On September 3rd, the anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ escape to freedom, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World launched a daily-updated blog to highlight the unique strand of North American “movement” Christianity. We are committed to being collective (welcoming a multiplicity & diversity of voices), convictional (unapologetically theological), constructive (creating a new world out of the shell of the old) and concrete (covering a range of personal to political practices, from reformist to revolutionary).
A host of labels have been slapped on these various brands of Christian communities: Catholic Workers, house churches, new monastic communities, alternative communities, intentional communities, a community of communities. We could go on and on. Basically, we get our litmus test of what is authentic radical discipleship from the Prophet Micah: communities designed to strategically advocate for justice, perform daring acts of mercy & walk humbly with God (even when no one is looking).
Historically, these are followers of Jesus in North America who have prayerfully, poetically & prominently stood in solidarity with “the disinherited,” articulated by the late Howard Thurman as “those who stand with their backs against the wall.” These abolitionists, women’s suffragists, freedom riders, sanctuary providers, table-grape boycotters & marriage equalizers have nonviolently faced down scorn and come out the other side on “the right side of history.”
Some might say that these are communities dedicated to going beyond addressing symptoms by tirelessly engaging systems. Borrowing language from both addiction recovery groups and Hebrew Bible scholarship, RadicalDiscipleship.Net will be focused on showcasing communities committed to a rigorous personal inventory & a ruthless prophetic imagination.
We don’t envision this being a space for lamenting just how jacked up mainstream Christianity is or for theorizing or idealizing what the church ought to be. We yearn for solidarity and creative experimentation soaked in social analysis and biblical reflection. We will consistently seek out compelling forms of spirituality & we will be adamantly political, albeit highly allergic to the red-state-blue-state cultural war that has dominated the conversation.
How, specifically, are communities currently addressing the widespread lack of race, gender, class, sexual & ecological injustice in their unique contexts? What intentional practices are folks committing to in order to subvert & transform the giant triplets of evil that Dr. King (following Jesus) prophetically articulated two generations ago: militarism, materialism & racism?
Consider this a call for submissions: what is your community doing, creatively & consistently, to act justly, love mercy & walk humbly with God? We want to know–and so do a whole host of radical disciples thirsting for a whole new world, from Catholic Workers to post-Evangelicals to Christian anarchists to New Monastics to Young Anabaptist Radicals.