30 December 2009

Book: The Christian Anarchists of the 20th Century

Tripp York wrote a book on religious anarchism: "Living on Hope While Living in Babylon: The Christian Anarchists of the 20th Century" (Wipf and Stock, 2009).


Publisher's description: "Though Christendom has come to an end, it appears that old habits die hard. Jesus promised his followers neither safety nor affluence, but rather that those who come after him should expect persecution. Christian discipleship and tribal nationalism, however, despite the legal separation of church and state, continue to be co-opted into the nation-state project of prosperity and security. This co-option has made it difficult for the church to recognize her task to be a prophetic witness both for and against the state. That only a small pocket of Christians bear witness against such an accommodation of Christian practice is disconcerting; and yet, it breeds hope.

"In Living on Hope While Living in Babylon, Tripp York examines a few twentieth century Christians who lived such a witness, including the Berrigan brothers, Dorothy Day, and Eberhard Arnold. These witnesses can be viewed as anarchical in the sense that their loyalty to Christ undermines the pseudo-soteriological myth employed by the state. While these Christians have been labeled pilgrims, revolutionaries, nomads, subversives, agitators, and now, anarchists, they are more importantly seekers of the peace of the city whose chief desire is for those belonging to the temporal cities to be able to participate in the eternal city – the city of God. By examining their ideas and their actions, this book will attempt to understand how the politics of the church – an apocalyptic politic – is necessary for the church to understand her mission as bearer of the gospel."

Endorsed by D. Stephen Long (Marquette University) thus: "This work offers one of the most constructive political theologies I have read for some time. Refusing any merely reactive logic, York develops a theological an-archy that neither seeks relevance to nor reaction against a specific construal of state sovereignty. The 'arche' is the Risen Lamb who was slain, who calls into question the disorder created by materialism, racism, and militarism. [...] This is lively, enjoyable, and convicting reading."

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