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article imageChristian anarchists embrace social networking Special

By David Masters     Jul 7, 2010 in World
Christian anarchists may be a rare breed, but nearly 70 of them have already signed up to Christarchy, a new social networking site launched this week. provides an online, interactive space for the "Christarchists" to hang out and discuss the issues that matter to them, including urban farming, reconciliation, and intentional communities.
The site's founder, Jason Barr, explained Christian anarchy, or Christarchy as he prefers to call it, is about putting the call to follow Christ ahead of any political allegiance. Christarchists believe Christianity is about practicing the teachings of Jesus, such as living simply, caring for the poor, and peacemaking.
"Christarchy is basically the recognition that being faithful to Jesus will inevitably require one to come into conflict with power structures and systems that are not submitted to Jesus," Barr told Digital Journal. "Among those power structures are entities like nation-states, financial institutions, trade organizations, and the like which seek to establish their own hegemony apart from God's providence and intention."
So what do Christarchists do?
"To live as a Christarchist involves not only challenging these powers externally, but also recognizing the ways in which these powers have deeply shaped our own identities and ways of being and thinking."
Christarchists, Barr explained, model themselves on the first century Christian church, working together into small, local communities. The first century church was "renowned for sharing with one another, having all things in common, refusing to participate in imperially-sanctioned violence, and so on," Barr said. "There is much in the early church's practice that is similar to the ways many anarchists suggest we should organize ourselves."
For Barr, the aim of the new site is to support local Christian anarchist communities around the world. Groups can use the site to network with other groups for ideas and inspiration on how to live out their beliefs in everyday life. Barr is emphatic that online networking should not replace local anarchist groups.
"The goal is to enable people to network online in support of building movements that are not limited to online activity," he said, before going on to explain what users can do on the site.
"We have pretty much all the standard social networking functions, like an activity news feed, groups, forums, and the like. Users can share links, have conversations, send private messages, share files and images, and create fully-functional Wordpress blogs."
Anyone who is Christian can sign up to the site and will be welcomed as a member. However, that does not mean that anarchy sits comfortably alongside faith for all Christians, nor that Christianity is embraced by all anarchists.
"The radical inclusivist in my wants to say that is for everyone who will come," Barr said. "Honestly, that probably isn't the case. For example, an evangelical Christian who is convinced that right-wing, Tea Party-style Republicanism is the way to go politically for Christians probably won't have a good experience on the site. Likewise, a hardcore anarchist who is unwavering in the view that religion and any concept of God is inherently oppressive would have difficulty with the site."
Nonetheless, Barr believes many Christians will find the site engaging and thought provoking.
"Really, anyone who is genuinely interested in or curious about the principles of Christian anarchy, or who has a sense that following Jesus ought to be a radical thing should be able to find a place at Christarchy," he said. "You don't have to be an anarchist to join."
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