Communities of Resistance

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 6, 2006

One of the most difficult parts of writing my book is going to be finding communities that exemplify the sort of resistance we need. Resistance is being published because is timely and few practitioner voices are calling for the sort of resistance that I’m suggesting. But this also means that exemplary communities are hard to find. Most churches, mine included, are just getting their feet wet with this stuff. Finding groups that are living the dream will be hard. Especially since such communities are usually obscure.

I’ve asked you before (my hearty thanks to those of you who have responded), but would y’all please point out communities that serve as worthy examples for these five chapters (each followed by brief a description):
Chapter 1: The Kingdom of God and the American Dream (argues for a strong fidelity to Christ that overshadows any and all political or governmental allegiance)

Chapter 2: Rugged Individuals Need a Hug (deconstructing individualism and calls for a retrieval of a robust communitarian ecclesiology…a call to interdependency, mutual accountability, and other junk like that)

Chapter 3: The Consumption of Faith and the Faith of Consumption (challenges unfettered consumer capitalism and the commodification of Christianity and calls us to a life of self-reflective simplicity and obedience to Christ)

Chapter 4: Why Pragmatism Doesn?t Work (pragmatism is over-rated. it has infected the church and has therefore destroyed our soteriology, pneumatology, and ecclesiology-in other words, the Kingdom of God doesn?t always make a lot of sense, and we?ve opted for sense over faithfulness)

Chapter 5: Going to War with Militarism (violence is bad. Our Empire is built upon the myth of redemptive violence. Christians falsely believe in the use of military power to secure freedom, peace, and the goodlife. Instead, we must pursue freedom, peace and the good life in the Way of Christ as we resist violence nonviolently).

I plan to travel to at least five communities to interview folks and experience their communities. In particular I?m looking for humble communities that aren?t big and/or well-known. This book is a sort of manifesto for Christian resistance and the examples I give should be earthy and humble. For example, I know that Greg Boyd and Woodland Hills Church could be a good community to highlight in Chapter 1, but Woodland Hills is a mega-church and Greg Boyd is a celebrity Christian. These aren?t bad things, but their example isn?t easy to follow.

Think twice before suggesting your own community. Try to be objective about how much your own community is indeed an exemplar.

for further reading . . .

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8 Responses to “Communities of Resistance”

  1. Luke on November 6th, 2006 8:41 pm

    It sounds like you are only interested in current communities, but if you want historical examples as well, the Doukhobors might be a good example of #1.

    As for current resistance, any of these books may cite current examples of #1:

    Anyway, I’ve begun the hunt, but in the meantime there’s just gotta be something useful buried in all these links:

  2. Mike Morrell on November 7th, 2006 1:43 am

    You’re onto something, Luke! In particular look here.

  3. Mike Morrell on November 7th, 2006 1:43 am

    …and here.

  4. m on November 9th, 2006 11:23 pm

    This might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but a young married couple that my wife and I are good friends with started this community at at old Catholic Worker farm and they call it Bethlehem Farm:

  5. Luke on November 11th, 2006 8:31 pm

    Yikes, methinks chapter #4 is going to be awfully difficult.

  6. Van S on November 11th, 2006 8:48 pm

    Yeah, that will be the hardest to work on. I’ll probably need to focus and hone it a bit. Pragmatism, at least the way I’m planning on articulating it, is a bit too broad.

  7. Luke on November 12th, 2006 10:05 pm

    From the little I know of it, Salvage Yard/Steiger House seems a fit for ch. 2.

  8. James McMillan on November 20th, 2006 12:47 am

    Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC has been resisting on many fronts for over 50 years.

    Best of luck on the book -

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