Discipleship as Defection from the Mammon System: Jesus’ Parable about a “Manager of Injustice”

luke16By Ched Myers, on this weekend’s Gospel text Luke 16:1-13

Note: In this piece, originally posted to RadicalDiscipleship.net in September 2016, Ched offers a longer study because of his conviction that this is a crucial text for middle class Christians. A more detailed version of the reflections below can be found here; a webinar exploring these themes can be found here. [Right: “The Wicked Servant,” Ian Pollock, 1972.]

Summary: This Sunday’s gospel can be read as a poignant fable for all who realize that they have been disenfranchised by the dominant economic system, and who would try to “monkeywrench” whatever status they have in it to provide a modicum of Jubilee justice for themselves and others.  This parable illustrates the contemporary strategy of navigating what Wendell Berry calls the “Two Economies” by using capital to build social relations, rather than sacrificing social relations to build capital.  Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Balm in Gilead

Close up of oils on altar

Proper 20(25) C

By Laurel Dykstra

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? Jeremiah 8:22

Jeremiah’s exile lament uses the language of health and healing to speak of a return to faithfulness. The phrase has become an expression for a universal cure.

Continue reading

Community is Bullshit

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redit: James Darling, https://flic.kr/p/8MvB4k

By Katie Hoogendam. This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 43, Fall 2016, The Collectivity Issue.

The following piece is rooted in my experience as a university student at the Oregon Extension, an intentional educational community based atop a mountain in Lincoln, Oregon.

The Oregon Extension was formed by a collective of independent Christian professors in the mid-1970s and grounded in the works of Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry. It is known for its cultivation and examination of “big ideas,” and has been touted as a space for seekers of all stripes and disgruntled Christians alike. This article is an update of a story that originally appeared in catapult magazine [online] and in Road Journal magazine in 2008.

God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life. – Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix

The year is 2001. Professor John casts his gaze across the batch of eager new students and, pausing for dramatic effect, calculates the measure of our idealism on some internal register built upon years of guiding sanguine undergrads. “Community is bullshit,” he grunts, turning away without explanation. Continue reading

When Spirit Starts Scratching

Speed Limit 3By Tommy Airey

The first time I heard her was in the middle of the night. She woke me up. I dragged my angry ass out of bed and bee-lined it for the bathroom. I strained straight up and pounded on the ceiling. Her scratching stopped. For five seconds, all was quiet on Washtenaw Avenue. But she would return. And would keep returning night after blessed night.

About 72 hours after the first episode, Lindsay and I hypothesized that the serial scratcher was a raccoon. Her nocturnal lifestyle gave her away. After midnight, she let it all hang out, hauling in branches and pinecones and rocks. The havoc played out in the vent that became her home that winter. Sometimes it sounded like she was playing a friendly game of marbles. Sometimes we were certain the light fixtures were going to crash through the ceiling. A raccoon roommate is like having an uncle who watches Fox News. He shows up at the worst times and he’s impossible to ignore. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Teach Me Wisdom in My Secret Heart

products with palm oilProper 19(24)

Exodus 32:7-14
Psalm 51
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10

By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

The words, “Your people… have acted perversely” could literally be stated today as “Your people are acting perversely.” Those words from Exodus are as applicable today as they were at the time that book of the Bible was written. Modern society has made idols of acquisition and consumption fed by greed for money and/or lust for power and prestige. Like Paul, in the first letter to Timothy, many of us “have acted ignorantly” in our complicity and support of these perverse systems that harm people and our relatives in creation. Continue reading

Five Years In: Let’s Keep Composting Empire Together!

LydiaA Message from our Curators:

It’s really hard to believe that RadicalDiscipleship.net has been curating posts every day for five years. These voices have provided inspiration and challenge for those of us subverting popular and powerful versions of colonial Christianity. As we move into Year Six of this journalistic vocation, we’ve made an undemocratic executive decision to scale down our content. We believe this is good news as we’ve heard consistently from folks that it is quite a challenge to “keep up” with our daily onslaught of deep posts. Continue reading