Monday, October 14, 2013

The Religious Left Conference and Other Happenings

(*If you've been reading recent posts on Matthew, and want to know where they've gone, please scroll down to the asterisk below.)

Hello to all my regular followers and new readers,

The last few weeks I've been working hard to prepare for an upcoming speaking engagement at the Religious Left conference, next weekend at the University of Saskatchewan.
This one.
I'll be speaking on the morning of the second day about the Bible and anti-Imperialism. I'm beginning with a short introduction about the "Gospel of the Kingdom of God" (of which Matthew, Mark, and Luke are primarily concerned), and the practice of such a kingdom by the early church in their radical generosity and communal living in resistance to the colonizing empire of their day. From there, I will show how such radically subversive community was not a departure from the early follower's Hebrew scripture (what Christians call the Old Testament), but rather a continuation of a theme from Genesis until the time of Christ.

I'll end with a short review of the history of Christian resistance movements from the first century until today. For some examples, I'll touch on the intentional community of Acts 2 and 4, the radical consequences of the writing of Augustine, the radical poverty and justice taught and practiced by Saint Francis of Assissi, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's radical resistance to Hitler, up to Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Simple Way and the Psalters today.

Some of this work may end up on this blog. I will put a pamphlet together at the very least.

I've been getting attention recently for identifying as an anarchist on the Tentative Apologist podcast a few weeks ago.
This one.
Randal Rauser, the Tentative Apologist himself, didn't know that this was my first such public confession. The journey to anarchism as a convicted political worldview has been a long and slow one. Seven years ago, I would have said I was a "member of the anarchist community", or that I "organized with anarchists". I would describe my politics as similar to anarchism, but was cautious to take the label. My biggest hurdle was my theism. I did not feel I could honestly identify as an anarchist while also claiming to submit my life to the sovereign authority of a deity. However, I have encountered enough good examples of theistic or spiritual anarchism, as well as explicitly Christian anarchism, to comfortably wear the label myself now. It has been nearly a year now that I have been willing to declare my anarchist politics explicitly, but only in closed and private circumstances. I am very thankful for the opportunity that the Tentative Apologist gave me to describe my own politics and faith, their harmony and intersection. I'm sure it will be a conversation I'll be having for years to come.

I'm also working on my second and third books - Radical Pastor and Radical Freedom. I do not know yet which will be done first. In the meantime, I continue to fill orders for Radical Religion, and have been receiving very positive feedback. The Koinonia Media Collective is nearly ready to publish the second edition, and will likely publish the first editions of the next two books in this trilogy.

*I haven't been paying this blog the attention it deserves recently. As a consequence, for the last two weeks it has been automatically posting unfinished versions of blog entries on the book of Matthew. If you've been following, I hope you've enjoyed them. Unfortunately, their posting was a mistake, and quite premature. These entries are in only the very first stages of their intentional and publishing-ready form. I intend to have them finished by April next year, when I will begin posting a series on the synoptic gospels for probably the rest of 2014. These will form the core of a new book trilogy to be released in 2014 or 15. Sorry for the tease. If you liked them, please let me know. Feedback at this stage is very helpful.

After my two next books, I'll be turning my attention back to the book that got me writing and publishing in the first place: West of Eden. It will be a much more intensive writing experience than any so far, a book tackling the first eleven chapters of Genesis, and considering them as a foundation for the entire Hebrew scriptures, and the Christian Bible built upon them. As a study of Biblical Theology, I believe almost all the main themes of the Bible can be found in these introductory chapters. West of Eden will jump right over questions of origin, and instead consider the rich theology in these ancient creation myths. I'll make comparisons to the Babylonian myths, and others, and show how these first pages of God's story are illuminated in their contrast with their contemporary cultures.

I also have a blog entry version of Radical Religion's last few pages, and will have it posted before the end of the month.

If you can make it, I'll see you in Saskatoon.

For the King,


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