taking the words of Jesus seriously

Do you remember that old tale “The Little Engine that Could”? I heard it growing up — a story about a big train that needs to cross over a huge mountain. And a little bitty engine steps up to the task, pulling that giant snake of a train up the mountain, all the while mumbling, “I think I can, I think I can.”

After 15 years, it has started to feel like The Simple Way was like that little engine, pulling a whole lot of stuff up the mountain – good stuff, but a lot of good stuff. This little nonprofit that we started with no paid staff and a shoestring budget under the beloved name “The Simple Way” ended up with over 17 ministries, a little train pulling an unsustainable amount of good cargo… a few great people doing way too much really great stuff.

So over the next few months we are making some shifts here at The Simple Way. We are taking a few things off the train so it can move a little better.

The next season of this web of subversive friends is all about collaboration. After all, we’re trying to get rid of empires, not build one.

One of the transitions will be my public ministry of speaking and writing. I am excited to announce that it will move to Red Letter Christians where my friend Tony Campolo and I and over 100 other speakers and writers are already conspiring. So anything related to speaking, writing and media will happen through: www.redletterchristians.org.

The Simple Way will be refocusing our energy on the local work we started 15 years ago – sharing food, hanging out with kids, planting gardens, painting murals, challenging the systems that hold people down. I am as committed as ever to this neighborhood and to The Simple Way. I will be a volunteer, just like most of my neighbors.

For all things dealing with housing, some friends and I have created a new non-profit which we are thrilled about — Simple Homes, also run by volunteers and neighbors. We’ll be working hard to create a healthy village here in Kensington and free up as much affordable housing as possible — as we like to say “building a better world, one house at a time.”

I could not be more excited about what’s ahead. I hope you will dive into one, or all, of these projects. Whether you are more jazzed about the “local” stuff or the “movement” stuff, I know these transitions will give you clarity as you give. I hope you will join me in giving — money, time, and prayer.

Another 15 years… I think I can, I think I can. In fact, with the help of the sweet Lord and all of you, I know we can. Bring it on.

About The Author


Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, renowned activist,
 sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author of several books, 
including "The Irresistible Revolution," "Jesus for President," "Executing Grace," "Beating Guns," and his newest book, "Rethinking Life (to be released in Feb 2023)." He is the visionary 
leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and co-director of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.

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