Rock! Paper! Scissors!
Tools for anarchist + Christian thought and action
Vol 1. No. 1
The Movement Makes Us Human
The Movement Makes Us Human
Editor: Joanna Shenk
By: Joanna Shenk
Now is the time to be human and join with all our creaturely family in the dance of liberation.
In a time when the inhumanity of heteronormative, white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy are publicly normalized by the powerful, Jesus Radicals shares stories of resistance, love, and transformation. The Movement Makes Us Human, the title of a newly released book on the life and thought of social movement veteran Dr. Vincent Harding which I authored, is also the theme of the first issue of the Jesus Radicals online journal, Rock! Paper! Scissors! Tools for anarchist + Christian thought.
Harding was an historian instrumental in the creation of the field of Black Studies (through founding the Institute of the Black World in the late 1960s). He was the first director of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and the primary writer of the prophetic “Beyond Vietnam” speech that Dr. King delivered one year to the day before his assassination. He was the author of the first comprehensive narrative of black resistance to enslavement “There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America,” beginning on the shores of the African continent. He was a lifelong activist and educator. In his later years he was a movement elder, mentoring many young people in their work for justice.
In The Movement Makes Us Human, Harding reflects on his work with Dr. King during the Southern Freedom Movement. He writes that “Martin shaped the movement and was also shaped by the movement. The movement teaches us what it means to be human.”
We believe, along with Dr. Harding, that involvement in movements for justice calls out our deepest humanity. This way of being human connects us across lines of difference, empowers us to confront and overcome fear, and normalizes solidarity in the face of alienation and hate. With his life Dr. Harding embodied this way of being and now cheers us on from among the cloud of witnesses.
Contributors in this issue clearly connect our ability to become human with the exorcism of white supremacy from our individual and collective bodies. They reflect on the dangerous spirituality of Vincent Harding that requires us to wrestle with angels, because anything less is not the radical engagement we need in these times. They share stories of their own transformation and honor those who have been their teachers. They articulate the hope we have, as we interconnect ourselves in communities of solidarity and accountability.
Today is the day for those committed to the liberating way of Jesus to act boldly and see with clarity the work that is ours to do. As we are yet in bondage to the sins of this world, we must discern the way to freedom. We must claim that we have been created for freedom and throw off the weights of white supremacy and capitalism that cling so closely to our souls. We must heed our own cries and the cries of all those oppressed by the sins of heteronormative patriarchy. Now is the time to be human and join with all our creaturely family in the dance of liberation.
Rock! Paper! Scissors! is a tri-annual, topic-focused, web-publication exploring the intersections of anarchist politics and Christian faith. Through following the way of Jesus in the shadow of empire, we seek to undermine systems of oppression and creatively explore possibilities for liberation from an anarchist or radical christian perspective.