Tuesday 7 April 2009

Bartley: Easter and Anarchy

In comment is free today Jonathan Bartley tries - as ever - to draw Christian attention away from the protectionism of Christendom religion toward a more radically political understanding of faith.

Easter, he claims, in its pre-Christendom forms was anarchic, subversive, intended to challenge the Roman violence-based empire.

I wonder what Bakunin would have made of this? Is Easter the new carnival of the masses aimed to offer a vision of a world turned up side down, if just for a moment.

I prefer this to Theo Hobson's (Ekklesia associate) vision "Easter Rising" which he unveiled a in 2005 at Greenbelt.

"Easter ought to be a massive public event. It ought to be the biggest event in British culture. It ought to be like every carnival and festival and demonstration rolled into one."

When I challenged him as to the venue for this event suggesting that Parliament Square would be better than Hyde Park would be appropriate because it would challenge the SOCPA laws thus brining us into the Christ-tradition of challenging the centre of power at Easter.... well, he wasn't keen to say the least.

There are all kinds of ways we can make Easter the carnival it could be, with a little imagination. Returning to a pre-Christendom hermeneutic on the gospels but a post-Christendom take on politics and society.

For example, John Hull mentioned a couple of weeks ago the idea of Churches using the issue of asylum (I think it was!) for the Palm Sunday walk through town. Worshippers would be holding up placards associating Jesus with the those on the margins of society today, those crucified by the present ideologies of empire.

I sometimes wonder what Jesus riding on a donkey toward Jerusalem would look like in the hear and now: scores of white vans, factory workers, prostitutes, with crowns on their heads as we make a red carpet for them all the way to Buckingham Palace and demand access to the many rooms.

Yes: with a little thought and fun easter is a very different fish.

Image: Guardian comment is free. Jonathan Bartley, co-director of the think tank Ekklesia