Shane Claiborne ruined my life

A book review by caretaker Carly Ann:

In the summer of 2013 a young and selfish Carly Ann, dazed, thoughtful, and deeply melancholic, wandered the sidewalks of Sauk City, Wisconsin. Toward the outer limit of this sparsely populated nowhere town, she entered St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. She knew the door all the way to the left didn’t lock correctly. She went in and stood in front of the altar, looking up at the giant crucifix and the bloody, suffering Christ mounted on it.

I remember clearly how, in the middle of the most humid summer of my adult life, the shocking cool of the air conditioned chapel snapped my foggy consciousness into focus. I have never experienced humidity like South-Central Wisconsin in July. I stood there at the steps to the altar. This felt really good since in this highly conservative church the priests did not allow women to enter this area, but that’s a rant for a different blog post. So there I was, thinking only one thing: Jesus was a loser. And then I did something that to this day I think of as being a little extreme: I took out my lip ring (the ultimate symbol off all things cool about Carly Ann) and placed it on the altar. I said a simple prayer and left.

“Jesus I give up being cool for you”

As I lay in bed that night a wave of panic for what I had done crashed over me. I loved that lip ring with my entire being. It made me look so cool. If I was in that position again right now, I probably wouldn’t do it again. This is just one example of the many ways in which reading Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne ruined my life.

Seriously, look how freaking cool that was.

Irresistible Revolution is a chronicle of Claiborne’s journey from benign college kid to radical co-conspirator for justice and the Gospel. From Illinois to Calcutta, his desire to live according to Jesus’ teaching is inspiring and thought-provoking. The ideas in this book on community, money, the poor, and dread locks, took all my values and flipped ‘em like a table in the temple. Eric often tells volunteers something along the lines of “if you want to know what would bring someone to live on a hilltop farm in Appalachia, get to know a caretaker.” Well reading this book set me on a path that eventually led me here. It also led me to break into a church. So my recommendation for this book comes with a caveat: it might ruin your life for the better. Cool kids beware.