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Monday, 12 April 2010

Anarchy & Grace - Will D Campbell on disorganised religion as ecclesiology

Despite all my reading on the sociology of institutions and the way movements become institutions not least the Christian movement I find something bracing about Will Campbell's anarchic views and practice of a radical Christian discipleship. In the light of the current difficulties created by institutions of established Christianity commitment to self preservation in their handling of sexual abuse cases you can't help feeling that he has a point.

In his account of a personal struggle for soul freedom he observes:

As most of you know my institutional flings didn't work out. None of them. There is not time here to list them nor explain their demise. To do so would serve no purpose. Doubtless part of my failure within the structures had to do with my own intractable genes. Whatever. I was a pastor, a university chaplain, an employee of the allegedly most free religious institution in the world. I didn't keep any job for long. But through it all I discovered one thing. All institutions, every last single one of them, are evil; self-serving, self-preserving, self-loving; and very early in the life of any institution it will exist for its own self. So beware out here this week. True soul freedom cannot be found in any institution. That is the guts of my testimony to you today. True soul freedom can never be found in any institution. If they will pay you, let them. I did it too. But never trust them. Never bow the knee to them. They are all after your soul. Your ultimate, absolute, uncompromising allegiance. Your soul. ALL OF THEM. Jesus was a RADICAL! And His Grace abounds.
 There are echoes here of William Stringfellow with his vigorous assaults on the institutional structures of the Episcopalian church in the name of the Gospel.

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