++”A warm welcome to Zingcreed, bringing Jesus to all in a digital age, or something like that. I met Martin King from Hull in the north east of England at this year’s European Christian Anarchist get-together. His mind works in a refreshingly different way to mine: he gets to the point and doesn’t waffle like I tend to! This is a brilliant amusing-yet-serious piece on voting in elections like our US viewers will soon be doing. I’m very glad to re-blog it. Keep the articles coming , Martin! In solidarity, Peter Turner.”
subverting common flavours; cooking up debate, discussion and discernment; nourishing our minds, bodies and souls.
This column is intended to get us all thinking again on ideas around kingdom politics and activism, challenging our ideas and conditioning and hopefully starting a rebellion within and without, man!
Well, it’s nearly feeding time at the zoo again. Election crime (time, ed) is nigh!
Rabble: “Hey Jesus, what’s happening, man?”
Jesus: “Good things, people, good things…”
Rabble: “Where’re you off, Jesus?”
Jesus: “Oh, just down the polling station, y’know, cast me vote n all that.”
Rabble: “Eh? Didn’t think you’d vote, bro.”
Jesus: “Ooh yer, I love it. Putting me trust in men in suits.”
Sounds a bit iffy doesn’t it? Jesus voting for men in suits. Why would he vote? What would he be seeking? Freedom? Hmm…
There’s nothing new in the debate around us Seekers voting. Some say we should as we can only change things if we vote, others claim that to vote for men in suits legitimises the whole sordid affair, remembering that the central principle of all government is power through coercion. And, remembering Emma Goldman’s words: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
Should we go to the ballot box and say ‘yes’, we support the military industrial complex, and thank you very much for the royal family, keep em coming! And should we Seekers go weak at the knees every time the richest chick on earth gives Jesus a plug in her xmas speech on the telly, or should we stand firm in the name of social justice and equality?
And as for the church pastors in the US backing either Trump or Clinton, Jesus’ message of freedom and living outside the box has been co-opted to such an extent, it’s barely recognisable.
The genius of Leo Tolstoy tells us that “if we are right in saying that Christianity is incompatible with government (power), then the question naturally presents itself: which is more necessary to the good of humanity, in which way is men’s happiness best to be secured, by maintaining the organisation of government or by destroying it and replacing it with Christianity?” Tolstoy here obviously refers to Christianity in the best possible sense of the word, ie that of love.
We have been lead to believe -through heavy indoctrination since birth- that centralised government is essential for our survival. Is it? That we have to take the rough with the smooth, if we want transport, schools and healthcare we have to accept notions of competition and the free market of hyper-capitalism. Do we? That a high-speed rail link is the only way to shorten the gap between the wealthy and the marginalised. Really? What, by about an hour? What if there’s leaves on the line? What if it’s rush hour? What if there’s a strike (er, we abolished them, ed).
There was a tongue-in-cheek campaign launched in Bristol some years ago promoting a candidate called ‘Nobody’. The propaganda went: ‘Vote Nobody, as Nobody can sort out injustice and inequality….’ A good point. Have the men in suits really sorted out any of the issues they claim to want to? Can they even realistically -as puppets of the rich and famous- deliver on their promises?
Clearly, as far as the big, swanky table is concerned, voting can seem gluttonous and self indulgent, a bit of an Eton Mess. Though in the local cafes, a suggestion of salt here and there can make all the difference. But does that sprinkling need to happen through established political systems, or are there other ways?
Do we continue to -if indeed you do- prop up the dishonest, money laundering, self-seeking politicians in central government and the horrors hiding behind them, or do we follow Jesus’ example of rejecting power and authority unless it’s of El Padre -ie, unless it comes from love- and root ourselves more in our marginalised communities, sharing our possessions, breaking bread together, organising on local levels, being responsible and getting involved with what’s happening down our streets and, if nothing’s happening, making things happen?
Or are we susceptible to the manufacturing of our consent via the news, soap operas and other twaddle pumped out at us by the vested-interested corporate media, scared into voting as to not vote would mean chaos? Or are we gonna step out in faith, reject oppression at the ballot box and seek, hope and be co-creators in something as yet unseen?
A good starting point for this can be found in Mark Van Steenwyk’s book ‘That Holy Anarchist’ where he argues that “our emphasis should be on being transformed as well as transforming. We should discern together, step by step, as we come to learn Jesus’ fresh vision for our communities.”
Do we try and fine dine with the elite, or do we break bread with our own, the poor? Remember, at the table, we “cannot serve two masters.” What would Jesus do?