My Daughter, My Politics, and the A-word

anarchist circle A symbol courtesy glowleaf.netStriker told one of her classes that I’m an anarchist.  She’s done this before.  I can’t quite figure out if she’s proud of me, or just enjoys the attention that comes from having a mother who’s a freak.  A few years ago she got her words mixed up and tried to convince her church youth group that I’m an atheist.  That would somewhat limit my options in ministry, if true.

So last night, at about 10:00 o’clock, Striker said, “Oh, mom, I almost forgot.  I told my civics class that you’re an anarchist.  And Mrs. _______ asked me to explain, but I couldn’t explain it very well.  So she wondered if you’d write down your views.  Just a paragraph or two is fine.  Sorry I forgot to mention it earlier.  By tomorrow morning would be good.”

Well, she didn’t get it by this morning.  I challenge you to explain and defend Christian anarchism in two paragraphs while drowsily watching “The Daily Show”.  It doesn’t work.  I did, however, type up and print something today.  I hope the teacher doesn’t object to my dragging scripture into it, because it’s unavoidable.  I babbled for a few paragraphs and then referred her to smarter people like Jesus, Dorothy Day, Jacques Ellul, John Howard Yoder and William Cavanaugh.  The usual suspects.  But not Tolstoy, the oft-cited patron saint of Christian anarchism.  He was a nut.

Oh, that daughter of mine.  As I write this post I am reminded of a quiet Thanksgiving afternoon a year or two ago when Striker spoke up out of the blue and said, “Hey, Grandpa” – the “Grandpa” being my proud Korean War veteran father – “Hey, Grandpa, did you know that Mom is an anarchist?”  If you think only teenagers can pull off the exaggerated eye roll, you should have seen my dad.

If you listen to Striker, you’d think that I hold party meetings at our house, or hand out literature on street corners, or give speeches in Union Square.  You’d think I never read anyone but Bakunin and Chomsky.  I’m really not that interesting.  But there are buzz words that are guaranteed to get a reaction and “anarchy” is one of them.  I do like to shout it now and then, but usually just when I’m annoyed with some sort of bureaucracy.   Remember the line from “Taladega Nights” when the unruly little boys run screaming, “Anarchy!  Anarchy!  I don’t know what that means, but I LOVE it!”?  My real thoughts on the subject have nothing to do with rebellion and chaos.  It’s all about recognizing, critiquing and subverting the powers and authorities that try to take our allegiance away from the One to whom it belongs.  That’s what I tried to explain to the teacher.  In my life, there is no rightful King but Jesus, and He doesn’t rule by power, coercion and violence.  His followers shouldn’t either.

I really need to develop a good short answer for the next time that Striker does this to me.  Or maybe print up business cards:  Sharon Autenrieth, anarchist sympathizer.  Not the bomb-throwing kind.

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About Sharon Autenrieth

Wife, mom to 5, homeschooler, Christian Education Director, idealist, malcontent, follower of Jesus.
This entry was posted in parenting, politics, spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to My Daughter, My Politics, and the A-word

  1. Syl says:

    “It’s all about recognizing, critiquing and subverting the powers and authorities that try to take our allegiance away from the One to whom it belongs. That’s what I tried to explain to the teacher. In my life, there is no rightful King but Jesus, and He doesn’t rule by power, coercion and violence. His followers shouldn’t either.”

    Yep, in a nut-shell. Nicely put!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Seriously, Superman? | Strange Figures

  3. jubilare says:

    “It’s all about recognizing, critiquing and subverting the powers and authorities that try to take our allegiance away from the One to whom it belongs.”
    I like this. In myself, I’ve never considered it under the terms of anarchy, but I am acutely aware that my allegiance must belong to God above all else, and waving the banner of “Christianity” in politics makes my blood boil. America is not, and never has been a “Christian nation.” I deny the existence, at any time in history, of an earthly “Christian nation” and I resent attempts to use the empty label of “Christianity” to forward political agendas. I am fond of my nation and my heritage, but my allegiance to it is in the same category as the early Christians’ allegiance to Rome.

    That said, I am leery of the term “anarchy.” I am curious to hear more of what the word means to you, and I hope you will write a post on it, though I sympathize with how much of a challenge that is. I always feel a failure when I try to explain my beliefs.
    I have a friend who is an anarchist and an atheist, and her view of anarchy always struck me as naive. I have no faith in humanity. I love us, even like us, but I don’t trust us. I don’t trust myself, having seen enough of my own transgressions to know better. It seems to me that, if we can find ways to make ourselves even feel superior to others, we will almost always do so, and I have, as oxymoronic as this fact is, met some very “superior” anarchists. You don’t come off as prideful or thoughtless, and that makes me want to hear more.

    end of ramble. 😉

    Like

    • I love this comment, especially the “I love us, even like us, but I don’t trust us” part. I don’t entirely disagree, but I’m a hopeless optimist. My husband is a hopeless pessimist, so we balance each other out. I have a good friend who has been involved in an anarchist farm collective, and she’s made the same observation – that some anarchist are very holier-than-thou about their politics. No one is free of that temptation, I suppose.

      I promise I’ll write more on the subject. You’ve inspired me to put up or shut up. 🙂

      Like

      • jubilare says:

        aw… I am glad! I hope it made you smile.
        I am a recovering cynic (I have yet to find group meetings for this condition), so in years past I would have been much more bitter about humanity. God has given me a different frame of mind, and I am trying to be teachable.

        🙂

        Like

  4. Pingback: “Anarchy now?” she asks politely. | Strange Figures

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