Shane ClaiborneShane Claiborne

The A.J. Muste Memorial Lecture series at Hope College will feature the address “Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence” by author Shane Claiborne on Monday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The presentation’s abstract describes gun violence as a public health, spiritual and moral crisis that can be addressed by changing hearts and laws.  In the United States, it notes, “We have nearly five times more gun shops than McDonald’s restaurants. More Americans have died from guns in the U.S. in the last 50 years than in all the wars in American history. In the U.S., we manufacture 9.5 million guns a year, 26,000 a day, 18 per minute, one gun every three seconds. With less than 5% of the world's population, the people of the U.S. own nearly half the world’s guns. America also has the most annual gun deaths — homicide, suicide, and accidental gun deaths — at 105 per day, or more than 38,000 per year.”  In contrast, the abstract continues, “The biblical prophets Micah and Isaiah imagine a world where God’s people beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning hooks… transforming the tools of death into tools of life, building a world free of violence.”

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist and best-selling author.  He worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia.  He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of people committed to living “as if Jesus meant the things he said.” He is a champion for grace, which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to stand against war. Now grace fuels his passion to end the death penalty and help stop gun violence.

His books include “Jesus for President,” “Red Letter Revolution,” “Common Prayer,” “Follow Me to Freedom,” “Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream,” “Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers,” “Executing Grace,” “The Irresistible Revolution,” “Beating Guns” and “Rethinking Life,” and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has been featured in a number of films, including “Another World Is Possible” and “Ordinary Radicals.” His work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, TIME and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been on everything from Fox News and Al Jazeera, to CNN and NPR.

Claiborne speaks more than 100 times a year, nationally and internationally. He’s given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Liberty, Duke and Notre Dame, and he speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals and conferences around the globe.

The A.J. Muste Memorial Lecture series began in 1985 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Johannes (A.J.) Muste, a 1905 Hope graduate. Muste went on to become one of the most well-known and influential peace activists in the United States, working for many years as the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The lecture series seeks to explore issues that would have been of interest to Muste, who died in 1967, including topics related to labor, civil rights and peace. The college will be screening the four-part documentary series “A.J. Muste: Radical for Peace,” which chronicles Muste’s life and impact, across four Mondays between Sept. 25 and Nov. 6, at 6 p.m., also in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college’s Events and Conferences Office by emailing or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Updates related to events are posted when available in the individual listings at

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.