“Welcome to the polemical Zingcreed blog, in which I explore issues of religion and life. NYU have decided to put Zingcreed on the reading list for the ‘Jesus and socialism’ section of their politics course this autumn (Fall). I hope all readers – old and new – get something out of my scribblings. In solidarity! Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc. 28/08/2014.”
I must admit I’m most impressed by Ched Myers’ book “Binding the Strong Man”. It’s a 500 page commentary on St Mark’s gospel written for professional theologians. In it his own feelings about the subversive, indeed revolutionary, nature of Jesus’s life and deeds become clear. I have put together here a few quotations that give an idea of why he has been described as one of the world’s foremost radical Christian thinkers, i.e. I have created this document – the contents were dispersed until I juxtaposed them like this. (The other contemporary radicals being being Lee Camps and Shane Claiborne, also Americans). This book doesn’t even attempt to address current issues; that is for the sequel which I haven’t yet read “Who will roll away the stone? Discipleship queries for First World Christians.” Orbis Books.
Myers started out as an evangelical, then worked for the American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) and is now a Mennonite.
I have taken the liberty of calling this his “Mission statement”. It reads like a political manifesto, yet it is all based on his interpretation of Mark:
- We need to turn from our privilege and restore justice to the poor (p.450)
- We must repudiate the American dream and encounter the real world outside the gates (p.450)
- We need to adopt a structural analysis that explains how we benefit from a system that routinely inflicts crosses upon the world’s disinherited (p.451)
- Our prosperity is based on a system of robbery and domination (p.451)
- …the cruel innocence that prevents us from even seeing the wrongs which we perpetuate (p.450)
- …for with the privileged class it is easy to know and not do. For us (rich metropolitans) the way toward liberating practise is riddled with seductive and compelling detours (p.450)
- In our (Christian) world ‘necessity’ and ‘realism’ have become ways to hide lack of moral indignation (p.450)
- In the name of ‘Christian realism’ the four apocalyptic horsemen of empire, militarism, economic exploitation, and environmental revolt ride freely over the earth (p.450)
- I still aspire only to follow Jesus on the Way in the manner of Bartimaeus. Mark’s archetypal disciple remains my North Star. (Mk 10:46-52) (p. xxx)
- We need a revolution from below to construct a new order centred on a community of discipleship (p.434)
- The hardest and most revolutionary words in the gospel are found in the parable of the vineyard (Mk 12:9-40) (p.425-6)
“Sabbath Economics” is a term I hope we shall hear a lot more about. Myers as a “Christian Economist” is pioneering this in the States. I shall devote a future Post to the topic.
Myers, Ched “Binding the strong man. A political reading of Mark’s story of Jesus ” Orbis (1988, 2008)
Claiborne Shane “The irresistible revolution.Living as an ordinary radical.” Zondervan (2006)
Camp, Lee “Mere Discipleship. Radical Christianity in a rebellious world” Brazos Press (2008)
[304 indexed & linked, t&c]