Ched Myers is an activist theologian who has worked in social change movements for forty years. With a Masters degree in New Testament Studies, he is a popular educator who animates scripture and issues of faith-based peace and justice. He has published more than 100 articles and more than half-dozen books, most of which can be found at www.ChedMyers.org. He and his partner Elaine Enns, co-direct Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries (www.bcm-net.org) in the Ventura watershed of southern California.
Posts By This Author
What Christianity and Anarchy Have in Common
FROM THE STREETS of Ferguson to Charlottesville and from Occupy to Standing Rock, anarchists represent a prominent part of today’s activist mix. How might Christians understand this tradition of political engagement?
In popular culture, anarchism is often trivialized as a cipher for generalized chaos, based on a caricature of hooded black bloc brawlers smashing store windows at protests. On the other hand, some anarchists settle for mere sloganeering, with little analysis or strategy. But simplistic stereotypes fail to recognize that, as social critic Cornel West put it, anarchism represents “a powerful critique of concentration of power in the nation-state.”
The label derives from the Greek anarchos, meaning “without rulers” (not, as some libertarians wrongly assume, without rules). Anarchists work for voluntary, nonhierarchical forms of self-organization and against state coercion and oppression.
As a social movement and ideological orientation, political anarchism began coalescing in the wake of the failed social revolutions of 1848 around Europe. Early anarchists critiqued the state as the root of all human oppression, and as the “left of the left” challenged Marxist assumptions that revolutions could only be accomplished by changing state structures from the top down. Some proposed communal self-rule and “mutual aid” as an alternative to social Darwinism.
The majority of the tradition was (and remains) decidedly atheist—“no gods, no masters.” But Pierre-Joseph Proudhon allowed that early Christianity was essentially anarchist until the church sold out to Constantine, while Peter Kropotkin argued the same about popular radical religious movements of the late Middle Ages.
From the Archives: April 1991
AS I WRITE this, one week after the beginning of “Desert Storm,” the networks have returned to their regularly scheduled programming, responding to polls the third day of the war indicating that Americans were tiring of the coverage. (Considering what we don’t hear, “coverage” seems a wholly appropriate euphemism—just try to verify reports beginning to leak out of the war zone of 100,000 or 200,000 civilian casualties.) War news has become a mere refrain—“Allied forces continued today to pound Iraq ...”—punctuated with videotaped missile strikes or bemasked reporters and the horrific wailing of air raid sirens.
A Watershed Moment
In the face of ecocide, the choice before us is stark: discipleship or denial.
'Everything Will Live Where the River Goes'
A Bible study on water, God, and redemption.
The Passion of the Gulf
The BP catastrophe invites us to take a hard look at ourselves. We invited eight writers to offer their reflections on images from the Gulf Coast disaster.
Pay Attention to the Birds
A Bible study on Luke 12, ecology, and economics.
Baptism's True Claim
The Blood Of The Martyrs
A House For All Peoples?
A Bible study on welcoming the outsider.
Same-sex marriage and sacramental unity
In 1963, William Stringfellow - movement theologian, Sojourners mentor, and gay man - had the following to say about mainline churches who were pondering whether to join the struggle for African-American civil rights:
The issue here...is not some common spiritual values, nor natural law, nor middle axioms. The issue is baptism. The issue is the unity of all humanity wrought by God in the life and work of Christ. Baptism is the sacrament of that unity of all human life in God.
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