I don't know if I would consider myself an anarchist. Maybe more like anarch-ish. But there's no doubt that Christian anarchists such as Leo Tolstoy and Dorothy Day have greatly influenced me. And out of all of the political philosophies out there, Christian Anarchism is the one that I lean most towards. I just don't know if I would be considered a full-blown anarchist because I feel like I still let a lot of domination and oppression go by under my nose without even realizing it. Plus, as a hardcore introvert, the whole "intentional community" thing scares the shit out of me.
Nevertheless, Mark Van Steenwyk of Jesus Radicals and co-host of the podcast The Iconocast (seriously, when are you guys gonna give us another episode?) has just released a short primer on Christian anarchism called That Holy Anarchist. Think of it as Christian Anarchism 101 for people who are either interested in Christian anarchism--or "Christo-anarchism," as Mark puts it--or just want to know how in the heck a Christian can be an anarchist.
For Mark, it all goes back to Jesus the "unking:"
[W]hen Jesus said his kingdom wasn't of this world, he wasn't understood by Pilate or by the Jews or by his earliest followers as talking about the afterlife or some abstract spiritual truth. Based upon the lethal response to Jesus (and the early reactions to Jesus' movement), the "Kingdom of God" was understood as a challenge to Caesar and his reign. Their two kingdoms clashed. The kingdom of God that Jesus announced and embodied is what life would be like on earth, here and now, if God were king and the rulers of this world were not. Imagine if God ruled the nations. (13-14)
From there Mark gives a brief overview of anarchism, anarchist inclinations throughout Christian history, and misconceptions about Christo-anarchism (including that pesky Romans 13). The book ends with some practices Mark suggests that hopefully can help the Christo-anarchist stay focused on Jesus' example.
My only complaint about the book is that I wish it was a little big longer. But then again, the book is meant to be just a launching pad, and Mark is kind enough to include several resources for further reading. So if you are a Christo-anarchism novice, That Holy Anarchist is the book for you.
I give it four raised fists out of five!