaim their faith in election campaigns, Shane begins a theme which he would explore in much greater detail in his next book, Jesus for President. The irony is that in countries which are still breaking free from totalitarianism, Christian leaders are urging their people to get involved in politics and to vote, rather than detach themselves from the electoral process:
(on the American elections) I would say, “my President has already ascended the throne and has already delivered his State of the Union address. I don’t believe that God needs a commander in chief or a millionaire in Washington, and I have little faith that either of the likely options will incarnate the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the fruit of the Spirit.” … A messy collision of Christianity and patriotism has rippled across our land… “God bless America” became a marketing strategy. (p.194-197)
6. HUMAN SEXUALITY
Shane says very little in his book about his and his community’s views on human sexuality and homosexuality in particular. However, research does reveal quite a bit about this.
In order to find out more about Shane’s and The Simple Way’s teaching on a number of Christian issues I contacted The Simple Way to ask for a list of their board members. So far I have not had a reply. Nonetheless, references to board members are to be found in Shane’s books and on the website.
Wary of the distasteful practices of Christian heresy hunters I have only researched these individuals and those other organisations which they lead and are closely associated with. Often, Shane is closely connected with them too. This is discussed in the first section of this paper, titled ‘Simple Way Board Members’.
As so much of that research has uncovered information about the issues of sexuality I am not going to deal with the matter further here although it is very important and has a direct bearing on our assessment of the orthodoxy of The Simple Way’s Christianity.
It is discussed fully in Part I of this paper. See page 6 above.
7. CRITICISM OF THE CHURCH
No committed Christian would disagree that the Church needs to be challenged not to settle for the mediocre, to press on into God, and make a 100% dedication of our lives to him and his purposes on earth – or that it has failed at times in the past. That challenge is valid.
To make it on false grounds or without love is not.
When I read The Irresistible Revolution I begin to wonder if Shane actually doesn’t like the church that much. We have been brought up to believe that, warts and all, the worldwide Body of Christ is loved by God and, for all its failings, we should honour and love even those brothers and sisters who we disagree with. John Wimber set the standard with his famous saying ‘My brother is not my enemy’. Wading through the full 360 pages of The Irresistible Revolution has left me feeling uncomfortable – not because of Shane’s radicalism but because of his lack of love for brothers and sisters who he disagrees with, particularly the ‘suburban’ Christians who he picks out for particular scorn.
Here is what he writes.
Christianity often has offered little to the world, other than the hope that things will be better in heaven. … Most Christian artists and preachers have remained strangely distant from human suffering, offering the world eternal assurance over prophetic imagination. (p.17)
‘Most’ Christian artists and preachers? ‘Often’ offered little? Does he really mean to say this? It is an extraordinary (and unsupported) condemnation of the mass of the historic and present church. But it sounds good and his supporters believe him.
When he criticises the selling of music, bumper stickers, T-shirts and books to Christians it is because they are products of the ‘Christian industrial complex’ (p.39), a probably deliberate (and critical) echo of the American ‘Military Industrial Complex’ of the Cold War era which was so opposed by the pacifist left.
I remember when one of my colleagues said, “Shane, I’m not a Christian anymore.” I was puzzled… but I could see the intensity and sincerity in his eyes as he continued, “I gave up Christianity in order to follow Jesus.” Somehow, I knew what he meant… the hilarious words of the 19th-century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard resonated in my thirsty soul: “the matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers… Christian scholarship is the church’s prodigious intervention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming close.” (p.71)
That isn’t ‘hilarious’. It is unpleasant. Adding ‘hilarious’ before the quotation does nothing to make it any less palatable or justifiable.
Here and in a number of other cases, ‘Christian scholarship’, ‘doctrine’ and ‘systematic theology’ come in for criticism. I’m not quite sure why. Here are some other examples:
We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like every body else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way. And doctrine is not very attractive, even if it’s true. Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death. (p.117) … I was just as likely to meet God in the sewers of the ghetto as in the halls of academia. I learned more about God from the tears of homeless mothers than any systematic theology ever taught me. (p.51) … (of the cathedral sit-in) It was a revival of sorts… the body of Christ was alive, and no longer trapped in stained-glass windows or books of systematic theology. (p.61).
There are further swipes at the church:
Sometimes we have evangelicals (usually from the suburbs) who pretentiously ask us how we “ evangelise people.”. I usually tell them that we bring folks like them here to learn the kingdom of God from the poor, and then send them out to tell the rich and powerful there is another way of life being born in the margins. (p.126)
Stop a moment and think about that. Just how do you ‘learn the kingdom of God from the poor’, whose numbers contain just as many sinners and saints as those from the suburbs?
Many spiritual seekers have not been able to hear the words of Christians because the lives of Christians have been making so much horrible noise. (p.126)
It’s a shame that a few conservative evangelicals have had a monopoly on the word conversion. Some of us shiver at the word. (The rest of the excerpt is given in the previous section). (p.149)
There’s not much understanding of missionaries, either:
Many Christians are not fulfilled in their spiritual lives because they have no sense of their gifts or purpose, and they just run to the mission field to save souls rather than transform lives and communities using their gifts and those of the people they live among. (p.138)
Those who do not go on to the mission field but support those who do also come in for criticism. The almost reluctant proviso ‘while they accomplish some good’ hardly negates the sting that is in this judgement:
Tithes, tax-exempt donations, and short term mission trips, while they accomplish some good, can also function as outlets to allow us to appease our consciences and remain a safe distance from the poor… Faith-based nonprofits can too easily be the mirror image of secular organisations, maintaining the same hierarchies of power and separation between rich and poor. They can too easily and merely facilitate the exchange of goods and services, putting plenty of professionals in the middle to guarantee that the rich do not have to face the poor and that power does not shift. Rich and poor are kept in separate worlds, and inequality is carefully managed but not dismantled (p.157-9)
Any Christian politician who sends his troops to war is in Shane’s eyes, just a terrorist:
I went to Iraq to stop terrorism. There are extremists, both Muslim and Christian, who kill in the name of their gods. Their leaders are millionaires who live in comfort while their citizens die neglected in the streets. But I believe in another kingdom that belongs to the poor and to the peacemakers. (p.207)
In our own parliament, Christian politicians of all parties meet together as brothers and sisters to pray. They recognise the difficult fact that sincere Christians can have different political allegiances – but they still unite around the cross. Shane allows no such prospect. American evangelicals who do not support his position on pacifism are accused of ‘polarisation’ and ‘dualism’ and a lack of integrity. Could it not be possible that they have as sincerely sought God for their own position but come up with the opposite conclusion?
I have been refreshed to see a global church with such integrity, a church which for the most part does not suffer the polarisation and dualism of evangelicalism in the United States. (p.222)
And back among the much maligned ‘suburban’ Christians, Shane says the real demons are at work:
Some Christians take so few risks, it’s no wonder folks have a hard time believing in heaven… Sometimes people ask me if I’m 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. While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces – numbness, complacency, comfort – and it is an ease that can eat away at our souls. (p.226)
Shane frequently slips into the error of exaggerating the negative aspects of those he disagrees with, and then shooting down that false picture he has just created. I do not recognise in my own church the very things he seems to think are widespread outside his inner city ghetto. As for his final remark in the next excerpt, we would all say ‘Amen’, of course. But it doesn’t mean we agree with the accusation that precedes it.
Christianity can be built around isolating ourselves from evildoers and sinners, creating a community of religious piety and moral purity. That’s the Christianity I grew up with. Christianity can also be built around joining with the broken sinners and evil doers of our world crying out to God, groaning for grace. That’s a Christianity I have fallen in love with. (p.246)
A few years ago a large number of Christians were greatly blessed by a little book called The Prayer of Jabez. If you were one of those, tough – Shane has no time for it because it offends his pacifist beliefs:
Whether it’s the Prayer of Jabez or the war in Iraq, many Christians seem to be hoping that the Kingdom of God will come in triumphant greatness… [His footnote:] The Prayer of Jabez is based on a 30 word prayer by an obscure old Testament person named Jabez who is never again mentioned in the Bible. His prayer used the phrase “enlarge my territory,” which is quite popular in Christian jargon nowadays. But the book doesn’t talk about the bloodshed that happens after the territory enlarges. Nor does it mention why, if the prayer is important, Jesus never told us about ole Jabez (sic). There are plenty of prayers in the Bible that are best not emulated… If you’re trying to figure out how to pray, I’d suggest the prayer of Jesus, which has some significant differences from that of Jabez… namely, the constant echo of “me” and “my” of Jabez does not appear once in the Prayer of Jesus (only “us” and “our”) and the “keep me from harm” is trumped by “thy will be done.”  (p.318)
Christians who go to church a lot also come in for it:
My studies taught me that the higher a person’s frequency of church attendance, the more likely they are to be sexist, racist, anti-gay, promilitary, and committed to their local church. And I figured if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be one, or whether even Jesus would want to be one, for that matter. I wondered why Jesus didn’t take back his religion. (p.269)
The Moral Majority was a Conservative Christian organisation which campaigned in the 1970s and 1980s for the outlawing of abortion, against state recognition and societal acceptance of homosexual acts, and for legislation which enforced the traditional view of family life, as well as censorship of media organisations that promoted an ‘anti-family’ agenda. They may have been imperfect. Their leader, Jerry Falwell was an evangelical Southern Baptist pastor. By any estimation he was Shane Claiborne’s brother in Christ. The Moral Majority, being largely Republican, was ridiculed by the secular left on both sides of the Atlantic. Shane, on the Christian left, doesn’t like them either.
People are no longer convinced that the “Moral Majority” is either moral or the majority (if you don’t know what the Moral Majority is, consider yourself blessed and keep reading) (p.22)
I don’t think Shane believes you can be a Republican and a Christian. Would he apply the same criticism to any of our church who were members of the Conservative Party?
Elsewhere he criticises an appearance of Falwell on The 700 Club, making controversial statements about the 9/11 disaster, and adds ‘with Pat Robertson nodding in agreement.’ (p.247) Anyone who has spent any time listening to Pat Robertson, the presenter of The 700 Club will know that he is a gentle and admirable man of God. This type of comment is unkind and unnecessary.
Shane is deeply critical and intolerant of the majority of the Western church. We are told in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There doesn’t seem a lot of that in that these excerpts from his book.
 Of which the classic example would be a Benny Hinn or Kathryn Kuhlman crusade. Whether they are your style or not, people have been healed at them in large numbers. I hope Shane would rejoice wholeheartedly at their healing. This passage implies it might be grudging.
 Original quote on p.39 of the book, under the sub-heading ‘Spiritual Bulimia’.
 Remember his definition of ‘evangelical’ before coming to the automatic assumption that all the people who objected alongside Shane are ones we would automatically recognise as ‘evangelicals’.
 Another huge and unsupported generalisation. C c c c cc c c bc bcb cb cb cb cb b b cv .
 Christian Universalism: See Note 13 – ‘Every person is the divine offspring of God, created in the image of the Heavenly Parent of all… the Light or Spirit of God is within (all of) us… there is no such thing as “eternal” hell, despite what many Christians have been led to believe based on mistranslations of the Bible.’ (www.christianuniversalist.org)
 p.44 in the book, and referred to in detail in the next section.
 p.16 above
 There are a number of interesting Christian proponents of compassionate capitalism which are better argued than Shane’s alternative. One is Brian Griffiths, author of Morality and the Marketplace., ggggg f ff f ghf f hf h fh fh f hf hf hf h fh fh f hf hf hfghf g. His arguments have great merit and certainly should not be dismissed out of hand.
 E.g. in another exaggerated stereotype: ‘We create a western conception of the Mediterranean peasant revolutionary who lived 2000 years ago, whom we can relate to and who cares about what we care about (eats at McDonald’s and votes Republican).’ (p.112)
 See p.6 above for the section titled ‘Simple Way Board Members’ for more about The Alternative Seminary and some of its unconventional teaching.
 I am used to removing vitriolic criticism from ‘Christians’ about Todd Bentley from my YouTube site. Notwithstanding some of the issues around Todd and Lakeland, you can Google almost anyone God is using powerfully in the church today and find a stream of poison from people who feel the must expose these individuals as Satan’s emissaries in disguise. Mm m m m m m m, John Wimber, John Arnott, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship – they all come in for the most disgraceful and unloving criticism from the heresy hunters. Bizarrely (or perhaps significantly) I have not been able to find a single comment of this type about Shane Claiborne.
 …as if that is all Christian doctrine speaks about it. Another unsupported negative generalisation.
 I would be interested to know how he reacts to the ministry of Roland and Heidi Baker in Mozambique. Unlike him, they are emphatically evangelical in the traditional sense, as well as charismatic in the sense he has rejected and calls ‘spiritual masturbation’. Working with the very poorest, in conditions of enormous personal sacrifice and danger, they have planted over 3000 churches, care for hundreds of homeless children and have seen thousands of miraculous healings and over 100 people raised from the dead. That is a ministry to emulate. See http://www.irismin.org
 As examples of the integrity of the global church, he cites a liberation theologian. Integrity equates with those theologians who share his views, not those who are members of the Republican Party.
 ‘moral purity’ – I wonder if this is an oblique criticism of conventional evangelical perspective on homosexuality which many of his close associates at The Simple Way (and, I would assume, Shane) do not share. See Part I ‘The Simple Way Board Members’ for more on their views on gay marriage, LGBT theology, etc.
 My reading of scripture (e.g I Thessalonians 5) is that Jesus will return in triumphant greatness, so I wonder where Shane gets this idea from.
 The psalms are full of prayers and exclamations in the first person. Would Shane have us ignore them?