Ask the Anarchist Reverend is a weekly feature here on the site. If you have a question you’d like to ask, you can send me an email (anarchistreverend at gmail), find me on twitter, or submit your question using formspring.
What does (or can) Christian anarchism look like in a practical, daily sort of way? I can imagine a theoretical future Christian anarchist uptopia but I’m not sure how I might begin to live into that reality now in a way that is also sustainable and helps move us toward that future goal.
I really love this question! It was challenging to write this because I realize all of the ways that I don’t live up to my own ideals. This journey of being a Christian anarchist is never complete. I am always in process, always learning (failing) trying to be and do better. But that challenge is a healthy one. It reminds me of the areas I can work on. For me, I think about practical Christian anarchy in two ways: Where are the places you can drop out? Where are the places you can rebuild?
Where are the places you can drop out? Where is resistance possible? I think about where are the ways I can show resistance to imperial living: I can refuse to say the pledge of allegiance or sing the National Anthem. I can spend my money in places that are committed to fair labor practices and sustainable goods (or better yet I can barter for things; trade labor, skillshare). You could have a yard (or larger) garden (or window boxes). You could make your own clothing, or only buy second hand. It’s all about not propping up the system that is broken. Get your money out of big banks if you can, buy local or direct from the source, etc. You could refuse to pay taxes, refuse to register to vote, or refuse to register for the draft. You could teach your children at home.
Where are the places you can rebuild? Christian anarchy is about living in the shadow of the Empire. How can we build communities that show another way is possible? I think the early Christian community was anarchist in nature. They all took care of one another. They adopted abandoned children, they cared for the sick and the elderly, they ate together and worshipped together. All of this was revolutionary. What if we formed ourselves into small enough communities where we could make sure that everyone was cared for? That those who were sick got what they needed, that everyone had enough to eat.
If we practiced these radical acts, I think we begin to show the world what is possible. We begin to help people rethink the ways they relate to one another. It definitely won’t be easy, but change never is.
Even more than behaviour, though, is freeing our minds to think in new ways. To dream together what is possible. To erase “But I just could never…” from our vocabularies. All of us who have any modicum of privilege are imbued with the mentality of the Empire. We have been taught that this is the way it is and this is the way it has to be. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to dream ourselves into a new reality. One where we are restored our humanity, where people have dignity, where we are all cared for.
The Empire doesn’t have the final word. We need to live into the reality of the Kingdom of God here and now because it is already here among us if only we could recognize it.