…but it’s the same old pietism. (See here for this definition of pietism.)
Yeah, it’s cool to be cynical about politics and politicians, but, ideally, politics is about making the world better. They’re not doing anything that politicians haven’t already tried to do. Jesus wouldn’t have “loads of creative ideas to make the world better.” He wasn’t trying to make the world better, He was trying to save the people of the world from themselves.
[The “new monasticism”] looks like early Christianity, where believers shared the wealth and were rabidly involved in their communities.
And how does anybody know this? I’ll admit the first part, but where in the Scriptures does it say that early Christians were “rabidly involved in their communities”? Spend a little more time in the book of Acts, boys. A good place to start would be Acts 2:42. And then try 1 Corinthians 11:26. The point is, nearly everything that Claiborne and his friends want to do is good. I’m all for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, visiting the prisoner–all stuff Jesus said was good to do. But that is not the essence of the Church. It is not why, primarily, the Church exists. This sort of activism is a perfect example of sacralizing the common and trivializing the sacred. I hope they help people, but they need to stop claiming that their sort of activism is what the Church should be made of.