Spiritual border-crossing and social creativity were themes in a conversation between Shane Claiborne and Omar Saif Ghobash, two people who have lived with some discomfort within the religious groups they continue to love. Ghobash is a diplomat of the United Arab Emirates and author of Letters to a Young Muslim. One of his responses to the politicization of Islam has been to bring a new art gallery culture to Dubai, creating spaces for thought and beauty. Claiborne is a singular figure in Evangelical Christianity as co-founder of The Simple Way, an intentional neighborhood-based community in North Philadelphia. One of the things he’s doing now is a restorative justice project inspired by a Bible passage — to transform guns into garden tools. This conversation took place at the invitation of Interfaith Philadelphia, which hosted a year of civil conversations modeled after the work of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project.
Shane Claiborne is the founder of The Simple Way, an intentional community in North Philadelphia. He’s recently written a book, Beating Guns, about the movement he co-leads to transform America’s guns into garden tools. His other books include The Irresistible Revolution.
His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash is now the assistant minister for cultural affairs in the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates. He was formerly UAE ambassador to France and Russia. His book is Letters to a Young Muslim.
This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Shane Claiborne and Omar Saif Ghobash — Called and Conflicted." Find more at onbeing.org.