7 Messianic Anarchist

celebrating the way of freedom

Questions for reflection

What do you think of when you hear the word anarchist?

Do you think that Christians should be political?

What are the risks of tying up following Jesus with engagement with political change?

When is it acceptable to break a law? Should Christians be standing against unjust laws?

How can we square anarchic ways of following Jesus with the injunctions given by Paul in Romans 13? Do you think Paul was using irony in this passage?

Can you see any links between anarchy and spirituality?

Further reading and further thoughts

“The wind blows where it wants to, you hear its sound but you know neither its origin nor its destination; so it is with everyone born of the spirit” – Jesus

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus. Do you agree?

“All government are in equal measure good and evil. The best ideal is anarchy” – Leo Tolstoy

“One who obeys God needs no other authority” – Peter Chelcicky

“When holy scripture speaks of following Jesus it proclaims that people are free from all human rules” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“An anarchist is someone who does not need a cop to make him behave” – Ammon Hennacy

Read: Jeremiah 31:33-34; John 7:37-39

Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers, Fortress Press, 1992

J Eitte and FS Alexander (Eds) Christianity and Law: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, 2008

Dave Andrews, Christi-Anarchy: discovering a radical spirituality of compassion Wipf & Stock Publishers 2012

A Christoyannopoulos, Christian Anarchism: a political commentary on the gospel, Imprint Academic, 2011

A peacemeal idea

Consider how some formal conventions of etiquette shape the way we share food together. Why not try an anarchic Peacemeal together? This can be as gentle or extreme as you wish it to be, but as a minimum, try not using knives and forks, ensuring everyone is eating with their hands and is willing to get messy. Also, experiment with a spontaneous ‘non-scripted’ way of sharing bread and wine, without liturgy, shape or structure, inviting everyone to improvise and participate. Reflect afterwards as to whether this was a liberating or threatening experience and discuss why.

Living it out

Remember that spirituality is at the heart of all authentic anarchy. Nurture deep spiritual freedom.Take time to learn how to live free. Consciously choose to live ‘from the inside out’ always working with the question, “What kind of person do I really want to be?” Openly challenge all systems and structures – physical, mental, spiritual – that would constrict you and all others. Steadily develop the spiritual and emotional strength to be a ‘Messianic Anarchist’.

A very visible and contemporary example of anarchy colliding with justice is seen in the ongoing history of war tax resistance. Investigate the case of the Peace Tax Seven who are fighting for their right have the military part of their taxes diverted to a peace fund. Is this a step that you would consider taking too?

A meditation

Meditate on the story of the woman caught in adultery, using Ignatian techniques. (An excellent short introduction can be found here.)

Read the story in John 8:1-11 two or three times. Then put the text aside and imagine the story – focus on the sounds, sights and smells. Pick a character from the story and imagine what they are feeling and thinking as the events unfold. What insights does this particular viewpoint bring? Repeat but this time choose a different person. How did that person feel – shocked, happy, sad, angry, relieved, free?