16 Hopes for 2016

2016
 

A few years ago, I started compiling a list of hopes for the new year. It started as a personal thing, but others seemed to find some inspiration in them, and now it’s become sort of a tradition to post new hopes for a new year. I hope they’re meaningful to you… and that you’ll hold me accountable to these 16 hopes and dreams for 2016.

 

  1. I hope to live fearlessly. Fear holds us hostage, and leads to a lot of violence. Love sets us free, casts out fear, and opens all sorts of new possibilities.
  2.  

  3. Spend time with elders. With the recent deaths of friends like Phyllis Tickle and Richard Twiss, I am realizing that our faith-filled elders will not be with us forever. So I plan to spend some time with my grey-haired (or no-haired) friends this year. Oh, and I hope to mentor a few young people too, so that they can learn from my mistakes. I hope if you’re young, you have someone old pouring into you – and if you’re old, apparently like I am now, I hope you have a young person or two you can share your wisdom with. If you’re looking for a good mentorship program, check out: missionyear.org.
  4.  

  5. Go to church. While I like the t-shirt, “Don’t GO to church… BE the Church”, I don’t think this is an “either/or” thing. I hear a lot of folks say they want “Jesus without the church” – and that feels a little like saying I want to be in love but don’t want to get hurt. If we don’t have a congregation we participate in regularly, our faith starts to dwindle. So be the church – and go to church. I hope that among the radical things I do in 2016, one of them is go to worship every Sunday I can.
  6.  

  7. Go to Jail. From the refugee crisis to Black Lives Matter, we see injustice is all around us. It’s been said, “In an age of injustice, just people end up in jail.” While it is never the end goal, Civil Disobedience has been an instrumental force for exposing injustice and changing the world (I wrote a new section on this in the new edition of Irresistible Revolution). I’m thinking 2016 will probably entail at least one arrest for non-violent civil disobedience, and I hope to have some nuns and pastors next to me.
  8.  

  9. Do more circus stuff. Back in the late 1990s I went to circus school, and used to be quite proficient at my juggling, stilt-walking, unicycling and all — but, alas – over the years, I’ve gotten a little rusty. In 2015, I busted out the torches, juggled fire, and did some fire-breathing… I hope to do it again in 2016. The world needs more circus.
  10.  

  11. Witness a miracle or two. For the past few years, one of the hopes that makes this list is: “To believe in miracles, and live in a way that requires them.” This year I realized, my problem isn’t believing but sometimes I’m just not bold enough to say: “Pick up the mat and walk.” This year I want to have a holy boldness that refuses to believe anything is impossible with God.
  12.  

  13. Learn a new skill – in 2016 that means Beekeeping. I love learning stuff. In recent years, that’s meant learning to make clothes, paint murals, compost with worms, and build houses… and this year we’re hoping to learn Beekeeping. Thanks to my wife’s folks, we now have our first hive. While I’m at it – I’m also learning to slack-line. I’ve always enjoyed the circus, and have a few skills up my sleeve (see #6). But recently I’ve been learning to slack-line, which is sort of like tight-wire only not as deadly (it’s about a foot off the ground). Hoping to get better at it in 2016. I hope you’ll do something fun, and that makes you laugh, regularly in 2016
  14.  

  15. I hope to live generously. As the old saying goes: “Live simply so others may simply live.” I hope to continue to live off 10% of our generated income and give as much as we can away. All the profits from the new 10th-anniversary edition of Irresistible Revolution (which comes out this month) will be given away to great local revolutions around the world (listed in the back of the book). Beyond money – I hope to be generous to my critics, and treat them like I want them to treat me. I also hope to confess my sins and say “sorry” when I need to. Rather than looking for the best in me and the worst in others, I want to look for the best in others, and work on the worst inside myself.
  16.  

  17. I hope to pray often — and regularly practice the “spiritual disciplines”, the holy habits of the faith. These things like fasting (sacrificing food or other provisions) and solitude are ways we can connect with God and the deepest parts of ourselves. Katie and I kicked off the year by doing the Spiritual Formation Workbook, a new study by Renovare, which we’ll use this year. (renovare.org).
  18.  

  19. I hope we see fewer people die. In 2015, violence has hijacked the headlines. In one week in 2015, we had 3 people get shot within a block of our house (2 died). While it may be idealistic to say I hope 2016 is a year when no one gets shot, I do hope this year that we make some steps away from the plague of gun violence that now claims 30,000 lives a year in the US. I hope to see more good stuff make news in 2016.
  20.  

  21. I hope Donald Trump does not get elected President. I hesitated a little on this one, because I don’t want to taint my holy-hopes by getting encumbered by the race for 2016. My political philosophy has been to devote myself to Jesus (“devote” shares the same root as “vote”, a theme I explore thoroughly in Jesus for President). And yet, as I listen to the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5) – where he blesses the meek, the merciful, the poor – and then I listen to many of our leading politicians, and Mr. Trump in particular, I am deeply troubled. If one set out to write a political agenda that is the anti-thesis of the Beatitudes of Jesus, you would come up with something that sounds a lot like the platform of Donald Trump. And yet — I know that Jesus heals even the hardest of hearts because I have seen him do it with mine… So I have committed to pray for Donald Trump, and I would gladly meet with him to talk, but I don’t plan on voting for him in 2016.
  22.  

  23. I hope to see people fall in love with Jesus. I see a lot of folks with deep faith who do not share their faith with others, and that makes me sad. And I also hear lots of loud evangelical voices within Christianity that are not always very beautiful. I hope 2016 is a year where beautiful Christianity flourishes. I’d love to see a Church that looks more like Jesus, and by doing so, moves the world toward him. I want to see new believers fall in love with Jesus, despite all the embarrassing things we Christians have done in his name.
  24.  

  25. I hope we keep feeding hungry people – and asking why people are hungry to begin with. Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you fed me” (Matthew 25). I like to challenge charity by calling people to think about justice. But sometimes we can get so caught up in fighting the systems that we lose touch with the people we are fighting for. In 2015, in our little neighborhood, we gave out 2000 pounds of food a week to dozens of families we know and love. I hope we keep doing simple things like sharing food and meals with hungry people in 2016, and I hope you’ll support our local work. $10 a month helps feed a family in Philadelphia (4 bags a month, 1 per week). You can donate here: thesimpleway.org/donate. And I ensure you just as we feed folks, we’ll also be doing something about why people are hungry.
  26.  

  27. I hope we keep making ugly things beautiful, bringing dead stuff back to life – and turning abandoned houses into homes. In Philly, there are over 20,000 abandoned houses, and we’ve been able to acquire them for as little as $1. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see an abandoned house become a home for a family in Kensington. We have at least 2 houses we’ll be working on in 2016. I hope you will support our work at Simple Homes as we challenge both slum-landlords and profit-driven developers as we create affordable housing for indigenous neighbors: http://www.redletterchristians.org/building-a-better-world-one-home-at-a-time/
  28.  

  29. I hope to see captives set free (and an end to the death penalty). I am so thankful for all my brothers and sisters in prison and on death row who write me letters. I hope to do better in 2016 at writing you back. I am so grateful I got to visit and speak at several prisons in 2015, and hope to visit every prison I can in 2016– to speak or just to listen. I also hope to do more work around mass incarceration, one of the most urgent issues of our day. For starters, I read about 15 books on prisons, the death penalty, and restorative justice (there are so many great resources, but I recommend Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow if you haven’t read it). Many of the books and stories that have inspired me are in my new book Executing Grace – which comes out in a May.
  30.  

  31. I hope to make space for holy interruptions. We are good at making schedules and lists (like this one), but not good at being interrupted. And yet, as you read the Gospels, you can’t miss the fact that half the stories and miracles were interruptions. Jesus was on his way somewhere, and someone pulled him aside, or asked him to visit their home, or told him they ran out of wine at their wedding. Jesus lived in the very space we often have no room for amid our predictable routines and carefully orchestrated schedules. So let us make space for our lives to be interrupted by injustice, by suffering, or by a person holding a cardboard sign.

 

On that note, there’s a knock at the door. Gotta run.

 

Those are my 16 hopes for 2016.

 

I hope that it is a year filled with love and holy mischief.

 

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About the Author

Shane Claiborne

Shane ClaiborneShane Claiborne is a Red Letter Christian and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community in Philadelphia. His forthcoming book, Executing Grace comes out in June. View all posts by Shane Claiborne →

  • Digger

    I recommend “The Case for Civil Disobedience”, by The National Review. The article will challenge us in that not only the civil disobedience of people who think exactly like us is ok, but perhaps we should try to see the view point of others as well.

    There are others who I would add to Mr. Claiborne’s #11. In fact, I’m having a hard time naming anyone who should not be added to #11.

    • SamHamilton

      Thanks for the recommendation of the article, but I couldn’t find it. I Googled “The Case of Civil Disobedience National Review” and didn’t get any results that matched. Do you have a link? I know they won’t let you post links here, but you can do it by omitting the periods and just using the word “dot.”

      • Digger

        That’s odd; I just cut/paste what you typed into google and the article was the very top thing that popped up.

        • Digger

          You can also copy paste this:
          national review 429214

          • SamHamilton

            Thanks. Got it.

  • WFU86

    A beautiful list…thanks for sharing. May God continue to bless you and your ministry in 2016!

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  • Steve Gillette

    Is it possible you misunderstand many of those who say they want “Jesus without the church”? For many of us, it’s not the fellowship, the assembly, or the communal worship we are avoiding. It’s the man made rules, the man made institution/denomination/tradition etc. It’s all these add-on things that Jesus did not establish but are elevated to the point that if you don’t follow them, you are not following Jesus or are “rebellious”.

    • JC is a lefty

      I was having this conversation last week. It is often preached at evangelical outreach events that just because you attend church you are not a Christian. Yet often the same people will be the first to ask why person X is not at church and person X cannot be a Christian. You can be a Christian and not go to church but the whole point of the church is to make being a christians more doable. The reason people don’t attend church stems down to individual issues and maybe sin or the churches issues and sins

    • SamHamilton

      I get what you’re saying. There are certain rules that particular Christian sects or denominations or congregations have that I don’t think are warranted. But it might be helpful for those people who don’t like certain man-made rules to say they want Jesus without certain man-made rules rather than without church. It’s not as pithy, but might clear up the confusion.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Shane! It would be great if you could talk to Donald Trump and his followers such as Charisma Magazine, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Falwell Jr. They need to hear your message.

    Looking forward to more of your Jesus-centered commentaries this year.

    • JC is a lefty

      I fully agree but there is more to add to your list. Be blessed!

      • otrotierra

        Indeed, the list is long and they are large in number.

        Shane’s Jesus-centered message is needed, no matter how politically unfashionable it is.

        • Vince

          Yes, those Canadians sure need to hear this!

    • craig

      You just can’t resist

  • Vince

    One of my goals is to truly be happy IN God. I will paraphrase (change) the Westminster Catechism

    The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying and delighting in God. All throughout the Bible we find commands to delight in God, be joyful in God not “because of” but “IN”. My goal is to really find out what this means and how to truly delight IN god and his word.

    “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV.

    “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Palm 40:8 ESV

    “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” Psalm 119:16 ESV

    For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,” Romans 7:22 ESV

  • That was a great list and beautiful post. I concur with 9-13 and 15. God Bless.

  • SamHamilton

    Wow, great list. Thank you. I would love to witness a miracle or two as well. As it happens, I was introduced to beekeeping this past year and was considering giving a it shot as well. Our local community garden plots have a place for hives. I’m thinking of trying it. I love your thoughts on going to church.

    Happy New Year!

  • JC is a lefty

    I love this list very fab thanks shame and rlc

  • BlueBlazer_3.0

    Hitler, Ted Bundy, and Bill Gates

    Christianity can be understood to endorse a spectacularly cruel and senseless outcome of how certain people are judged. All one has to assume is that Hitler, a Catholic by birth, understood the gravity of his sins and confessed them to Jesus before committing suicide. According to Christian doctrine, this simple act was sufficient for him to have all of his sins forgiven and to be welcomed into Heaven. On the other hand, the 6,000,000 Jews that he had murdered, and who by default failed to accept Christ, were sent to Hell. This is beyond unjust and irrational; it is unthinkable.

    Similarly, Ted Bundy, a confirmed murderer of over 30 young women, confessed his sins before his execution and, according to Christian doctrine, was sent directly to Heaven.

    On the other hand, Bill Gates, an atheist who has lived a virtuous life and has donated more than $27,000,000,000 to global health, development, and education will be sent to Hell. This irrational and senseless result is entirely consistent with the dogma of conventional Christianity.

    • Vince

      Grace is scandalous huh? Actually I get it, it isn’t fair as the world sees it. As God sees it, your good deeds won’t get you saved and your bad deeds won’t disqualify you either. He wants everyone to have eternal life 2 Peter 3:9. What is hard to accept is that your sins are no better than theirs and you don’t deserve eternal life just as Hitler, Bundy and Bill Gates don’t. Eternal life is free and undeserved for anyone that believes no matter what they have done.

    • JC is a lefty

      This is why Jesus said the first will be last and the last will be first. The dogma of traditional Christianity that is preached about tickets to heaven is a falsehood as you rightly point out. Doing lots of bad things then saying the sinners prayer or the polar opposite is not what it is about. The Jews you mention. Bill Gates you mention I believe will get a second chance to believe and walk with Jesus Christ even after they die. Not that it is about works but it is about Gods love. This is why the Rob Bell theology may have something in it. I don’t think everyone will walk with God due to pride no matter how many chances they are given in this life and the next.

      • Vince

        What is the basis for your belief?

  • BlueBlazer_3.0

    Hitler, Ted Bundy, and Bill Gates

    Christianity can be understood to endorse a spectacularly cruel and senseless outcome of how certain people are judged. All one has to assume is that Hitler, a Catholic by birth, understood the gravity of his sins and confessed them to Jesus before committing suicide. According to Christian doctrine, this simple act was sufficient for him to have all of his sins forgiven and to be welcomed into Heaven. On the other hand, the 6,000,000 Jews that he had murdered, and who by default failed to accept Christ, were sent to Hell. This is beyond unjust and irrational; it is unthinkable.

    Similarly, Ted Bundy, a confirmed murderer of over 30 young women, confessed his sins before his execution and, according to Christian doctrine, was sent directly to Heaven.

    On the other hand, Bill Gates, an atheist who has lived a virtuous life and has donated more than $27,000,000,000 to global health, development, and education will be sent to Hell. This irrational and senseless result is entirely consistent with the dogma of conventional Christianity.

  • jim

    Shane…..I can not say that I want Donald to get elected or not. That is God’s business, and my desires I hope fall under His Lordship. This problem of calling our own shots and self centered will came onto the scene long ago.

    That being said, I ran into this young man that described a prophetic vision. I am sure this will stir a few plops in the bowl. But what if his vision is correct. Read on.

    The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.”

    • Digger

      A “prophetic vision” is communication directly from our Holy God. He is not something be used flippantly for selfish purposes. I suggest avoiding using His name in vein as you have done here.

      • jim

        Point well taken…..I was just sharing what I stumbled upon. This guy said he received a vision from God. One might say it is true, and one might not. Lets say it is just an opinion. Isn’t that what most of these forums are, opinions?

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