“Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream” is the name of a variety show that will be performed on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil. While the show will bring together an unusual mix of performances and worldviews, the message organizers want to convey is simple: a peaceful world with more ice cream.
“It’s time to re-imagine the world,” says Christian peace activist Shane Claiborne. “Find a way to interrupt injustice and to build the kind of world we are proud to pass on to our kids – a world with fewer bombs and more ice cream.”
Claiborne has teamed up with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, to produce the anti-violence themed 90-minute variety show to be performed at a Philadelphia music venue, World Cafe Live.
The two plan to be a part of the production of “Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream” scheduled for one night only (Sept. 10). The multimedia presentation will include artists and storytellers focused on raising questions about violence and militarism, organizers said. Also, stories of reconciliation and grace will be told.
“It’s about how we can be human beings and how our spirituality is tied up in taking care of people instead of killing people,” Cohen told The Christian Post. “I think the key to actually changing the direction of our country is for people that don’t normally work together to start working together and that’s what we are doing.”
Cohen, who is an activist as well, normally gives talks from a secular perspective. Claiborne, meanwhile, represents a faith perspective. But they hope supporters from both belief systems will come together for a common interest just as they have.
“I’ve been working on the issue of national budget priorities and shifting money out of Pentagon spending and into human needs. Shane had been working on the same idea from a spiritual perspective and working on stopping violence locally in Philadelphia,” Cohen said. “I come at it from a secular, rational perspective and he comes at it from a spiritual perspective.”
Cohen read Claiborne’s book, Jesus for President, and was impressed enough to want to partner with him on the live variety show. Claiborne is one of the co-founders of The Simple Way in Philadelphia, a group featured in Christianity Today as a pioneer in the New Monasticism movement.
“I hope it will bring together both evangelical Christians and progressives, secular people that are both talking about the same thing, each in our own separate roles,” Cohen said.
CP asked Cohen to describe “Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream.”
“Well, it’s a little indescribable,” he explained. “There’s a juggler. There’s a visual artist. There’s a builder. There’s myself doing a demonstration with a bunch of BBs and another demonstration with a bunch of Oreo cookies. There’s videos. There’s something for everybody.”
According to a recent blog post by Claiborne, the show will include a 9/11 victim sharing about why she insists that more violence will not cure the epidemic of hatred in the world. Also, a veteran from Iraq will speak about “the collision he felt as a Christian trying to follow the nonviolent-enemy-love of Jesus on the cross … while carrying a gun.” Additionally, a welder will tie an AK-47 in a knot while a muralist paints something beautiful on stage, wrote Claiborne.
For those who cannot attend the event, Claiborne recommends that they “find some way to do something that doesn’t compute with the patterns of violence.”
The Philadelphia event will be videotaped. The organizers hope the show will be performed again at another venue.
When asked about the rumor that the audience would be treated to ice cream, Cohen said, “I’m the ice cream dude and there’s free ice cream for everybody.”