Posted by: rogermitchell | May 19, 2014

Reactions in advance!

I’m really glad to report that Discovering Kenarchy edited by Julie Aram Tomlin and Roger Haydon Mitchell is nearing completion and will shortly be with the copy editor.
Consisting of an exciting and grounded assortment of contributions from Julie and myself, Martin Scott, Mike Love, Sue Mitchell, Stephen Rusk, Andy Knox and Peter McKinney, it will once again be published by Wipf and Stock. It should be available by late summer/ early autumn. I’ve been trying out a draft version of one of my chapters “The Heart of Love” on one or two close friends in Mississauga. One of these, Hardy Steinke, has indicated his willingness to bring his thoughts and questions onto this blog, in the hope of wetting appetites for the coming book and pursuing the important issues that he highlights.

Here are some of Hardy’s favorite bits of my chapter, or ‘zingers’ as he calls them:
“Divinity yields to love for the other, including one’s enemies…”
“No, if the cross does not go all the way to forgive the unrepentant we have a huge problem.”
“The nonviolent God and his new humanity embrace a cross, not because of any desire to punish, avenge or be appeased, but because there needs to be a place to which all the violent and destructive consequences of empire and enmity can be diverted and exhausted while at the same time the embrace of love continues to encompass everyone, including the most implacable enemy.”
“To put it another way, the cross is a gateway into a cosmic cesspit, or in Jesus’ terms a Gehenna…”
“Unless the cross can be shown to substantiate a love that actually does incorporate our enemies, then kenarchy has nothing truly revolutionary to offer. If it can, then kenarchy really is good news.”

Thankfully, Hardy also found extremely helpful the way that the chapter explores kenarchy in the light of the positive contributions and possible shortcomings of Christus Victor theology, Rene Girard, Simone Weil, Thomas Torrance and Miroslav Volf.

This all provoked Hardy’s thinking to the point that he responded “Here now, is where I would want things pushed even further!” As part of the group that somewhat playfully constituted themselves ‘the Canadian chapter of kenarchists’ [sic] these are his probing questions from the kenarchy perspective:

i) What to do with the passages where Jesus says things that don’t sound or seem consistent with kenarchy?
ii) Does the kenarchy way of loving and forgiving reach beyond the cross and right on through into the age to come? Are the unrepentant loved all the way through and in the age to come?
iii) ‘What is the Bible?’ Do we need to come right out and acknowledge that parts of the Bible (both OT and NT) reflect pre-Christian, tribal, polytheistic, Platonic and many other flawed and immature mindsets and perceptions about God?

I will embark on what will hopefully prove to be a collaborative discussion around these questions over the coming days …..



  1. So anticipating this…many of the same questions by Hardy have been haunting my own excursions into understanding these concepts…and perhaps wondering what a pragmatic implementation of these ideas into the soil of empire looks like…

    • Glad to hear this! I’d better get on with it then!

  2. Like the zingers. Personally, not sure I need all the questions answered, though always willing to go there if needs be. All my questions weren’t answered in previous theologies (trendy and non trendy at different times) though many claimed otherwise.

    In fact, I suspect, if we are opening things up in terms of the cross and love, then it is critical to avoid any appearance of an absolutist system. Perhaps as boundaries get more permeable, the answers become more flexible. Just wondering. . .

    • I fully agree with you. The whole idea of a closed theological truth, what Catherine Pickstock refers to as a mathesis, is all part of the empire paradigm of knowledge as I understand it. If God is a relational trinity at heart and created us to share in that, then we are all on a learning journey together. In that sense, as I found myself saying to a young friend yesterday, God is still growing up.

  3. Dear Rog could you close down and put love you SAM

  4. Thanks Roger and team for your continuing efforts and obedience to make this thinking available to us and helping us to journey toward new ways of thinking that uncover ungodly ways of being Christ followers. I, too, do not need all questions answered and can live in the flux of discovery and new understandings.
    I did think that for the age to come, we will still love the enemies of the cross especially since it is not God’s will that any should perish. But there is still the choice that some will make not to accept Jesus’ love and not to repent of evil deeds. We can forgive that but we cannot embrace those choices or live in harmony with wilful perpetrated evil.

    • I hear you, but think Jesus may go further than you suggest. But I’ll not attempt to take this further within this comment, but later in the coming posts.

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