Wall Street Photo

Jubilee Party on Wall Street by Shane Claiborne

Ten years ago, we threw a party on Wall Street.  It was one year after 9/11 and nine years before Occupy.  We were inspired by the ancient vision of Jubilee found in the Bible – where God invites the Hebrew people to dismantle economic inequality by forgiving debts, setting slaves free, and redistributing property.  It was God’s emancipation proclamation, the Almighty’s creative way of systemically interrupting the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. Sure, biblical scholars are quick to point out that the Hebrew people never really practiced the Jubilee very well.  But one of my favorite scholars goes on to say, “That’s no excuse… Christians have never really practiced the Sermon on the Mount very well either.”  It was still God’s dream, God’s intention — and it is our job to keep God’s dream alive. So we threw a Jubilee party on Wall Street, ready to confront the raging bull head-on, ready to flip the tables on the front steps of capitalism’s temple. We invited the homeless folks in New York to come to the front entrance of the New York Stock Exchange where we planned to give away ten thousand dollars in cash.  They came…lots of them.  Just as the opening bell rang inside the Stock Exchange, Jubilee started rumbling \outside.  Small bills were dropped...

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The Economics of Guinea Pigs

by Matthew Watson Last night I was in the basement of an aging church building in one of the harder hit areas of Memphis and the scene included a cast of characters as diverse as the set of Sesame Street.  Jimmy, a giant of a man in his mid-50’s, greets everyone with a toothless million dollar smile.  Toya is 17 and will be having her first child next month.  James is a much sought after computer engineer.  Lisa is a community activist working with undocumented immigrants.  Jeremy just started his PhD. in New Testament Theology.  Peppered around the table are single moms, childless families and fatherless children.  And someone brought two furry Guinea Pigs, which are making the strangest noises. The church building that we’re in has stood as a sentinel in this neighborhood for years, but has seen cleaner days.  Only a handful of the fluorescent lights come on and consequently they give off a constant overcast hue.  The woodwork is rotting in places.  The paint is peeling.  The tile is chipping.  There are bugs; big ones.  And then there’s the smell. We’ve been coming to this place for nearly two years.  Our stated purpose is for Bible Study.  But what’s taking place is much more.  A new church is being birthed, a new community and family.  A...

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