On May 7, 2011, at age 35, Shane Claiborne married Katie Jo Brotherton. The missionary, author of New York Times bestseller The Irresistible Revolution, and founder of North Philadelphia faith community the Simple Way met Katie Jo eight years ago, just after he'd taken a vow of singleness and was considering being celibate for life. Now the two Southerners are making a life together in North Philadelphia, which includes involvement in community gardens, worm farms, tutoring sessions, daily prayer, and community activities. During a visit to their neighborhood this summer, they had a few things to say about community, overcoming conflict in marriage, and living intentionally as a couple.
How did you two meet?
Katie: When we first met eight years ago, [Shane] had just taken a vow of singleness and was thinking about being celibate for his whole life. Then we didn't see each other for five years, and we were at this huge gathering when he saw me and said, "Hey, nice to see you again, I'll give you my phone number later so we can connect and hang out." So I went up to him after, but he was with someone and didn't even give me his number—he just said, "Oh yeah, my number's in the phone book." It was a bad pickup line, but I went for it, and went to the phone book [laughs]. Then we started dating. We wrote letters for six months. Even though we only lived about a mile away from each other, we wrote letters. I still have them all. Then we started dating, then we got married.1