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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: "The Simple Way" - practice English with Spotlight

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welcome to spotlight

I'm Ryan Gertz MA and I'm Liz Waid

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old factories stand in lines along empty

streets no one is using them they look

ruined and dirty

there are also empty houses no one is

taking care of them the people who live

in this area are very poor

some live in the houses but other people

in the area do not even have a house to

live in they are homeless

this is Kensington an area in the city

of Philadelphia in the United States

there is a hopeful place in the middle

of Kensington it is a community center

it provides help for people in this area

today there is a clothes exchange at the

community center some people brought

clothes to give away other people came

to get clothes they paid one dollar then

they filled a large container with

clothes for their families a group


the simple way organized this clothes

exchange day these are the same people

who manage the community center but

these people were not born in Kensington

they choose to live there even though

this area is very poor many people do

not understand why someone would choose

to live in poverty today's spotlight is

on the simple way community


I wanted what my culture taught me to

want I wanted to get a job where I could

make the most money I had a lot of ideas

but I did not have many relationships

these are the words of Shane Claybourne

he is talking about his life as a young

man but now his life is different he is

the leader of the simple way he wears

simple brown clothes that he made for

himself he has long hair past his

shoulders he talks to many people at

universities and churches Shane

speaks with great energy during a speech

at Biola University he explains how his

life changed

I was a college student in 1995 I lived

outside the city there were hundreds of

empty houses in Philadelphia yet people

were waiting a long time to get a house

there was a group of poor and homeless

families in Kensington

they were mostly children and mothers

these families decided to show the

struggle of homeless families so they

found an empty building to live in it

was an old empty Church at our college

we saw this story in the newspaper but

the newspaper said the families were

told to move out the city wanted to

remove the families from the building

but the families did not have anywhere

else to live so we went to the church we

found those families we entered into

their struggle it was the first step

for a student movement


Shane and his friends could not just

watch other people suffer at this time

they were reading the book of Acts

together in this part of the Christian

Bible they read about another group of

Christians all the believers were

together they shared everything they had

they sold what they owned they gave each

other everything they needed

Shane listened to these words very

closely he decided to move to the

poorest part of Philadelphia five of his

friends also moved with him some of them

had jobs and others did not

they shared a house they shared all

their money this is not common in North

America today the members of the simple

way still live like this they do not

dream of being rich or powerful they

have a different dream they want to

follow the words of Jesus Shane believes

the world is broken it is full of

problems so there is one main question

that he thinks all people should ask how

can my skills and resources meet the

needs of the world we live in


Shane tries to improve the world by

working in the poor area of Kensington

he also helps by sharing his story in

his speech at Biola University Shane

explained we no longer try to gain more

money and more things we try to see how

we can live with less we use our

resources and skills to help meet the

needs of other people it is an economy

based on loving the people around us as

much as we love ourselves this means

another person's suffering is my

suffering the main aim of the simple way

is to share in the suffering of people

living in poverty they are friends with

people who are homeless they fixed some

old houses to be their home and

community center they invite people to

their home and share food they organize

events such as giving away many clothes

for only one dollar

they made a grassy area in an empty lot

it is now a natural green space for the

community the work of the simple way is

not always easy in 2007 there was a huge

fire in their area it started in

empty factory building the fire

destroyed many homes about 100 more

families were now homeless it also

burned down the simple way house and

community center but even in this

difficult time there was something good

Shane told Dilworth Town Community

Church no one was hurt in the fire and

our whole community came together the

aid organization the Red Cross set up a

shelter but the strangest thing happened

almost 100 families had nowhere to sleep

their houses had burned down but no one

stayed in the shelter everyone in the

community opened their homes to each

other I am really proud of our community


the simple way is not the only community

of people choosing to be poor there are

groups of people around the world who

live this way but Shane and his friends

know that not everyone wants to choose

poverty he says that each person has a

different way to live he wrote a book

about his life in it he explains so not

everyone acts in the same way but we

must act we listen to the voice of God

and the voices of people who are

suffering we need clear minds that are

free to dream again


what do you think of Shane's idea what

do you think of choosing to be poor

share your thoughts on our website at

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The Description of "The Simple Way" - practice English with Spotlight