Testimony forms a major genre of Christian Anarchist writings. Here is an example of this type of writing from Ross E Martinie Eiler writing for Plain Words, Anarchist Counter-Information in Bloomington, Indiana.
Here’s some links to and images of a series of articles and comments and responses from the radical journal Fifth Estate about religiously-inspired civil disobedience and Christian anarchism.
It begins in the Winter 1984 edition (Vol. 18, No. 4, #314) in an article titled ‘Symbolic Protest & the Nuclear State: Two Views’ by N. Bates and George Bradford (pages 4, 9)
Replies then came in the Summer 1984 issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, #316) from Bill Kellerman and Bill McCormick (pages 8, 22) and a counter reply by George Bradford (pages 9, 10) titled ‘Anarchy & Christianity: An Exchange’.
The world planners gather.
The young men mixed red blood with blue water
And windy sands covered shattered helmets.
The old men confer with figures
And refashion their empires.
They seek a solution; they have it,
And they know it not.
Once when the world was younger
Some nineteen hundred years,
A quiet man walked the Judean hills
And along Galilee’s shore;
Then men left their nets.
And he spoke to the people
On a mountain with loaves and fishes,
And he entered the city on a burro
And they hailed him emperor—
And they nailed him to a cross.
“The Kingdom of God is among you.”
They worshiped his teaching
But were afraid to live it.
The world planners gather,
They seek a solution; they have it,
And they know it not.
Arvel Steece, “World Planners,” Christian Century, March 20, 1946.
From Raven #25 (1994) is this article, which recognises that some people come to anarchism through religion:
Although it would be going too far to say that all anarchists oppose all forms of religion, we can safely say that nearly all of them would like to do away with the authoritarian versions. Are they justified? Certainly this form of religion has done a great deal of harm, but after taking full account of this we have to add, for a complete picture, that it helped in the emergence of the anarchist movement. It did not set out to do this but it did do it. And, in spite of itself, it is still helping people to become anarchists….
Link below to a conversation on this question:
to christian / catholic anarchists, what is a rebuttal to the argument of “as there is hierarchy in heaven, there should be hierarchy on earth. There is God the father and the son by his side then there are the archangels”
The Mennonites have produced a video series promoting social change through nonviolent direct action, a key aspect of Christian anarchism.
The nine videos can be found here:
From this story in the Washington Post, – https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/mary-mother-of-jesus-returns-as-an-icon-for-pop-stars-and-social-justice-warriors/2021/07/26/439e234c-ee64-11eb-81b2-9b7061a582d8_story.html
Ben Wildflower is a mail carrier by day and artist in his off hours. In 2017, he made a woodcut that showed Mary, her fist raised over her head, feet resting on a skull and a serpent (the former is a motif usually associated with Jesus’ disciple Mary Magdalene, while the latter is in keeping with historical representations of Mary, Jesus’ mother, triumphing over original sin). In a circle around Wildflower’s image are the words “Fill the hungry. Cast down the mighty. Lift the lowly. Send the rich away.” When he posted it on Instagram, it went viral.
Some critics called the woodcut’s message “un-Christian,” protesting that “God loves everyone.” The taunting language, however, was pulled directly from the Magnificat, the gospel writer Luke’s version of a song attributed to Mary, that from earliest Christian times was seen as so revolutionary public readings of it have been banned in the past.
Wildflower, the child of evangelical Christian missionaries, now attends an Anglican church, is committed to living in solidarity with the poor and has been described as a “Christian anarchist.” He finds himself deeply drawn to the mother of Jesus and said he likes Mary’s vision of hierarchies being turned upside down.
For more art from Ben Wildflower visit https://benwildflower.com/
In Lent 2021 I hosted a series of six Lenten movies for the community at Wesley House, Cambridge. I selected the following films, all of which are in the Public Domain and therefore free for anyone to watch and broadcast. They are mostly classics of world cinema and aimed at providing spiritual nourishment during Lent.
21 February 2021 – Intolerance (1916)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intolerance_(film)This masterpiece of the silent era covers four historical instances of inhumanity – including the treatment of Jesus.
28 February 2021 – Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
A tale of reconciliation, once ranked as the fifth best film ever.
7 March 2021 – The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_Joan_of_ArcOur third Lenten movie was Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent classic “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928), a ground-breaking film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. You can watch it online here:
14 March 2021 – Angel and the Badman (1947)
Our fourth Lenten movie was the atypical Western “Angel and the Badman” (1947; dir. J.E.Grant) starring John Wayne as an injured gunman who is nursed back to health by a Quaker, forcing a decision on whether to follow the way of violence or nonviolence.You can watch it free here:
21 March 2021 – Bicycle Thieves (1948)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_Thieves The fifth Lenten movie was the Italian classic “Bicycle Thieves” (1948; dir Vittorio De Sica). It was voted the best film of all time in 1952 and the sixth greatest ever made in 2002.
28 March 2021 – The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1966)
The final film was “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” (1964; dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini). The best movie about Jesus ever – or so said the Vatican newspaper. Roger Ebert wrote about his film that “Pasolini’s is one of the most effective films on a religious theme I have ever seen, perhaps because it was made by a nonbeliever who did not preach, glorify, underline, sentimentalize or romanticize his famous story, but tried his best to simply record it.” – https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-gospel-according-to-st-matthew-1964 You can watch here:
Sharing this valuable post from Robert Graham, historian and anthologist of anarchism.
5 November is the anniversary of the invasion of the Maori settlement of Parihaka, Taranaki in 1881.
I regularly teach a course called “Violence and Nonviolence in the Christian Tradition” at Pacific Theological College. In this course I include a session on “Nonviolent Resistance” looking in detail at what happened at Parihaka and how that can inspire Christian nonviolent resistance against injustice as well as reconciliation. For those interested to learn more here is are some entry-level links followed by lists of videos worth watching and my class reading list:
- “The Prophets”, Series 1 Episode 4 (Tuesday 28 May 2013) http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/prophets/S01E004/prophets-series-1-episode-4
- “Who Do You Think You Are?” – S6 Ep2, Rebecca Gibney http://www.sbs.com.au/news/video/294362691926/Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are-S6-Ep2-Rebecca-Gibney
- “Tatarakihi – The Children of Parihaka” (Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph, 2012)
- “After over 140 years, Parihaka people receive apology from the Crown”. Maori Television
- Bergin, Helen. 2010. “Edward Schillebeeckx and the Suffering Human Being.” International Journal of Public Theology 4 (4):466–482.
- Buchanan, Rachel. 2011. “Why Gandhi Doesn’t Belong at Wellington Railway Station.” Journal of Social History 44 (4):1077–1093.
- Elsmore, Bronwyn.  2000. Like Them That Dream: The Maori and the Old Testament. Auckland: Reed Books.
- Elsmore, Bronwyn. 1999. Mana from Heaven: A Century of Maori Prophets in New Zealand. Auckland: Reed Books.
- Gadd, Bernard. 1966. “The Teachings of Te Whiti O Rongomai, 1831-1907.” The Journal of the Polynesian Society 75 (4):445–457.
- Guy, Laurie. 2011. Shaping Godzone: Public Issues and Church Voices in New Zealand 1840-2000. Wellington: Victoria University Press.
- Hohaia, Te Miringa, Gregory O’Brien and Lara Strongman, eds. 2001. Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance. Wellington: City Gallery Wellington; Victoria University Press.
- Keenan, Danny. ‘Te Whiti-o-Rongomai III, Erueti’, first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 2, 1993, and updated online in November, 2012. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2t34/te-whiti-o-rongomai-iii-erueti (accessed 25 August 2017).
- Keenan, Danny. 2015. Te Whiti O Rongomai and the Resistance of Parihaka. Wellington: Huia.
- Mamak, Alexander, Ahmed Ali with Richard Bedford. 1979. Race Class and Rebellion in the South Pacific. Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1979.
- Mitcalfe, Barry. 1963. Nine New Zealanders. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs.
- Parihaka and The Parihaka Pa Pakainga Trust and The Crown. 2017 “Parihaka Te Kawenata o Rongo, Deed of Reconciliation” https://justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/2017-06-09-Parihaka-Te-Kawanata-o-Rongo-Deed-of-Reconciliation.pdf
- Riseborough, Hazel. 2002. Days of Darkness: Taranaki, 1878-1884. Auckland: Penguin.
- Scott, Dick. 1975. Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka. Auckland: Heinemann/Southern Cross.
- Smith, Ailsa. ‘Tohu Kakahi’, first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 2, 1993. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2t44/tohu-kakahi (accessed 25 August 2017)
- Waitangi Tribunal. 1996. The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi Wellington: Legislation Direct. ONLINE: https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_68453721/Taranaki%201996.compressed.pdf (accessed 25 August 2017)
- Warne, Kennedy. “Why Wasn’t I Told.” New Zealand Geographic ONLINE: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/parihaka
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments if you’d add anything to this list. Thanks.