February 17, 2019

Let’s jump right into the origin story. Luke tells the story of Jesus birth. Jesus’ mother, while Jesus was still in the womb, said the following words while filled with the Spirit: [God] has demonstrated power with [God’s] arm; [God] has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance of their hearts. [God] has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; [God] has filled the hungry with good things, and… Read more

February 16, 2019

For most Christians, the Bible has a fundamentally conservative emphasis. A superficial reading of the Bible reveals a God who thinks of himself as a sort of Warrior King, who sanctions state enacted genocide, and who promotes a string of saintly kings, like King David. When Jesus arrives, it is to start a Kingdom of God that, apparently, seems content to co-exist with earthly rulership. In fact, Jesus himself says to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and Paul advocates being good subjects to the governing authorities. Therefore, Christian radicalism is a contradiction in terms, right?  Furthermore, the sorts… Read more

February 15, 2019

In my last post, I shared a very brief sketch of the history of those communities that embraced a radical reading of Jesus’ life and teachings. I want to take a little time to reflect on those movements before moving on to engage in a few of the most revolutionary passages in Scripture. So, what can we learn from this stroll through history? How does it inform our own lives in this season? I’d like to raise six insights from my… Read more

February 13, 2019

Christian history is filled with radical expressions. For most of these groups, radical tendencies were intertwined with spiritual and theological convictions. Their spirituality and politics were integrated. Most of these movements–if not all–were heavily mystical. Mysticism is, at it’s core, the assumption that it is possible to have an unmediated experience of God, of each other, and of creation. This quickly gives birth to an idea that any structures (physical or societal) that don’t serve such experiences are, instead, obstacles to be dismantled.It… Read more

February 13, 2019

Traditional kingship (with absolute power, hoards of wealth, and power over the weak) has nothing to do with Jesus; it’s something Jesus rejected.  Traditional kings demand allegiance and servitude, but Jesus offers liberation—from suffering, sickness and death, exclusion, persecution, and sin. Jesus is a “king” who serves the “least of these” and who finally receives torture and execution to bring freedom to others.As we see in the Gospels, Christ’s kingship is inconsistent with traditional structures of power. And for this reason,… Read more

February 12, 2019

Last week, award-winning actress Ellen Page made the news by calling out her colleague Chris Pratt (not to be confused with Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, or Chris Evans). Chris Pratt attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, one of a number of megachurches associated with Hillsong around the world. A number of celebrities (like Justin Bieber) also attend. According to Ellen Page, Hillsong is “infamously anti-LGBTQ.” She later elaborated: https://twitter.com/EllenPage/status/1094312917653168129 Rejecting this charge, Chris Pratt responded: It has recently been suggested… Read more

February 8, 2019

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left… We know the story. It is usually told this way: At the end of… Read more

November 7, 2018

Usually, we talk about the Risen Christ around Easter. But it is perhaps more fitting to explore the significance of the Resurrection on a day like today, the day after the election, when our collective imagination has been transfixed by party politics and we begin to ask “now what?” Perhaps the juxtaposition between electoral politics and the Resurrection of Jesus seems jarring. Bear with me. I remember one particular Easter service when my son, Jonas, was 4 years old. Jonas overheard everyone repeating “Christ is Risen.”… Read more

April 16, 2018

In this episodes, Mark tells the story of Benjamin Lay. Benjamin was a radical Quaker, abolitionist, and performance artist who drew ire from the Quaker elite in Pennsylvania for his fierce activism. He was also known as a man of fierce integrity. At just over 4 foot tall, he lived in a cave, grew his own food, practiced strict vegetarianism, and made his own clothing. In all things he sought to embody the call to love one’s neighbor. Written and… Read more

March 19, 2018

This episode remembers the beguines–a medieval lay women’s movement that that stressed imitation of Christ’s life through simplicity, care of the poor and sick, and religious devotion. By being a movement of women apart from men, they challenged the established order. Many of their leading figures were accused of heresy, and scores were murdered during the Inquisition. What was it about their way of life that so threatened the Church? Written and produced by Mark Van Steenwyk. Vocal performances provided… Read more




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