That Holy Anarchist: Reflections on Christianity & Anarchism
Mark Van Steenwyk
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In That Holy Anarchist, Mark Van Steenwyk explores the relationship between Christianity and anarchism. The name of Jesus is invoked by those in power as well as those resisting that power. What were the politics of Jesus and how can they continue to inform us as we struggle for justice?
anarchists. I don’t believe that our only witness results in pulling people out of oppressive structures into radical Christian community. I used to think that way, but I’ve found that you can’t create a healthy alternative without also becoming adept at naming and engaging in acts of resistance against systems of oppression. Yes, there is a danger of simply getting sucked into the system with its ways of managing oppression. But if we are too afraid of getting our hands “dirty,” we may simply
never a Marxist. There is a reason why some of my most brilliantly anarchistic friends come off as authoritarian. There is simply more oppressing us than social structures. And more is required for us to embrace our fullest humanity than tearing down oppressive structures and replacing them with our clever utopias. If one is a Christian anarchist, who largely congregates with other anarchists, then it could easily be understood that one’s Christianity is simply their own flavor of anarchism.
realities. It challenges both the social world and our interior spaces. A Christian anarchism must be rooted in Jesus’ vision. However, I don’t believe we can really live into that vision without learning from sources outside of the Christian tradition. We can’t bible-study our way past our imaginative impasse. Our tradition is so enmeshed within the story of imperialism that we must be open to external critiques of both imperialism and Christianity. It is bad enough that our Christianity has
relationship to the place in which I live. This is the only way I can begin to break the “spell” over my imagination that sees myself as an American citizen, or as an individual consumer, or as a thing called a “white man.” By telling the stories of our places and telling our own stories, we can can work through the layers of conditioning and myth and propaganda. We can begin, slowly, to relate to each other in truth. 3) We need to experiment towards a gift economy. Simone Weil believed that
groups demonstrating a tendency towards anti-authoritarians were likely to be suppressed, making ancient and early medieval sources particularly difficult to find. Earlier reviewers advocated for the inclusion of the Celtic Christians, Donatists, and more. Early “heretical” groups were cast off for more than theological reasons; the particularities of their dissent have often been obscured by suppression.  read more of Ched’s thoughts on the “Fall” here: