Tag Archives: politics

Adam Ruins Voting

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I loved Adam’s short clips when he was going through CollegeHumor. I think he might be a playful Type 4, much like Stephen Colbert… and because he is direct and bold, his humor shines. (Where as Jimmy Fallon playing a “cutesy” Type 1 isn’t quite as funny.) I kind of envy Type 4s who have such an exacting way with humor…. stating obvious, difficult things in a way that people actually end up appreciate them in some way!

Adam Ruins Everything videos are very short – about 5ish minutes – but are packed with information and evidence pointing towards truth contrary to cultural belief. Whether he talks about engagement rings, death, video games, wine, or voting, there’s a lot to take note of.

Anyway, with voting season already upon us in various ways, as a Christian anarchist, I found these rather enlightening and humorous… and confirm the reality of my own experience with voting!

Why the Electoral College Ruins Everything

Why Rigging Elections is Completely Legal

Adam Ruins Voting – list of sources

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Practically There is No Such Thing as Anarchy, Part 2

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I have had a few people ask me what substitutions I am making with Ambleside Online in these older years, in regards to economics, the justice system, and politics, if they know I am a Christian anarchist. You can read Part 1, here.

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My allegiance lies in the symbol of a cross. It lies with a God-King-Man that sacrificed the blood and sweat and breath from Himself to give us all a great Freedom and Hope. My allegiance lies not in a body of land or in a strip of fabric, but in the Body and Spirit of my Risen Lord.

Melody is starting Year 8 in September. Until this point, aside from in my first few years feeling uncomfortable with the pointedness of Plutarch’s advocacy of good character for the good of specific people of a specific plot of land one lotteried into, and so not using it (I overcame this “dumping” I had been doing, and utilized it for examples in what to be or not be as a citizen of God’s Kingdom, serving others), I hadn’t changed anything in this regard. We have had wonderful conversations over adding Plutarch, as the books so far have been an excellent spring board for Biblical discussion, disagreement or agreement.

Year 8 is not very obviously political, and for some reason I didn’t really grasp at it until June… but there is one resource that I kept hesitating to put into my Amazon cart: Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury. We enjoyed his Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, but this one was diving into an area that I felt needed an alternative for our home – justice. Considering what our family has been through, many are surprised that I am a supporter of restorative justice. So far, this is the only complete substitution I am making to the gov/econ aspects of AO in any of the years. We will use I, Pencil, but not the book.

Year 9 dives into political “sides,” which I had seen when reviewing it’s list over a year ago. I had already decided that we would use Are You Liberal, Conservative, Confused? by Richard Maybury, with another resource or two alongside it in the school year. I have been slowly adding books into my own reading, to select for her Year 9 and had found a really wonderful book. I want her to see there are more than 2-3 options, as a Believer, to choose from in politics, and to explore more than the status quo.

If you have any beautiful, lovely, and true sources on Christian anarchism, pacifism, and/or God’s Kingdom economics, please feel free to share in the comments section!

Without any more to-do, I am going to give you my list, which will be added to as time goes on:

Any Year, Free Read

  • A Wolf at the Gate by Mark Van Steenwyk ~ I just bought this. We read through it a few chapters a night for three nights. My children didn’t want bedtime story time to end any of those nights (some nights with other stories, they love the story but are more tired than interested, so ask for a stopping point)! We smiled, cried, and Melody and I both lamented not having more books like this. With Ambleside Online’s selections appreciating the value of myths and legends, this living book on extending God’s love to everyone, through the legend of Saint Francis and a wolf, are sure to become a new free read for CMers… I hope!
    I really want more books like this!

Year 8

  • Money and Power by Jaques Ellul  ~ this is a book that I am more than excited about. As I have been reading through it, I am recognizing that this is a LOT to chew on for someone of any age, and we will have to take this part of the Feast in small bites. I am thinking a 2 year read, to allow for the great conversation.
    This is wonderfully insightful regarding the juxtaposition of capitalism and communism either view promoting itself as a societal cure – neither side advocating what Christ does, individual responsibility to lavishly and willingly share their wealth with others in need, without force.
    If you want to get an idea of Jaques Ellul, watch this 6-part YouTube series on Technology, over 20 years ahead of today’s Facebook and McDonald’s culture. Does that make me see the value in a Luddite? Perhaps a little bit more than beforehand. I still like blogging, after all. 😉
  • Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr ~ this is on the justice system, but more importantly God’s justice system and how we have a lot to change if we want to treat criminals as Christ has commanded us, while still honoring, protecting, and valuing those who were victimized. A promising book about restorative justice. I plan on dividing this into 12 readings, it having 11 chapters and a wealth of encouragement in 4 appendices. He has a meaty Restorative Justice Blog to read through, too, but that won’t be used in our scheduled studies.
  • The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder ~ a general book on living out Christ in our daily living, which encompasses the political. Our actions speak louder than our vote, in essence. This has (for AO purposes) 12 tidy, but meaty chapters, so I will divide this into 12 weekly readings.

Year 9

  • Electing Not to Vote, Edited by Ted Lewis ~ I read this during this years Mother’s Feast schedule and was awed. There are several positions within this book that I myself do not resonate with, but the thought put into each essay, the Biblical leading, and the faith within these Believers was awe-inspiring. My copy is highlighted, dog-eared, and has notes all over the place. It has 9 chapters, but I wished for more! This was my “really lovely book” I mentioned above.
  • A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, Edited by Tripp York and Justin Bronson Barringer ~ this is a possibilty, and one I am leaning towards heavily.
  • Bible Studies by Richard Righter ~ I may utilize a few of these free studies over the summer between Year 8 and 9. I love them and have gone through several on my own.

Other HEO-level options

  • Nevertheless: Varieties of religious pacifism by John Howard Yoder ~ this has the same feel to it as Electing Not to Vote, but as this is written by one author rather than many, it has a rhythm to it that I appreciate. This book helped me to understand exactly what kind of pacifist I am, able to be defined with words (a pacifist of the Messianic community), and appreciate the variety of ways people support not murdering your neighbor. This has 20 chapters and could be spread out over a year or over 2 semesters, depending on how one wanted to utilize it. This is a meaty book, so I definitely would not suggest more than a chapter a week.
  • The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy ~ Ambleside Online already lists some of his work in the later years, if I remember correctly. This is a classic that should not be discounted.
  • What Would You Do? By John Howard Yoder ~ This is a book based on the hypothetical questions pacifists are often asked. Perhaps better suited as a free read, for those deeply interested in this.
  • Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos ~ a comprehensive scope on the history of anarchy within the community of Believers (click the link and through it you can download this for free at EThOS).
  • War and Peace from Genesis to Revelation: King Jesus’ Manual of Arms for the Armless by Vernard Eller ~ many of his books are suitable for these upper years. Many of his works, except this one, are available for free here.
  • Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes by Jacques Ellul ~ this is a helpful foundation for understanding that we are all affected and influenced by propaganda, governmental and otherwise. Again, many of his books are suitable for upper years.
  • Loaves and Fishes: The Inspiring Story of the Catholic Worker Movement by Dorothy Day ~ free read
  • Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw ~ I adore this book and would put it as a free read. This is genuinely a gorgeous book. The words are inspiring, but the images/art that are within are comforting and inspiring at once.
  • Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings about Love, Compassion & Forgiveness, gathered and introduced by Wendell Berry ~ free read, very short but insightful
  • The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr ~ I have not gotten to read this yet, but it is a slightly altered version of one of his previously written books, as you’ll read in the preface. It is a free PDF, here.

Memorization/Liturgy

This is a liturgical prayer that the Shane Claiborne/Chris Haw crew had up at their website for their book, Jesus For President, which is now defunct (it can be sourced by using archive.org). I share this here, as it is so beautiful and I believe, of far greater value than pledging allegiance to flag or soil, both of which can and will pass away:

One: Today we pledge our ultimate allegiance… to the Kingdom of God

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To a peace that is not like Rome’s

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Gospel of enemy love

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Kingdom of the poor and broken

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To a King that loves his enemies so much he died for them

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the least of these, with whom Christ dwells

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the transnational Church that transcends the artificial borders of nations

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the refugee of Nazareth

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the homeless rabbi who had no place to lay his head

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the cross rather than the sword

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the banner of love above any flag

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the one who rules with a towel rather than an iron fist

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the one who rides a donkey rather than a war-horse

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the revolution that sets both oppressed and oppressors free

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Way that leads to life

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Slaughtered Lamb

All: We pledge allegiance

One: And together we proclaim his praises, from the margins of the empire to the centers of wealth and power

All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

One: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

Practically There is No Such Thing as Anarchy, Part 1

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I have had a few people ask me what substitutions I am making with Ambleside Online in these older years, in regards to economics, the justice system, and politics, if they know I am a Christian anarchist.
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Because of this, I am going to start a running list of what I plan to do. (Bear with me, I will get to it, but I wanted to type up some thoughts that have been going through my head in regards to this area!)


There’s a longish (compared to just giving you my list) aspect I want to cover, as this all relates to CM/AO and my “anarchist” ways. Just the other day, I was reading A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason. An interesting quote stuck out at me.

 

“Practically there is no such thing as anarchy; what is so-called is a mere transference of authority, even if in the last resort the anarchist find authority in himself alone.”

~ Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, page 69

Based on her implied definition of what anarchy means (no governance/chaos), I agree wholeheartedly with this quote. I’ll get back to the definition of anarchy in a moment.

Christian anarchy, for me, came about after dissatisfaction in the Bush/Gore elections. I actually voted, y’all, and it was for Bush, the man who did not win by popular vote, but by the electoral college. Meaning that all the hype I had been told about our “votes counting” was not entirely true. Our vote only counts when the higher ups want to permit us that illusion. Despite that, my family and friends said that EVERY vote counts – it’s our DUTY to take part in the process!
After the Bush/Gore year, I looked into a third party. I liked, at the time, the idea of the Constitution Party. When I told my family and friends about this, many of them told me they “wished” they could vote third party, but voting third party was a “wasted” vote that then distracted from the two bigger parties…
It was this very inconsistency… that EVERY vote counts, except third-party votes… they are WASTED votes and they suddenly don’t count… except, scratch that… they do… no… oh, that’s right, everyone forgot about the electoral college thing….
Anyway, I digress. It was that very inconsistent “logic” that piqued my curiosity when I was in the library and happened upon Jesus for President.
I read Jesus for President, and was convicted by reading 1 Samuel 8. I tried to fight it – my cultural conditioning was very strong. I felt I was betraying every person in the country (forget about… humanity in general) to not vote between “the lesser of two evils.” As the weeks went by, I realized that by voting, we are hoping that our vision of a good country would be imposed on others through The Lesser we have put above us. Slowly, my Christian anarchist beliefs have grown and sharpened into focus.
I have never once, internally, felt like a true “anarchist,” by definitions ignorantly created or implied by the majority. 1 Samuel 8 exposed to me that I absolutely DO want authority, but not of human making. To call myself an anarchist is rather backward for me when using standard (not accurate) definition, as I want the Ultimate Authority. Regardless of whether someone does not understand the root wording of anarchy, allowing it with either the correct definition or the wrong one, makes it easier for others to understand that I do not encourage, endorse, or take part in the kind of human authority 1 Samuel 8 tells us will ALWAYS result in:

“‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.'”
~ 1 Samuel 8:11-20

(By the way… wouldn’t a mere 10% of your finances be a breath of fresh air right now??)

Back to the lovely Charlotte Mason, for she is whom I love regarding educational philosophy, who inspired the women of Ambleside Online and many others, and her thoughts on anarchy and politics continue, from above. Her immediate thought following the last CM quote I shared is one I do not fully agree with, after reading 1 Samuel 8:

There is an idea abroad that authority makes for tyranny, and that obedience, voluntary or involuntary, is of the nature of slavishness; but authority is, on the contrary, the condition without which liberty does not exist and, except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those on whom it is exercised: we are so made that we like to be ordered even if the ordering be only that of circumstances.
~Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, page 69

1 Samuel 8 is quite clear that human authority/kingship/rule does make for tyranny. Democratic nations are no different than kingdoms in this regard – they are not immune from God’s clear words on the result of our hearts clamoring for human rulership over the unseen, Perfect God governing our daily politics. Just take a look at our presidents (any of them), our CPS system, our justice system, our economic system… and it’s very clear that we are living out 1 Samuel 8 all over again.

If it weren’t so depressing that so many have, do, and will believe this throughout time, it would be almost comical that involuntary obedience is not considered a form of slavery to her. The kind of comical where you start out laughing and end up sobbing, really.

Liberty is not found in human governance, or in the blood of strangers from another land, but only in Christ. So, this aspect of the quote is accurate, but misguided, as I know she is advocating for human government/rulership and trying to dissuade from “anarchy.”

Back to the definition of anarchy. This is not what Miss Mason alluded to it as, nor what most think it is. Anarchy is very much a governing ideal, but quite different in heart than what the majority proposes (right by might).
As to the “except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those whom…” I just have to chuckle a little bit, because, it goes right back to 1 Samuel 8. People beg for it, but are stolen from, abused, and enslaved, our sons and daughters are taken from us and put into a system of indoctrination, while we laud the system and advocate for “more” to be done within it to make it better. It has never been any other way, in any other system of human ruling, at any time. Why? Because, according to this passage in 1 Samuel, proven through all of history… human leadership is always abusive and enslaving to those it “seeks” to serve.

To circle back around, this is why I cannot teach only of the human system of government that we are now under, but feel a compelling need to speak of honoring our High King through our learning and daily politic.

Want to see what a Christian anarchist substitutes/complements in the higher (and even one for an earlier year) of Ambleside Online? Join me tomorrow, with Part 2.