Posted by: rogermitchell | June 25, 2016

This different Britain (ii)

The reason that I spent the weeks leading up to the referendum pleading “For love’s sake vote remain” is that I knew that, in part, the founding fathers of the EU desired to dilute the sovereignty and nationalism that led to the First and Second World Wars. This is why I regard the EU as a relatively safe space for nation states as the whole edifice of empire decomposes and deconstructs. I stand by that opinion even although I know how much the economics of the market, rooted in Thatcherism and the Chicago school and the austerity policies that flow from them have damaged the EU and member states, in particular Greece. That is why the EU desperately needs reform. Those familiar with my theological research will know that the idea that peace comes through the exercise of sovereignty lies at the foundation of what has culminated in the Western world and its so-called democratic nation states, as we currently know it, both inside and outside the EU. (See my academic book Church, Gospel and Empire: How the Politics of Sovereignty Impregnated the West. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

My research has convinced me that the idea that peace comes through the politics of sovereignty is a delusion. It leads inevitably to the dominance of the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the marginalised, ultimately through violence and war at the expense of everyone.  I love the islands of Britain and Ireland and their peoples. This is why I wanted them to continue to enjoy the relative safety of the EU in the undoubtedly difficult years that are ahead of us. The majority leave vote, comparatively narrow as it was, has rejected this partially safe haven for the UK as the decomposition and deconstruction of the nation state as a political form continues. Let no-one delude themselves, this decision in favour of greater sovereignty will not lead to peace. Instead it will accelerate the end of the nation state of the United Kingdom and lead to the ever greater alienation and estrangement of its peoples from each other. Unless, that is, there is another politics at work. We urgently need a politics of positive peace right now, and more than ever. Thank God for all who see this, and work for this whether believers or unbelievers, people of faith or not.

I am convinced that the politics of Jesus, displaced as they have been by the whole sovereignty delusion, can once again contribute to this in a significant way. This a gift that needs to be given in a completely different spirit to the sovereignty delusion. It is not a programme. It can’t be enforced. It is not something that is democratically voted for. It is something lived. Then and now it is a ‘Way’ of life. As those familiar with the substance of this blog know, kenarchy is a strand of politics developed out of the Jesus story, what theologians call the incarnation and what I have termed the love stream. It’s for the whole family of humanity: men and women, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor as the apostle Paul makes clear. Those of us who ‘get’ this need to accelerate its application in the cities and regions of these islands, otherwise the poor and the marginalised will continue to bare the brunt of this momentous decision to their own detriment, as will we all.

I am well aware that many readers of this blog, and who commented on yesterday’s post, are Brits living in other nations of the EU. We need to cooperate, and strengthen each others’ arms in this Way of life!



  1. This is a reasonably good analysis on what is happening globally and the greater shifts of which Brexit is a part. The author believes a great change/shift is occurring and as usual it brings dangers and opportunities – perhaps enhanced opportunity for the doers of kenarchy to be heard.

  2. As one of those Brits living abroad I totally agree but I would go further and say that human sovereignty is not something to desire. It is at best idolatry (Royal family, our once great empire etc) and at worst evil (exclusive, racist, and vindictive) people have died for it and killed for it. It is on a par with the Klu Klux Klan ..the very idea that someone else is inferior to me/us/our nation is deluded and those that encourage this Xenophobia are dangerous and no better than guards in concentration camps. A bit strong ? not really, there are refugees and children of refugees dying somewhere in Europe and elsewhere, every few days because no body wants them except as something to sell in the sex trade. The sovereignty of God is something completely different, our God is a servant King and his sovereignty is based on inclusion and love.
    I love the French because they keep their politicians in check, they demonstrate, they protest they demand equality, liberty and fraternity but even they have wolves at the door eg: Marine Le Pen, rascist vultures who prey on (and encourage) peoples worries and fears as a way of seizing power for themselves.
    We are living in dark times and they may get darker but rejoice the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
    The church and I mean by this those who are part of the moving, breathing, interacting body of Christ must not lose sight of the real referendum… do you want to be in God’s kingdom or outside of it ? I am sad about the results of the EU referendum because I see it as a victory for the enemy. However I am still happy that I don’t belong to either Europe or the UK, I belong to Christs kingdom, it’s real, it’s here and it’s now and it’s not exclusive. What I’ve just said I have struggled to regain over the past few days but it was there all the time, I had just got carried away with politics and lost sight of it.

  3. I’ve never known what people mean when they use the word ‘sovereignty’. It’s a monarchist word, hi-jacked to use of God (what does ‘the sovereignty of God’ even mean?). I am coming to believe in what a friend of mine calls the Republic of Heaven. This doesn’t mean that there is no Kingdom of Heaven, but that what King means when used of Jesus/God is exactly the opposite of its conventional political use.

    • The Trinity is the model for the Kingdom of God’s a coalition of three persons but these three persons have promised that we will reign with them so by anyone’s definition that is a republic. In fact it’s pretty much an Anarchist republic where the ‘leaders are servants’ because they have chosen to serve. Anarchy simply means opposite to being ruled from above. When Jesus said ‘If I be lifted up I will draw all men (persons) to me …it’s a promise of shared rule. If every man rules his own heart in partnership with the Holy Spirit then there is no need for a triangular political leadership model. Our idea of the Kingdom is sadly based on a Church (Roman) model. The kingdom of God or heaven is much bigger, better, freer than that. Sovereignty is as you say a Monarchist word. Anarchy is a dirty word to some people but it’s real meaning has been lost. Then of course there is Kenarchy which I am only beginning to understand.

  4. Dear Roger,
    I have been reading your blog and books for some time now, attracted by the truth of kenarchy. I try to weave thes themes into what I write about the emptied Christ and now, with the clear focus the last days have brought, see it as ever-more relevant and true. Thanks, brother. John Keenan

  5. Thanks for the encouragement John! Let’s keep in touch. I’d like to let you know of relevant events and connections if you would like that, please email me on

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