taking the words of Jesus seriously

Annually, The King Center leads the observance of the national holiday commemorating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Beloved Community Awards is one of the marquee programs of this week-long holiday experience. The awards recognize national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership; that pursue social justice and that are committed to creating the Beloved Community, in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shane Claiborne’s Acceptance Remarks

“It is a gift to be here tonight with my wife Katie Jo, and her parents, with my mom and dad – my friends, family, mentors and coworkers… the people I pray with, dream with, and go to jail with – tonight we’ve got the inlaws and the outlaws here in Atlanta.

It’s times like these that we are reminded that we are not alone.  We’re reminded that we are not crazy… As Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic worker movement used to say: “If I am crazy, it is because I refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy.”  

So thank you – Dr. King, and Coretta Scott King, and Dr. Bernice King and all the fine folks of the King Center — for reminding us that we are not alone.  You remind us that we are in good company as we get into good trouble.

I think of that time that Dr. King talked about being maladjusted… People used it as an insult – they said he was “maladjusted” –but he took that insult and turned it into a compliment.  He said there are some things we need to be maladjusted to… after all, we live in a world that has become way too adjusted to racism, way too comfortable with other people’s suffering.  We live in a world that has become way too adjusted to violence, way too adjusted to injustice… we need some maladjusted people in the world.  

As I look at each of you tonight, the other folks receiving awards tonight, I can’t help but think – what a distinguished group of maladjusted people.  I am so honored to be among you.

Some will say that we are idealists, that we are out of touch with the real world.  They say we are unreasonable.  But the truth is this:  it is unreasonable for 100 people to own the same amount of wealth as half the world.  It is unreasonable to have more guns than people in this country.  It is unreasonable to own bombs 100 times stronger than the one we dropped in Hiroshima.  It is unreasonable — to spend $25,000 per second – 1.5 million dollars per minute — on militarism and war, or that we should have the capacity of 50,000 Hiroshima bombs.  It is unreasonable to invest in prisons instead of schools.  The death penalty – is unreasonable.  The idea that we can kill someone who kills to show that killing is wrong. That is unreasonable. 

It’s good to be maladjusted. 

There is a Scripture that says: “Let us not conform to the patterns of this world, but let us be transformed by the renewing of our mind.”  It is an invitation to not conform, to be maladjusted.  So let’s not stop dreaming.  Let us keep living in ways that don’t compute.  Let’s keep disrupting the status quo, and getting in the way of violence.  Let’s keep interrupting injustice. Let’s keep troubling the waters. And stirring up holy mischief.  Let’s keep getting into good trouble – because we are in good company.  It is truly an honor to be here with you tonight.”

The full video of Shane’s award and acceptance speech will be added below when it becomes available.


Big thanks to Greg and Joey of The Wonder Brothers for producing such a great
introductory video. Learn a little more about Shane, his background, and Red Letter Christians.


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