Posted by: rogermitchell | July 19, 2015

Squaring the circle of Jesus versus Paul

Matthew Porter engaged my friend Jane Almond in a discussion on Facebook beginning with the question “How does the Kenarchy approach deal with Paul and other NT (New Testament) writings without down grading them please? I am clear on its frame for OT (Old Testament) and post Constantine, but not post Gospels NT.”

Jane responded ” I’m not an expert Matthew… Better to ask Roger Haydon Mitchell about that one… You’ll get a proper reply. Roger?”

I said “I’m happy to attempt a ‘proper reply,’ Matthew, but as I don’t know your approach, could you put the “without down grading them” point a little more clearly please? My incarnational hermeneutic does prioritize the gospel testimony, but I don’t see this as downgrading the other NT writings, but I don’t want to brush this off with a simplistic answer.”

Jane retorted “Simplistic???? #theologicalhumour!”

And Matthew said “You are v. kind not just to say “buy my book!”. I would have taken Jane’s gloss happily but here goes:
I have engaged on your Kenarchy blog a few years ago, and you and Sue even longer ago have been to Newham to speak to leaders through the auspices of my predecessors at Transform Newham and its forerunner, Newham Christian Fellowships. Through other reading and my own ponderings I am hitting the reality of the Jesus hermeneutic and would be pleased to ‘square the circle’ of Jesus vs Paul. Thank you very much.

This all led me to say that I think to “square the circle of Jesus vs Paul” is an important ask, and ask Matthew and Jane whether they were willing for me to import this conversation onto my blog and continue it here, as it is complementary to my last post. Jane said “Wow! Will look forward to that! Matthew Porter I wasn’t avoiding you but am teaching all day so have my head in History GCSE right now…” He replied “Yep, fine. Others’ contributions will no doubt add.”

So here we are moving the discussion over here to my blog where more people could engage with it, so come on all you followers, surfers and clickers engage away!

I have four main points with which to “square” this “circle”:

1. The Jesus story is not primarily for the church, it’s for the world, and therefore we need to have this conversation in and for the public forum. While at this stage it may seem irrelevant to a post Christian society, the testimony of Jesus and the new humanity it announces are both the origin of much that is good in our Western history and the inherent prophetic critique of what has gone so badly wrong. I’m not too bothered about whether of not pet Christian doctrinal positions are offended, but rather to provide the resources for a politics of love that humanity so desperately needs right now.

2. As I understand it, good theology explains events when or after they are happening. A good example of this is Peter’s speech on the day of Pentecost. Who would have been able to extrapolate the events of that day from the words of the Jewish Old Testament prophet Joel before the astonishing events of that day took place? Likewise Paul’s letters take the events of the incarnation that we read about in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as their source and rationale.

3. The generally held view that one or another of Paul’s epistles chronologically preceded or paralleled one or another of the gospels is unproblematic in this light. It is not a question of Paul’s gospel being followed by the church’s gospel but Paul drawing on the oral testimony which was being written even as he was teaching and applying it. So I read Paul in the light of the gospel testimony in which I believe he was writing.

4. However, I have no awkwardness in saying that the testimony to Jesus found in the gospel narrative is the primary source for me. It altogether explains the love encounters with God and people that have characterised my life since childhood. This is in keeping with the point about good theology I made in (2) above. As I see it all knowledge is first existential and relational and only secondarily historical and rational. That’s not to say that I regard the gospel narratives as unhistorical and irrational, but that experiences of self-transcendent love de-imperialise truth. Which is exactly the opposite of what set doctrines, systems or programs tend to do. The latter establish an exclusive body of truth that can be used to curtail progressive thought and the coming fulness of the new humanity whereas the good news of life-giving love, or kenarchy, breaks open new social and political ground in which the multitude of humanity can thrive.

Your comments please!

Posted by: rogermitchell | June 26, 2015

Authority and the Bible

I am honoured to be one of the only non Roman Catholic contributors to the newly published Towards a Kenotic Vision of Authority for the Catholic Church (Council for Research in Values in Philosophy, 2015) and to speak at its launch at the University of London Heythrop College last week. The whole book can be downloaded from the Council for Research and Values in Philosophy and my chapter “Authority Without Sovereignty” can be downloaded from my Academia page The chapter has received quite a lot attention, and reflecting on it has caused me to think still more about the far-reaching theological and practical implications of a kenotic understanding of authority.

This morning I have been re-reading Lucy Peppiatt’s important contribution to our understanding of Paul in Women and Worship at Corinth (Wipf & Stock, 2015), preparatory to blogging about it here and reviewing it for a journal. In a nutshell, she proposes that Paul was using a rhetorical strategy to argue against the Corinthian practices of head coverings for women, speaking in tongues all at once and banning married women form speaking out in services. I was struck by her introductory statement “Those who believe that the Bible contains authoritative instruction for Christians in the present are not really at liberty to ignore these passages.” I realized just how differently a kenotic understanding of authority and a sovereignty understanding of authority really are, and I thought again of Derek Flood’s distinction between “unquestioning obedience” and “faithful questioning” in our approach to the scriptures in his book Disarming Scripture (Metanoia Books, 2014) about which I blogged so enthusiastically several posts back. I think it’s the case that the unquestioning obedience approach to the text goes with a sovereignty understanding of biblical authority, whereas the faithful questioning approach fits with a kenotic one. With this in mind it seems to me unlikely that a fully sovereignty approach to biblical authority would ever have given rise to Lucy Peppiatt’s revealing, innovative and I think almost certainly accurate reading of Paul.

This has caused me to recollect again how deep-structural and basic to pretty much everything this issue of the nature of authority is. If it is the exercise of hierarchical power over others, whether it’s for the benefit of the Pax Romana or the supposedly common good, then it will always be the matter of insisting the superiority of one set of ideas and behaviors over another. If it is about a relational, mutual sharing of power for the peace or common good of the multitude, then it will be about finding the maximum potential for collaboration, even including paradox, which “holds together seemingly contradictory truths in order to locate a greater truth” as John Paul Lederach perceptively notes in The Moral Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2005).

I’m reminded of two seminal experiences along the path of life.

The first was when working together interdenominationally with friends who read Paul on women as meaning they could share ‘inspirational’ leadership with men on an equal basis, but not what was regarded as ‘governmental’ leadership. Our friendship had led to a serious working relationship, I think because our common love for the cities of the nation and readiness to lay our lives down for them was pragmatically our deepest value. That’s to say kenotic authority was undergirding our work together. One day, after some months of working together, my friend suddenly blurted out, “I know why you don’t have a problem with women in governmental leadership. You don’t practice or believe in governmental leadership at all – not even for men! In my friend’s assumption about leadership it had to be sovereign, to be over others, if it was governmental. But once he came to realize that it was kenotic authority that was bringing peace to the city, his view of the necessity of sovereign authority fell away.

The second experience related to an anecdotal remark made to me by an official of an evangelical organization when several of us were encouraging them to give more scope to those of us pursuing a radical agenda. I was at first shocked by his response, which was that when he came into his position he had been advised that the proponents of the more conservative agendas were the ones to appease because they were the ones who caused the most trouble, whereas the radicals tended not to insist on their own way in the end, because that was their theological position! Behind the anecdotal advice lay the two kinds of authority, the sovereign and the kenotic. It was, I think, a rather backhanded acknowledgement of where the real spiritual authority is to be found!

Posted by: rogermitchell | June 1, 2015

the radical potential of holy business

I don’t know what you made of the general election result, or what you think about the fairness or otherwise of our current electoral system. But what is for sure is that even if a party had won with an actual overall majority of the votes cast rather than a mere 36.7% it would still be no guarantee of justice, equity or the common good. As I pointed out in the previous post unless there is a change in the individual and corporate values underlying our western democracy the system will continue to give us a world where the rich and powerful always dominate. But most people appear to believe that we have a political system where equality of opportunity really is vouchsafed by the freedom to vote, and that this is somehow enshrined in British history.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the ballyhoo surrounding the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta this coming June 15th. The Magna Carta is frequently pointed to as the closest thing to an original British Constitution enshrining freedom for all. The Scripture Gift Mission, for example, in their special edition of John’s gospel to celebrate this anniversary, describe the Magna Carta as “a charter of liberties signed by King John in June 1215, which established rights and privileges for all.” In fact it was a charter that set out a power stand off between King John and 25 barons, and included various rights for a few aristocrats and freemen but completely ignored the majority of the population.  At the least it marked the progress of the bifurcation of sovereign power and at most the beginnings of its multiplication. It had nothing to do with freedom and justice for the poor and marginalized, but instead ratified the supremacy of the power and wealth that remain the pillars undergirding our society.

Arguably the most deep seated assumption that needs tackling today is that economic considerations should come first in our decision making. This is why I am so encouraged to be questioning this assumption as part of the Host event organized by Business Connect in Jersey this week. For while financial benefit is placed before justice, mercy and love, whether at a personal or a societal level, we will never see real peace and prosperity. Despite the prevailing economic assumptions, there can be no benevolent market without these crucial ethical priorities. If this is obvious to anyone it should be to followers of Jesus and members of his church. “Man shall not live by bread alone” and “seek first the kingdom of God” are central tenets of the Christian testimony. The question of how they have become so displaced and inverted that financial considerations are regarded as determinants for individual and corporate success for all sensible people, Christians included, has been central to my theological research, as readers of this blog and my books and papers will be well aware (See Walter Brueggermann’s splendid Journey to the Common Good (Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) gives a thoroughly complementary perspective.

This week I will explore the radical implications of kenarchy for the holy business of entrepreneurial trade and commerce. I will suggest 1) true financial stewardship is the outworking of love or “seeking first the kingdom of God,” something that Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls the cantus firmus of creation that carries the promise of all the essential resources of food, drink and clothing (Luke 12:31; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, The Enlarged Edition, ed. Eberhard Bethge, London, SCM Press, 1971; 2) this has deep ecological implications because of the exploitation of the planet consequent on the sovereignty system; 3) the personal and corporate cost and challenge of faith involved is great but no more of a faith position than the benevolent hand of the market; 4) the shaking of the financial system since 2008 is a new opportunity for radical change.

I will propose three crucial aspects of kenarchy central to rethinking business: 1) The strategic direction of the 7 foci of kenarchy as economic ethics: instating women, prioritizing children, advocating for the poor, welcoming strangers, reintegrating humanity and creation, freeing prisoners, caring for the sick; 2) The relational nature of all aspects of kenarchy becomes the basis of trade and commerce (“make friends for yourself by means of unrighteous mammon” (Luke 16:9); 3)  Kenarchy is not a top down imposed program but a rhythm of subversion and submission that becomes the means to infuse the existing system with the primary motive of love.

Posted by: rogermitchell | April 19, 2015

the selfish vote

Who should I vote for?

This is actually a very ambiguous question. It could be asking which candidate or party should I vote for, or it could be asking on whose behalf should I vote. I think for many people the latter interpretation is obvious, it’s me I should be voting on behalf of. The autonomous me, and my safety, my prosperity, my job, my future. Or if I go a bit wider it would be my family, my social or economic group, my tribe, class, race, locality, age-group and so on.

If I’m moral shouldn’t I vote for the others?

The next generation, the poor, the marginalized, the stranger, those on the receiving end of our government’s economic or foreign policy. I think the answer is yes, for sure. But how many voters are moral? Isn’t the whole idea of the autonomous individual that is at the heart of our western democracy primarily a selfish concept? I think so, and I think it it undermines democracy.  The word democracy comes from the Greek word demos and referred to the common people of the ancient Greek state. So democracy is government of the people by the people for the people. It’s not about autonomy, it’s about the common good, the good of everybody. If I vote for what’s good for me as an individual rather than what’s good for the common people, what Jesus called the multitude, then it’s not a democratic use of the vote but a selfish use. And it’s immoral, sinful, although perfectly legal.

Our current western values need to change

I believe that our values are changing and that many people want, and are working for, moral cultural change throughout society. They need encouragement and resources. Next weekend I’m participating in the Manchester University Lincoln Theological Institute Conference on Self and the City. The aim is to provide serious discussion on how to understand ourselves and how to behave in our changing world.  I shall be giving a paper and chairing a panel discussion on Do Cities Make us Selfish? Of course we don’t just need theoretical resources, we need the relationships, connections and finances to change the way people think and behave. It takes time, but its happening. Until we change our common morality, the popular vote and our politicians and their parties will continue to promote selfish and partisan policies. The signs are that the British people no longer want business as usual. I hope and pray that the coming election will open up a lot more space for real democracy.

Posted by: rogermitchell | March 9, 2015

doing theology the way Jesus did

As I write this post I am in Mississauga, the overshadowed sister city to Toronto, the original location of the mid nineteen-nineties Pentecostal-Charismatic eruption sometimes known as the Toronto Blessing. It was more properly a Mississauga one, with its roots, as far as I understand them, in the extraordinary egalitarian relationships between early Pentecostal settlers and the Mississauga first nation Canadians. I return here regularly to engage with local facilitators seeking to work out the implications of these recent and more ancient past events for the reversal of hierarchy and the reinstatement of the marginalized, displaced and the poor of the city today.

One of my reasons for being in Mississauga this time is to engage with other thinkers and writers attempting to work out how to do theology the way Jesus did it. Tomorrow I’ll be getting to know new friends who I will be sharing in roundtable discussion with; C. Baxter Kruger the trinitarian thinker well known for his book The Great Dance, and Paul Young, well known for his book The Shack. Other friends will be joining, including Mike Love from Leeds. Michael Lafleur and David Peck will be facilitating and Sam Cooper and the Meadowvale Christian Reformed Church will be hosting. The idea is to make some of these discussions available online and I will provide links via this blog and twitter in due course.

On the way over I read Derek Flood’s new book Disarming Scripture.
This is a crucial book, and having already seen excerpts, I’ve set it as a key text for the “Peace, Reconciliation and the Politics of Jesus” module that I will be teaching for the Westminster Theology Centre from September 2015  I made no mistake! His chapters on “Reading the Bible Like Jesus Did”, and “A Practical Guide to Enemy Love” are particularly helpful and complementary to my own work. I couldn’t recommend it more highly for those struggling to do theology the way Jesus did! His description of Jesus’ approach to the Old testament Scriptures as faithful questioning as distinct from unquestioning obedience liberates us from sovereignty-bound misunderstandings of lordship and rulership. It’s great stuff. He deals head-on with the infamous genocide passages and notes the way that Jesus and Paul boldly and unapologetically excised violent passages in their exegesis and application of the OT to their contemporary scene.

Posted by: rogermitchell | February 8, 2015

more on ISIS and loving one’s enemies

This coming week I will be getting down to work on expanding the paper I gave at the Lincoln Theological Institute conference on Post-liberalism, Individualism and Society back in the summer. This is for a volume my friend Benjamin Wood is editing that is due to be published later this year. Its title then was Individuals: our autonomous selves or the loved others The task is to consider the historical formation of these two perspectives. As I’ve been contemplating this I’ve been reflecting once again on how much our deep-seated mindsets influence the way we respond to practical political issues, and our ability to communicate our perspectives to others. Practical evidence of this can be found in conversations that continue on this blog arising from comments on my post several months back on “What’s the alternative to meeting ISIS violence with violence?”

A big thank you for all who have engaged with what was a very serious post on how to respond to violent enmity, and especially the one or two who took time to enter into robust discussion. One such is Sidney Cordle of the CPA who seemed to agree with a lot of what I had to say up until the point that I suggested the need for dialogue between Christians, Muslims and other people of faith who have a heart for peace and have some understanding of what makes the ISIS extremists tick. It seems that his perspective on the Muslim scriptures simply does not allow him to believe that it is possible to be a true Muslim and a person of peace. He presented a list of Koran quotations to prove his point. My attempt to point out that this approach to relegating all Muslims to fundamentalism was foreign to the testimony to Jesus and his kingdom of peace simply elicited more of the same.

As I understand it Jesus’ approach to the ‘other’ whose faith was not the same as the Jewish tradition was not to argue theoretical points of belief but look for the fruit of their lives. Witness the story of the woman at the well, his commendation of the Roman centurion and the parable of the good Samaritan. With due respect to Sidney, a mindset on truth that holds people to the propositional statements of their scriptures rather than looking for the image of God and potential for the revelation of the Spirit is a sovereignty approach to God and truth rather than a loving kenotic one. The latter refuses to regard anyone from a human point of view, as Paul puts it “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer” (2 Cor 5:16 RSV).

I contend that many Muslims are among those that Jesus identified as people of peace (Lk10:6). In any case on my reading of the testimony of Jesus even my enemies are the loved other and this includes ISIS extremists.  Muslim friends who pour their time and energy into community action and cohesion and search with me for kenotic sources of love for the other in their scriptures and faith tradition are no way to be lumped together with violent extremists. Sidney particularly takes issue with the Koran’s teaching about the cross and the resurrection, and of course I agree with him that their position leaves them with a diminished Jesus and loses the heart of the incarnation. Those familiar with my research on Church, Gospel and Empire will be familiar with the view that the partnership of church and empire in Western Christian history did something pretty similar (See Church, Gospel & Empire and The Fall of the Church). Nevertheless, the interest that my Muslim friends locally have in the person and life of Jesus seems to me full of exciting points of synergy for peace-building and nonviolent ways of dealing with ISIS. My participation in the recent Christian/ Muslim Encounters Jesus Conference organized together with the Richardson Institute for Peace Studies of which I am the external partnerships coordinator only served to confirm this.

So let’s continue this important dialogue please!

Posted by: rogermitchell | January 4, 2015

Russell Brand’s “Revolution” joins my best books list

Big thanks to my son Chris for giving me Russell Brand’s Revolution for Christmas.
It rapidly displaced the several books I was currently reading for both readability and importance. I’d soon read it from cover to cover, not something I often do with books, which like many other academic researchers I tend to read ‘in’. Not only are the revolutionary recommendations that he gleans from other insightful radicals highly practical, he gets to the deep-structural subterranean heart of the political system with courage and acuity. I heartily recommend it.

His practical steps to revolution are worth setting out here for those who might not get round to reading it yet awhile:
Radically alter trade agreements to support the needs of the people and planet;
Impede energy companies’ ability to profit from irresponsible practices in oil refinery and fracking and convert to responsible renewable energy;
Cancel personal debt;
Stop using titles to refer to one another;
Decentralise the power of both the private sector and the state;
Kill a global corporation;
Move to a co-operative economic model;

Of course for many this is impossible because they see the current unjust system as immoveable, for them a new politics that penetrates below the surface is inconceivable.

But it’s his profane grace to fillet the guts of the long term constituted system of the Western establishment that marks this book out.
Some of its content will wound you, for there’s no other way to challenge our allegiance to the established system. But treat it the way Walter Brueggermann suggests we treat the more offensive parts of the Old Testament when it does the same and I think you’ll find the testimony of Jesus is all over it. And while his ingenuous expectation that love and unity is at the core of all religion may worry you, (Richard Rohr has the same effect on me), such theological naïvety is surely profounder than an approach to doctrine that excludes and dominates and ultimately upholds the powers that be. The incarnation and the cross demonstrate that the reality of evil can only be overcome by love, not exclusive truth propositions after all.

Some of us have long been suggesting that when a new clarion call to the kingdom of God comes it will be from unexpected sources. Maybe an ex-addict celebrity comedian from Thurrock is one such. Yep, without a doubt Russell Brand is a prophetic son of peace for me.

Posted by: rogermitchell | December 1, 2014

Kenarchy research community

We had a good meeting of twelve folk from this applied research community last weekend.
After looking at the preparatory thoughts that four of us had supplied beforehand around the theme of kenarchy and action for justice we came up with six questions that we reckoned needed addressing.
These were
• Can anything be kenarchy until it’s given away?
• What is politics?
• What is leadership?
• What is power?
• What are we seeing that excites us positively?
• What is the new political space?
• What are we are we dreaming for the future?

We decided to begin with “what is leadership?”
We had considerable discussion about the downside of the phrase “empowering others” because of the way it put the leader in the position of the strong one. We buzzed a whole family of words that seemed to us to configure leadership in a way that was consistent with kenarchy. Some of these were “enabling”, “releasing”, “freeing”, “making space”, “creating space”, “helping people understand who they are”, “liberating”, “activating people’s abilities and gifts”. We decided that we quite liked the new word “forgoer” from “forgo.” We soon decided that the word leadership itself carried so much baggage that we decided to reject it altogether. So we looked for a new noun for leader that conveyed the idea of leadership understood through the family of words above, all of which saw leadership as something distributed, given, and not held onto. We thought about “influencer”, “sage”, “impactor”, “fool”, “moderator”, “guardian”, “encourager”, “helper”, “advocate”, and noticed that these last three were names for the Holy Spirit which seemed positive.

We developed new words for leadership and leader from the verb to enthuse: “enthusia” to replace leadership and “enthuser” for leader. We also liked the new word “kenship” for leadership, like kenarchy, connoting the emptying out of power and gifts for the other, although there was less than general enthusiasm for the word “ken” for a leader, although I confess I rather like it! We concluded that the qualities of reconfigured leadership were “to keep space open and discern the time”; “be responsible for recognising the intersection of space and time to birth the preferred future” and that “to be kenarchic it would be offered as a gift to be received”.

We then moved on to “what is politics?”
Some of us naïvely hoped that this would be easier to quantify! So the simple suggestion of “how we organise ourselves as a society” had to be qualified with the recognition of the baggage of power play resulting from how politics thus defined has been formed as an artificial construct through history as well as an organic development. Having agreed these qualifications to our definition we agreed to take them as read and to return to them under the power question when we come to it. We then extended the question of what is politics to “what we do we mean by politics in the context of kenarchy.” We came up with “how we organise ourselves as a society for the wellbeing of all the people.” Some preferred “recognising the intrinsic value of all”, and for simple brevity “how we live our lives together for the benefit of all.” We then accepted as given the seven priorities of kenarchy as providing the “how” for this, namely instating women, prioritising children, advocating for the poor, welcoming strangers, reintegrating humanity and creation, freeing prisoners and caring for the sick, and asked one another what other things are crucial for this. We decided that this particularly included definancialisation (Molly Scott Cato’s term), the question of how to accommodate difference, and finally the need to expose what interest brings us to embrace kenarchic politics and making sure that we are willing to lay that interest down rather than insist on it. Not surprisingly this last point led to considerable debate.

We had some initial discussion on “what is the new political space?” This led us to some initial thoughts on what mapping it might involve, before we ran out of time.

In conclusion we agreed to ask for brief papers on financialisation and accommodating difference for presentation and further discussion at the next weekend, which is likely to be this coming March 28th-29th. In the meantime we hope to get the online kenarchy journal up and running as soon as possible on where we can progress all this further. Watch that space for details…..

Posted by: rogermitchell | November 8, 2014

stewarding the new political space

Yesterday, Saturday November 8th 2014, I led a workshop at the Leeds for Change Summat New day event entitled Stewarding the New Political Space. The basic content follows. I would love to get your feedback please!

political shifts since the economic shake up of 2008

  • austerity isn’t working: As Seamus Milne concludes in Thursday’s Guardian (November 6th 2014): “The lesson from across Europe is there are no political prizes for embracing austerity – it spells failure in opposition and disintegration in government”
  • gross inequality is increasing: since the financial crisis, the ranks of the world’s billionaires has more than doubled, swelling to 1,645 people. At the start of 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity (Oxfam
  • According to the Observer, today Sunday November 9th, the UK is now officially the most unequal society in Europe.

the impact of austerity on the poor and marginalized

  • at last Monday’s Morecambe Faith in the Community event (November 4th 2014) the local Citizens Advice Bureau presented a detailed critique of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act based on their own client experience concluding that many people in genuine need no longer meet the prescribed eligibility criteria
  • many are having to adjust to a big drop in income or monthly benefits, with increasing use of food-banks and borrowing from high interest rate lenders (Wonga has increased interest to 5583%)
  • more people are falling into absolute poverty

why austerity isn’t working

  • it uses the same underlying market principles that caused the crash to resolve its effects
    some would see this as effect of Thatcherite/ Adam Smith economics of the supposed benevolent hand of the market
  • research reveals a more ancient genealogy on which the liberal capitalist Western democratic system is overlaid (see my Church, Gospel & Empire and The Fall of the Church available from or amazon
  • unwritten and written constitutions and functions of nation states take for granted peace through sovereign power which basically means preferencing the rich and powerful for leadership and financial reward
  • austerity’s failure is exposing new and deep political space in a way that hasn’t happened for generations

recognizing the new political space

  • framed by all the ‘posts’: post-Christendom, post-modern, post-secular, post-political, post-material…
  • opposite to the ‘tame’ xenophobia of UKIP, and the brutality of ISIL that holds up a mirror to the covert roots of Western sovereignty
  • signaled by the increasing, if uncertain success of radical political parties that question the accepted status quo: Podemos, Syriza, Sinn Fein, (SNP?)
  • signaled by the Occupy movement such as last month’s (October 2014) Occupy Democracy Parliament Square event
  • new, inclusive presence of Faith Communities in the public forum (including within Occupy:

starting points for personal & corporate action

  • taking popular buzz phrases like ‘people matter’ really seriously
  • initiating actions that are egalitarian and other focused, not hierarchical and autonomous
  • embarking on a radical politics grounded in enemy love
  • regarding authority as kenotic not sovereign
  • sharing whatever gifts and opportunities you have to mutually empower the poor and marginalized

enacting the politics of Jesus/ kenarchy

  • instating women
  • prioritizing children
  • advocating for the poor
  • welcoming strangers
  • reintegrating humanity & creation
  • freeing prisoners
  • caring for the sick

possible applied research project

  • to map, investigate and steward the new political space for the common good
  • bringing together academic researchers and political activists, together with charities and agencies for compassion and justice
  • hopefully with EU funding
  • please let me have feedback on your own possible involvements, thoughts and ideas in the comment box below
Posted by: rogermitchell | October 30, 2014

I would like to get some serious interaction going!

The new book Discovering Kenarchy. Eugene Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2014 has now been available for several weeks, both from ourselves at 2MT, and via Amazon in both the UK and North America. If you have not read it yet, can I encourage you either to purchase it from us via the details in the blog page above (this helps us cover the costs of our investment; postage now free; or from Amazon, where you can obtain a Kindle version; The helpful thing about the entry is that it allows you to read inside the book.

The new characteristic of this book is that it has eight different contributors and applies kenarchy practically to the questions of theology, gender, justice, gift, health and the NHS, peace in the city and eschatology. Once you have read it, or if you have already done so, can we get some serious interaction going on the issues raised for you there?

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