Another installment of Ask the Anarchist Reverend:
First up a fun question: What is your favorite flavored waffle or pancake syrup?
I prefer the straight up maple syrup, although I think the cheap stuff I got at the grocery store is “buttered flavor” (which should probably scare me more than it does) and it is delicious.
Next up: What the hell is Christian Anarchism?
Here’s the short answer to this question: Christian Anarchy is both a spiritual and a political belief. Secular anarchy is the belief that no one should have power over another. It’s not a belief in chaos or destruction, but instead a belief in mutuality and community. In Christian Anarchist circles the thinking is that this commonality and mutuality can only come by following God.
Now, there is a lot to unpack here. And there is a lot that I don’t agree with in Christian Anarchist circles. For one, I have found many Christian Anarchists to not be supportive of queer folks and to not have a lot of self-reflection on race and gender. But just because people aren’t actually living out their ideals doesn’t make the whole system of belief invalid (see: Christianity as a whole).
For me Christian Anarchy is a belief that we should be taking care of one another outside of government structures. That the way forward means setting up new communities in the shadow of the empire. It means always resisting ideology that is imperial in nature, and in fact standing in the way of empire (even if that means getting run over). It’s about accepting our responsibility for one another instead of pushing it off onto other avenues. It means following in the way and example of Jesus, not as an abstract saviour from our sins, but in a concrete lover of the marginalized and agitator of the empire.
This is all messy and maybe utopian, but it’s what I am striving for. Not always successfully, but hopefully always striving.
For those interested in reading more, my friend Mark Van Steenwyk has a new pamphlet out called That Holy Anarchist: Reflections on Christianity & Anarchism (link goes to my affiliate page) I haven’t read it quite yet, but I know and trust Mark and know that he writes wonderful things.