Martin Wroe - Greenbelt
· Waiters Union
A man who is prepared to attack the closed-set model of Christianity, of them-us, in-out good-bad, saved-unsaved and present an open useful honest model of people moving either towards or away from the centre. There's stuff that is just so ahead of us, like the idea that to see the whole divine centre not just from our angle, we have to be in dialogue with those whose journey approaches the centre from other directions. The book begins by taking a serious look at the history of Christendom, the utter disregard for human rights, proven guilt of total destruction of tribal cultures, implicated in the worst cases of genocide. It's not pretty. Andrews is a man that in a small community in Brisbane has offered the most inspiring practical model and outworking of a truly inclusive church/community that I've encountered so far. One that deals with dirt and is prepared to live amongst it. It still inspires me now.
'If I didn't respect the person so much that gave me this book I would never had read it. Until recently I've considered religion 'the opium of the masses' and wanted noth-ing to do with this 'Christ'. Marx's critic is an excellent one; religion is a drug that stops the people from questioning the tyranny of the system. But after reading Dave Andrews I no longer associate the Jewish Messiah Jesus with Christianity. I now see that Christianity is a religion that has been irreversibly distorted by its neglect of the actual figure and teachings of Christ. The most appealing thing about the book is that Andrews commitment to what he sees as the non-violence of Jesus is even carried into the way the book is written. He doesn't appeal to the reader to come over to where he stands and see it the way he does rather he (with the integrity of a true anarchist) is not a reformer but proposes a new open(!) construct that people can engage with total disregard for the drug that has met it's used by date: Christianity. I have not yet finished but I would also recommend "Not Religion, but Love" which Andrew's also wrote. Both books are excellent.'
Fred Abbot, Amazon Review, London, England.
'This book is a radical but loving reconstruction of the movement of Jesus Christ, in protest against its distortions. Dave Andrews, one of the leading prophetic voices of our time, brings all of his passion and insight to bear in a way which will both disturb and inspire. Christi‑Anarchy has that uncomfortable air of a message crying out to be heard, and I hope it is widely read.'
Mike Riddell, Author, alt.spirit@metro3 and the bestselling Godzone
'The long history of the project Christendom may be typified as the house of authority. With its many attendant abuses of power. But a different thread runs through history as well, based on the subversive memory of the early Jesus movement. This could be typified as the house of freedom. Here welcome, hospitality, downward mobility, servant leadership, common purse, intentional community, peace and justice are the dancing residents. In the tradition of Vernard Eller, Dave Andrews invites us to dwell in the house of freedom, and fling open all the doors and windows!'
Charles Ringma, PhD, Professor, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.
'This is a courageous and provocative study, likely to earn applause from some, and brickbats from others, but certain to challenge and to stimulate serious reflection.
Dave Andrews attacks Christian complacency and calls us back to the non-violent, yet radically subversive 'Way' of Jesus. Many of us who teach Church History feel uncomfortable with facile explanations of its dark, demonic side. This book confronts that darkness with a sobering accusation: post-Constantinian Christianity has so perverted the 'Way' that, far from being aberrations, atrocities have become its natural excrescences. Christianity's reputation is so besmirched that a startling new name is proposed for the humble, loving 'Way' of life taught and exemplified by Jesus. Those afraid of moving out of their comfort zone are advised not to read this book!'
Patricia Harrison, PhD, Professor, Tabor College, Sydney, Australia.
'If you've ever wondered if our common form of 'Christianity' has somehow become different than what Christ intended ...this book will add a great deal of light to your journey. The Jesus who confronted our common tendencies of control and conquest is heard once again; even rising up against much of what has 'promoted' a form of following him. Drawing upon the insights of many 'radical reformers,' combined with the real life he seeks to live out, Dave Andrews offers a different way of seeing Christ in the world. Many who long to meet Jesus, apart from the institutions that bear his name, will find a wonderful invitation as you move through these pages. Those more traditional in their understanding of Christ will find some ideas difficult if not even dangerous. I myself do not yet see the road quite the same, but I'm convinced that I've once again learned to see it more clearly from a voice of remarkable compassion.'
Brad Bailey, Senior Pastor, Westside Vineyard Fellowship, Santa Monica ,USA.
The late Anglican Bishop Ralph Wicks used to say in the midst of his three hour Good Friday services that 'Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship'. This is a hardy seed of an idea: an idea which has taken root in Dave Andrews' book Christi-Anarchy.
In reviewing this book, I feel as though I'm introducing the man himself. Dave identifies strongly with his worldview, to say the least. He takes his religion very personally - in fact he is, to put it simply and I hope politely, fixated with Christ. This is the essence of the theme of Christi-Anarchy: that Christianity as a religion has been distorted by its neglect of the actual figure and teachings of Christ.
This is hardly a new message, as there are many reformers who strive to reclaim the original and central personality of Christianity. But Dave is not trying to reform an ailing system. Like his political counterparts, the anarchists, he is trying to practise a new system within (or alongside) the shell of the old. Which explains, partly, Dave's capacity to irritate even the most sympathetic church bureaucrat.
My only worry (apart from being a church bureaucrat myself) is that in trying to evangelise the evangelicals, liberate the liberals and ferment the fundamentalists, Dave risks trying to 'out-Jesus' Jesus. There is a thin line between devout disciple and messianic mischief-maker. For what it's worth, I can vouch for Dave's presence on the right side of this line. More importantly, however, so can hundreds (if not thousands) of people from the slums of India to the boarding houses of Brisbane - in other words, the experts on such matters in the Upside-Down Kingdom.
Dave lives a Gospel story in friendship with his Lord through the gift of community. He is an open-minded absolutist who errs on the side of compassion in any situation, based upon an informed imagination of where Christ is in today's world.
Dave's other genius is that he upholds deep-seated tolerance while adhering to a central claim of Truth. Gleaned from years of service in the multi-religious and caste-based society of India, Dave has a firm grasp of pluralism and how its neglect has (at times inadvertently) turned many Christians into racial supremacists, on the one hand, and other-worldly quietists, on the other. Dave also knows what buttons religion pushes in the Australian psyche. He has obviously argued with evangelicals and liberal Christians alike, challenging each with the unique counter-characteristics of Jesus.
The final synthesis of this argument is a discomforting and compassionate faith which maintains open boundaries around a central (and hard) core of belief. Dave writes out of his current experience in innercity Brisbane within 'the Waiters Union', a network of creative community workers who have befriended local refugees of all kinds - from persecution, society, the church and the dominant consumer culture.
I found Christi-Anarchy engaging, perceptive and provocative. It includes some meaty sources, for those wanting to devour further, from a smorgasbord of writers, activists and radical movements. More importantly, it provides the basis for practical action by local Christian groups, as well as those who have been stung, bitten or crushed by the institutional excesses of the faith. This is a truly offensive book and the writer should be commended.
Mark Young, Book Review, OnLine Opinion
'This book is for all those who are as turned on by Christianity as they are by the idea of their grandparents doing the bump and grind. If you've ever been enchanted with the figure of Jesus and yet wouldn't touch Christianity with a bargepole because of the amount of BS, this book will resonate with your experiences and encourage and challenge you in living a life of radical justice and compassion. This isn't just another undressing religiosity from the idea of following Jesus but Dave Andrews states Christianity must be thrown out!! (The Chapter 'Christianity is Dead - Long Live Christi-anarchy' is amazing!) His brilliant uncovering of the brutality and violence of Christianity's histories is concise and easy to read and his deconstruction of ideo-logyical underpinning of Christianity is challenging. This book will be hated by the religious and the status quo and written off, if not burned. But for those who earnestly seek a holistic spirituality of peace; it will become a close friend. It returns the figure of Jesus to the marginalised and to the oppressed from the clutches of those who would use the symbols for control and oppression. Read it... I dare you.'
Jarrod McKenna, PeaceTree Community, Perth, Australia.
'If you have found it hard to reconcile Gandhi's deepest connections to his Hindu nonviolence being Christ's Sermon on the Mount and yet Christians saying Gandhi isn't 'saved' Christi-Anarchy will help. Andrews is a real practitioner and the lives of hundreds of people here in India's slums and in the boarding homes of Brisbane tell of this humble man's greatness. I think Andrews is a little christ, a little mahatma.'
Jyotsna, Amazon Review, Rajasthan. India.