*This is the 11th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.
What is Radical Discipleship? This used to be a fairly simple question to me. Now? Not so much.
Fifteen years ago, with the confidence of a late 20’s white seminarian, I “planted” a church whose only real mission was to take Jesus seriously. Soon, that new church experiment mutated into a full on intentional community, a sort of hybrid between a catholic worker house and a hippy Mennonite Church. We called ourselves the Mennonite Worker. Continue reading “Where We Put Down Our Roots”→
Any anabaptist theology that isn’t re-baptized through liberation theology reinforces oppression.
Anabaptism, on its own, only makes sense as a religion of the oppressed. Just like the Gospels are unintelligible to the middle and owner classes apart from the experiences of the oppressed.
In other words: Any calls for pacifism, meekness, and simplicity that come insistently from the powerful are attempts to keep the oppressed docile and poor.
Nonviolence must be a tool of the oppressed in their struggle, with the aid and support of repentant allies. Otherwise, in the hands of the powerful it becomes an ideology of oppression.
To be clear: I’m a pacifist. But pacifism and nonviolence must be in service to liberation or they become a force for oppression. If you’re a pacifist that isn’t working alongside (and following the lead of) those who struggle for liberation, then your nonviolence is just the velvet pouch sheathing the hammer of oppression
Because Christmas has become so central to the American economy and American consumption is so central to global capitalism, this festival of ‘Holy Days’ has become a central expression and embodiment of American imperial domination, an imperial religion. Richard Horsley, Religion and Empire (2003)
Truly, this Season signals a major tension for North American radical disciples. We resist and reclaim. Whether it is our love language our not, we give. But some forms of giving are far more redemptive than others.
It is in this Spirit that we offer gift ideas from more out-of-the-way, up-and-coming, long-suffering and open-hearted thinkers and artists. Links to their work are provided here and will eventually be added to our now-pemanent “STORE” tab up top. We hope this list is an Advent-instigator: please add your recommendations to the comments below or email us so we can add them to the store!!!
This year, Charlottesville exposed us all to some of the most vicious forms of American white supremacy. But far less known, C’Ville is home to some radical experimentation, including sweet sounds from a young singer-songwriter. Perfect for people defined by death-and-resurrection.
Probably the most unique musical contribution of the movement is from Philly-based Holy Fool Arts, a voice of and for the wilderness that combines poetry, theatrical masks, ancient rhythms, traditional and modern dance forms, with a heavy side of the blues.
Lastly, a recommendation from author-activist Wes Howard-Brook fair-trade, organic chocolate from Mama Ganache. From WHB:
They are THE BEST! As we all know, corporate chocolate production is both a human and environmental horror show. The folks at MG use their profits to support farmers in West Africa in many ways, as explained on their website. I’ve been ordering from them for years!
We are both Christian pacifists committed to creative responses to white supremacy that step outside the myth of redemptive violence.
Pacifists are at their best when they commit to strong solidarity and are willing to lay their lives on the line for the ones they love. It can be a pure expression of compassion–suffering with the oppressed in such a way as to magnify the full humanity of the oppressed while, at the same time, showing love for the oppressor as well. Continue reading “The Tension of Two Postures”→
An update from Mark Van Steenwyk, the co-founder of the Minneapolis Mennonite Worker:
I’ve gotten a few comments and messages expressing the assumption that The Mennonite Worker is closing, or has closed. That isn’t true (in one way), but it is true (in another way). Let me explain.
We launched the Mennonite Worker (originally called Missio Dei) in 2004. We started as an urban church with a strong commitment to living out the way of Jesus in a particular area of Minneapolis (mostly around the Cedar Riverside neighborhood). Within the first couple of years, we began a strong radical shift towards becoming an intentional community that lived more deeply into the sorts of radical practices Jesus calls us to embrace: hospitality, peacemaking, prayer, and simplicity. Continue reading “A Shift Towards Sustainable Community”→
From Mark Van Steenwyk (right: with son Jonas), co-founder of the Minneapolis Mennonite Worker, in a Facebook post from July 6:
If I lived in a swing state, I might vote for HRC. Thank God, I don’t. I have the luxury of voting my conscience (or non-voting my conscience) without much risk.
But I wish and pray and beg that folks would put the same energy into organizing or campaigning or protesting for justice that they put into this horrible excuse for democracy we call “presidential politics”. Continue reading “Precious Little Purchase”→
A Facebook Event Page for July 3 from the Simone Weil House in Minneapolis, MN:
Uncle Sam is turning 240. In the days of his fathers, this land was abundant with forests and clean water and myriad indigenous cultures. A sad waste of productivity. His fathers, the European nations, subjugated the land and its people, and brought in new labor from across the Great Sea. And thus, when little Sam was born, he received a worthy inheritance…land and labor. Continue reading “Destroying the Golden Calf”→