Archives For Ched Myers

 

What has Bioregionalism
to Do with Discipleship?

 
A Feature Review of 

Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice
Ched Myers

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by James Matichuk
 
 

This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog.
Reprinted with permission. 
*** Visit his blog for many other insightful reviews!

Early Christians asked themselves, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” wondering about the relationship between the Christian faith and pagan philosophy. Today many Christians raise a similar question: “What does my faith have to do with the environment?” Western Christianity has imbibed a functional Docetism since Constantine, placing salvation outside of creation’s realm. We’ve also been bequeathed the medieval Doctrine of Discovery, and Industrialization’s anthropological assumption which has enabled colonization and the exploitation of our natural resources (5-6). We’ve commodified our land and resources and a major divide continually grows between our Christian faith and our lived environments. We are now at a critical juncture in which human persons are making a major impact on our world. It is time to re-place Christian discipleship within our ecosystems.

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Ched Myers and M Colwell - Our God is UndocumentedA Promise Even Greater than that of Lady Liberty

A Featured Review of

Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice.

Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell.

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2012.
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Reviewed by Jonathan Felton.

A Church without Borders

One could be forgiven for expecting this book to be a rehash of liberal arguments about immigration policy, anchored by a smattering of bible verses. It isn’t. Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell have something else in mind, and their short book contributes some big ideas to discussions of “biblical faith and immigrant justice “

The authors acknowledge that the reflections in their book are “unapologetically theological and ecclesial.”  This is a book about God and the church. They are more concerned with conveying “a faith-rooted ethic regarding the sojourner in our midst than with the current debates over U.S. immigration and naturalization policies.” Acceptance of their thesis does have implications for our attitude toward those policies. The authors hope we will approach them with a revised sense of loyalty, and therefore with a renewed set of priorities.

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A Brief Review of

Ambassadors of Reconciliation (Vol. II):
Diverse Christian Practices of
Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.

Elaine Enns and Ched Myers.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Dustin Hite.

In this second of a two volume work, Elaine Enns and Ched Myers, whose work with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries is well-known to some, offer those interested in issues of restorative justice, peacemaking, conflict resolution, and other disciplines some wise words of encouragement, as well as numerous examples of how many diverse people are working successfully in these areas.

This particular volume opens with a three-chapter sectioning laying some groundwork for the perspective from which Enns and Myers are operating in their own work.  For instance, chapter one deals with a short explication of the spiral of violence and how it is operative in the social world—an understanding that is crucial for one to grasp in order to move into the next two chapters.  In both chapter two and three, the authors begin to offer a critique of the segregated nature of the disciplines mentioned above, as well as developing a harmonized approach to their own view of restorative justice and peacemaking practices.  One highlight of this work, among the many, is chapter three.  Both Enns and Myers acknowledge how power dynamics are at play in any attempt to succeed in these matters.  In their own way, this chapter highlights how some in this field, especially those who belong to the dominant culture, fail to understand how power dynamics, and the acknowledgment thereof, can either help or hinder efforts.  It is this critique that may be most helpful to anyone—whether professionally engaged in this type of work or only so through personal interaction—as they seek to navigate themselves in an interdependent world.

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A Brief Review of
Ambassadors of Reconciliation:
New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice
and Peacemaking, Volume I
,
Ched Myers and Elaine Enns. 

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.

Ched Myers’ new book, written with his wife Elaine Enns, is a two volume work on a Christian discipleship of restorative justice and peacemaking.  Volume one, reviewed briefly here, describes the New Testament basis for this work.  Volume two, due in  November 2009, will present testimonies from a variety of practitioners (i.e. disciples of Jesus) and outline the broader conceptual framework.  In the first volume Myers and Enns provide a robust and provocative reading of four important passages from the New Testament that get beyond the typical prooftexts on this topic, and demonstrate the central place of restorative justice and peacemaking in the biblical view of discipleship.  These passages are well chosen (in order of treatment they are 1 Cor 5:16-6:13, Mark 1-3, Matthew 18, and the entire book of Ephesians!) and the exegesis is typical of Myers’ previous works in being illuminating, provocative and compelling.  Myers wants to show that Jesus and the apostles were “visionary peacemakers” and “peace disturbers”.  He utilizes the history of the civil rights movement as embodied in the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King to makes this aspect of the New Testament “come alive.”  This will be perhaps a controversal tack for some, and yet Myers clearly indicates that he is not saying that Jesus was merely doing the same thing as Dr. King, nor that Dr. King was a reincarnate Messiah.  However, utilizing our familiarity with King can help North Americans grasp a central aspect of Jesus’s ministry that often goes unnoticed by both liberals and conservatives. Namely, Myers wants to explicate nonviolent direct action (NVDA) as a central part of the gospel message.  The value in this volume is found in the biblical argumentation for this thesis (especially valuable in Myers’ work on the epistles), the clear presentation of the biblical foundations and theological rationale underlying the civil rights movement, and the persuasive argument for a discipleship that all of us should take more seriously.

 

A Brief Review of
BINDING THE STRONG MAN:
A POLITICAL READING OF
MARK’S STORY OF JESUS (2oth anniversary edition)

by Ched Meyers.

by Chris Smith.

I was delighted to see that Orbis Books has released a twentieth anniversary edition of Ched Myers’s iconoclastic study of Mark’s gospel, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.  I originally read this book ten years ago, so I was glad for the opportunity to re-visit it.  The most striking thing about Binding the Strong Man, however is that Myers wrote for a primary audience, not of insulated biblical scholars but of “church members and Christian social activists” (xxxiii).  Unfortunately, I fear that the intensity and rigor of Myers’s scholarship has intimidated much of his intended audience and created a reality in which this book is read more frequently in seminaries than in churches.  I pray that this new edition would provide an opportunity for this reality to be righted.
Myers is a brilliant mind and his diligent research combined with his perspective as an outsider to biblical scholarship make this a very refreshing book to read.  He does an excellent job in the book’s first part of setting the socio-historical stage on which Mark’s gospel will unfold.  He then proceeds in the following parts of the book to work carefully through the text of Mark emphasizing the political meaning of each passage.  In the afterword and appendix, he briefly explores some ways in which his reading of Mark, and other socio-political readings of the life of Jesus, are relevant to the mission of the Church in the present age.  The text of the book seems to be same as that of the original edition, but Orbis has added a new foreword, a new preface by Myers and a new introduction.  Of these three new pieces, Myers’s preface is the most useful, commenting on the ways that this book has been read and used in the intervening decades.  If you have not read this important work of scriptural reflection, now would be an ideal time to dive into the rich hermeneutic waters of Binding the Strong Man.

BINDING THE STRONG MAN (20th Anniversary Edition):
A POLITICAL READING OF MARK’S STORY OF JESUS

By Ched Myers.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $23 ] [ Amazon ]