By: Jeriah Bowser
Note: This article was originally published at the Hampton Institute
His long, well-conditioned, light-brown hair glistens softly in the sun. His deep blue, penetrating eyes betray his Anglo-Saxon heritage. His well-manicured facial hair parts to reveal a gleaming set of perfectly straight, white teeth. His soft white skin and delicate fingers hint at a life free of manual labor and toil. The long, flowing white robe that wraps around his body must have been recently washed and bleached, as it radiates purity and divine goodness. The child in his lap and the crowds that have gathered around him with admiration and awe written all over their faces communicate that this man must be saying something incredibly important and inspirational.
He teaches such divine truths as "Blessed are those who make lots of money, for God loves money" and "For God so loved the world, he made a special place for you to burn and suffer forever if you don't follow his moral boundaries" as well as "When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to him the other also; unless your government decides that a group of people is a threat to your country, then go ahead and slaughter them."
He is the patron saint of Capitalism. He is the author and originator of Manifest Destiny. He is a card-carrying member of the NRA and a proud Conservative Republican. He is invoked whenever one of his flock needs a new bike, car, house, or business merger. He rides atop our fighter jets and cruise missiles, and blesses our troops as they head off to foreign conquests. He is the epitome of the American dream- born into poverty and obscurity, yet through hard work and dedication he became a great prophet and then sacrificed his life for our sins. He is a prophet boldly upholding and defending the ideals that our glorious country was founded on. He is…. say it with me now… Jesus.
By: Mark VanSteenwyk
The following is the first chapter from Mark Van Steenwyk's new children's book, A Wolf at the Gate. Mark has written books on Christian anarchism geared towards adults (That Holy Anarchist and The unKingdom of God). However, he's learned from his 7 year old son, Jonas, that radical ideas are best engaged when you're a child - before your imagination gets fenced in by conventional wisdom. Visit www.awolfatthegate.com for more information.
The wolf father taught her all the wisdom passed down from his own parents. He taught her how to hunt deer near the edge of the forest, where the river meets the tall grass. He taught her how to fight as they wrestled together in the golden warmth of the setting sun. Most importantly, he taught his daughter how to hide from their greatest enemy, humankind, by sticking to the shadows, since wolves can see better in the dark.
The wolf father also taught the red wolf legends passed down from pack to pack since wolves first hunted in the mountains they called home.
One night, as the sky grew dark and the crickets began their nightly chorus, the red wolf and her father stood at the top of a small mountain. Looking down upon the village of Stonebriar at the foot of the mountain, the wolf father snarled and told her of the wolves’ first clash with humankind:
By: HH Brownsmith
The Bible is brimming with instances of people waiting for a prophet or movement only to have that person or mobilization arrive and go unrecognized or, worse yet, be violently suppressed because it doesn’t conform to the expectations of the waiting masses.
Since I started working and/or living in radical Christian settings seven years ago, I have heard elders wax nostalgic about the civil rights movement. I have watched older folks who lived during the end of the Jim Crow era weep when discussing their own recognition of that important historical and cultural shift. I have also watched elders chastise young folks, sometimes rightfully, for failing to care about this history; the nonviolent tactics employed; and the ways hearts, minds, and institutions were forever altered.
I write about a lot of issues with the marginal confidence of a generalist. But if there is an issue on which my nerve consistently fails it is on the generational tension and resulting divide as it exists in the radical Christian left. This issue of generational conflict feels close…maybe too close. I have watched the “old guard” in established Christian communities push out younger folks for misunderstandings that boil down to generational politics (i.e. democratic socialism vs. anarchism). I have watched young people leave established churches to start generationally homogenous churches of their own. And, of course, I have seen so many people under 40 leave parish ministries and take their seminary training to chaplaincy work or academia.
Wondering if perhaps there was something to our elders complaints that young folks are disrespectful and too "now focused", I decided to really seek instruction from "the silent generation". I am a member of a church with only 3 consistently attending members in their 20s (my partner and I are included in that number). I am now employed by that church. And over the last year I was part of an apprenticeship program administered by this church and five of my favorite ministers, all but one of whom is over sixty. This experience of committing to a religious community and earnestly trying to understand the stories that my generation supposedly won’t hear has given me a stronger understanding of our elders’ position. Naturally, greater understanding makes critique even harder. But I do hope that it gives the resulting critique the weight of a well-informed position.
By: Nichola Torbett
This is not one of those blog posts in which I share something nifty that I have all figured out. (I should probably be suspicious of those, anyway, as a recovering “knower." Instead, I’m coming to the Jesus Radicals community with a question that I hope you will help me answer in the comments: What would it look like to invite the Holy Spirit to show up more powerfully and charismatically in our public actions as Christians?
I don’t know about you, but I have been to my fair share of faith-based social justice vigils around any number of social issues, and while I deeply appreciate the opportunity to gather with like-minded people of faith and believe that doing so lends significant legitimacy to the causes we are there to witness to, I almost always leave feeling we have missed an opportunity to bring the full repentance-inducing power of God into the situation—the power to seize people, move them, pick them up and set them going in a different direction . I think about the descent of the Spirit on that first Pentecost—a dramatic public event that could be considered a direct action; certainly it was perceived as a threat to the ruling powers—and how effective it was in calling new people out of collaboration with empire and into participation in the Kingdom or Kindom of God. And isn’t that what we want our social justice actions to do?
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