By: Jocelyn Perry
“The star they had seen, when it rose, went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the Child was.” The Star of Bethlehem revealed the birthplace and manifestation of peace, grace and humility on Earth—the Christ Child. The beauty of the Christ Child’s birth draws people of faith to the beauty and grace of Heaven. This is a Christmas story for all humanity. The story continues stating that “a great company of the heavenly host appeared . . . saying . . . ‘and on earth peace to those on whom Heaven’s favor rests.’”
During the Christmas season, when we reflect on Bethlehem, we must not only hear the call to peace, grace and humility but also the call of the Magi—the call to wisdom. To develop greater wisdom through understanding, the anarchist critique considers how our faith supports soci-economic, political, environmental and cultural discourses. Thus it critically and holistically engages our faith. When considering the anarchical context, we must ask ourselves whether there is peace on earth in Israel, Gaza and the Palestinian West Bank.
In spring 2009, an international delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) journeyed to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. CPT delegates worked to understand the division and conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and to connect with all people. The CPT delegation met with pastors, social justice activists, educators, farmers and soldiers. From time to time, “the peace that surpasses all understanding” was essential when hearing the difficult lives of Palestinian and Israelis living under a military occupation.
By: Ric Hudgens
Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her king!
This is the season in which we celebrate the coming of the rebel King of Bethlehem. The one sent in the words of his mother to “bring down rulers from their thrones and to lift up the humble.”
During Advent we read passages from the Hebrew prophets that remind us of the alternative future of peace awaiting the people of this earth. But it is a future we can speak of only in symbols, metaphors, and parables. It is a future too big for our words. It is a future too big for our imaginations. It is a future too big for our faith.
But how will we ever get there? Where is the path away from the graveyards of the past? Where is the path through the maze of the present? Where is the path that will bring us into that clearing where the light of God shines unhindered and we flourish in its radiance fulfilling that ancient word of Irenaeus who said, “the glory of God is humanity – fully alive!”
Our initial response to that question is “We do not know.” We admit that in light of our finitude, our confusion, and perhaps even our shame, we simply to do not know how to get there.
By: Keith Hebden
At Advent we prepare for Jesus return, for the coming of the Kin-dom of God. The song of Mary—the Magnificat—can help us prepare spiritually for this season because with it we echo Mary’s longing for a new and just re-ordering of society. Like Mary, we have no real idea of what that might mean. Only it will not be like before.
Last year, during Advent, Father Tim Jones, an Anglican priest in the Church of England made headline news here in Britain—and not for the first time—for the audacity of translating his faith into political direction. “‘It’s okay to shoplift’ says Father Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda” read the headline and the debate took wings.
The inspiration for Jones’s position was the Magnificat—the Song of Mary—a text from Luke’s gospel read daily around the world as part of the evening prayer liturgy.
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
By: Andy Lewis
In recent years the connections between an anarcho-primitivist critique and the Christian faith have been the focus of numerous gatherings, conferences and discussions. Jesus Radicals has been the on-line center for discussion regarding these connections for nearly six years now, and while the forums were never totally focused on an anarcho-primitivist critique, discussion relating to these ideas has fallen off quite noticeably since the merger with Jesus Manifesto.
With few exceptions, the front page essays have been almost entirely devoid of any explicitly anarchist critique. This reflects a disappointing tendency amongst “radical” Christians to constantly refer back to the principles of the peace and justice movement which have effectively created a homogeneous “Christian Left” devoid of any anarchist analysis. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not looking for a more radical Christian Left, I’m looking for a real break from the Left and all its inherent values such as production and development especially in the scientific and technological fields. The ever-present focus on poverty never seems to go deeper than a Leftist insistence on guilt and reformist measures such as “hospitality.” Sure, hospitality is radical in the right context (the 1930s for example), but when it’s so thoroughly institutionalized as it is in so many Catholic Worker Houses I fail to see how promoting such a response does much more than perpetuate reliance on institutional models for living out the Christian faith. The same could be said for plowshares actions. Maybe the first 100 times you poured blood on the nuke it was really something novel and creative but now, it’s a catholic worker form of institutionalized “resistance.”
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Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
Liza Minno Bloom
Eda Ruhiye Uca