Rhythms of Loving Resistance

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : October 20, 2008

This is originally the ending of part three of my series on “the Style of Subversion” to God’s Kingdom? I’m republishing it as a stand-alone piece because I want it to be more accessible to those looking for practical ways of embracing the Kingdom.

So…what does it actually LOOK like to embody an alternative? How do we lovingly resist the Powers as we invite people to move into God’s Kingdom? This is a big question. For all the books Brazos Press puts out, very few deal with practical realities. The recent books about New Monasticism and the works of folks like Shane Claiborne help scratch that itch, but still more work needs to be done in imagining tangible realities. Here’s an introductory list of practices/activities/experiments that help develop a communal life of loving resistance. If two or more people were to engage in the following sorts of things together as a regular practice, it would go much further than a mountain of rhetoric and challenge the status quo more than voting:

  1. proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. tithe relationally
  3. discerningly engage in civil disobedience
  4. confess your sins to one another, and proclaim forgiveness
  5. live communally
  6. establish regular rhythms of prayer with others (here’s a nifty and free resource)
  7. thoughtfully participate in the Lord’s Supper
  8. be family with people that are in a different socio-economic and/or ethnic situation than you
  9. get in the way of violence
  10. plant a garden (for extra credit, practice guerrilla gardening)
  11. spend less money
  12. spend justly
  13. or just don’t spend money at all
  14. ride a bicycle or take the bus
  15. draw attention to the sins of society
  16. lovingly challenge the sins of the Church
  17. invite strangers to dinner
  18. have a guest room open to those in need
  19. practice mutual submission
  20. read Scripture in community and struggle together to put it into practice
  21. practice communal discernment
  22. embrace a sense of place in ministry
  23. learn the stories of marginalized people…especially your brothers and sisters in the developing world
  24. pray for political authorities
  25. share good things with the poor
  26. give the wealthy (including yourself) an opportunity to divest of their wealth
  27. remember, in all things love
Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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