July 05, 2012

A Holy Anarchism

In That Holy Anarchist, Mark Van Steenwyk, co-founder Missio Dei in Minneapolis and an editor at JesusRadicals.com, has given us a wonderfully concise primer on the intersection of Christianity and anarchism. This is a great book for those who may have an interest in such an intersection because it is both brief and easy to understand without too much oversimplification. It also provides suggestions for further reading for those who wish to explore this lifestyle on a deeper level.

Let's face it, authoritarian religions and regimes are comfortable to most people. They are easy and smooth, even as they cause suffering and bondage. The rules are set and the "us and them" paradigm is like a big La-Z-Boy recliner for those who are included in the "us" part of the deal. But for a growing number of people whose consciences have been whispering that something is dreadfully wrong with the world as it is ruled by the powers that be, this book may well provide a starting point in both understand and practicing a better way.

I particularly enjoyed the historic overview Steenwyk provided in A Brief Survey of Anarchic Christian History. Another section that stands out is Mystical Christo-Anarchist Practices. I think there are a significant number of people who hold varying degrees of the anarchist philosophy (like me), but have yet to figure out how to implement these philosophies in real-life practice. As Steenwyk says, "Our most pressing need is for practices that help us see the world through a different lens than that of imperial myth and civilizational programming." This book goes a long way in helping meet that need.

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