NOTE on image above: Foot washing by UK artist Dinah Roe Kendall
WN: It is exciting to introduce The Kenarchy Journal!
Roger Mitchell1, the Editor and Founder, created the neologism, “kenarchy,” explaining:
Kenarchy is a newly constructed word signifying an innovative, inclusive reconfiguration of Jesus’ politics of love. It is derived from ken(osis): emptying out sovereign power and replacing it with a love measured by readiness to die for the other, even one’s enemy, and archy: a way of ordering or relating in social space. It has been articulated over the last 15 years by a growing network of theologians and activists around original work begun with and on behalf of them by political theologian Roger Haydon Mitchell. (See Discovering Kenarchy: Contemporary Resources for the Politics of Love. Roger Haydon Mitchell and Julie Tomlin Arram eds. Wipf & Stock, 2014). While based unapologetically in the Jesus story as found in the four gospels of the Christian scriptures, and drawing on the theology of trinity and incarnation, it configures an inclusive politics of love as a gift to people of all faiths and none.
While kenarchy is a gift for everybody, those of us who configure the politics of love in these terms are strongly motivated to do so in a way that deeply penetrates existing socially constructed mind-sets. This is why we combine applied academic research and writing together with grassroots social, economic and political activism. Kenarchy developed initially as a form of political theology and we make no apology for that, but it now embraces a wide and interdisciplinary perspective relevant to the politics and theology of love. The purpose of this Journal is to advance the applied research, and as such, it is an academic journal. It also includes an online forum that we very much hope will provide the opportunity for both thinkers and activists to engage with the applied research material.
Roger has also published other books exploring the above and more, seen in the clickable images below:
It is through my friend Brad Jersak, who is on the Board, that Roger invited a contribution. I agreed, and also directed him to recently-retired New Testament scholar Christopher Marshall2. As seen in the footnote, Marshall has published extensively on New Testament theology in dialogue with criminal justice. He invariably has an exciting read of Saint Paul. His concluding paragraph in Volume Two of the Journal rings of challenge:
If Paul were to time-travel into our own day, and could witness, not only the modern church’s failure to reach out in reconciliation across the bitter divisions that afflict the human family, but also its proclivity to sanction, sometimes even to bless in God’s name, the use of violence by nations to achieve partisan goals, I am sure he would snap at us with the same words of rebuke addressed to the church at Ephesus: “That is not the way you learned Christ!” (Eph. 4:20). For reconciliation is nothing more than giving feet to what we see modeled in Christ, what we have learned of Christ, and what Christ has done for us.
You are invited to join in the conversation! We read:
The idea of this forum is to provide the opportunity for engagement with the journal articles from both academics and activists. While it’s certainly possible to be both, we want this forum to facilitate engagement with those who don’t identify as academic but have significant points to raise and wisdom and expertise to share, so please don’t hold back!
Finally, a PDF of my contribution to the current Volume may be found here: Restorative Justice: Peacemaking Not Warmaking; Transformative Justice: Penal Abolitionism Not Prison Reform. The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in The Kenarchy Journal (2021), 2, 73-102.
- Roger Haydon Mitchell, PhD, theologian and activist, honorary researcher in the Lancaster University Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities, and political theologian with the Westminster Theological Centre
- Two reviews of his books by me are: Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment; Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice