christianarchyJesus Christ preached a gospel of love and peace with justice. But the history of the Christian religion is littered with every kind of evil. What went wrong?

If you have ever wondered – how can anyone choose to be “Christian” when so much harm has been been done in the name of the church? I can only say 1) that’s a very good question and 2) Dave Andrew’s has creditably tried to answer it.  It’s not enough to say: “Well, I didn’t do those things…” these stories form part of the history we are a part of and it is only when we know and accept that story that we can understand and speak for our place in it.

Literally, “Chapter 1 – A History of Christianity: A History of Cruelty” is a history of the faith spanning 4 eras:
-Councils, Creeds & Coercian: ca. AD 100-500
-Emperors, Popes & Power: ca. AD 500-1000
-Crusades, Inquisitions & Control: ca. AD 1000-1500
-Worldwide Evangelism, Witch Hunts & Genocide: ca. 1500-2000

Dave Andrews also talks about how his connection with the YWAM community broke down.

If you are working to reconcile brokeness with grace, to understand why you should (or anyone would) persist in the pursuit of faith when church/religion/community can disappoint you and let you down then this is a good read albeit a confronting one because it goes there, looking at the ugliness… (I’d recommend reading it with others or at least at time you are feeling strongly rooted/centred in your faith because it IS confronting)

(p.152) “When Christ was crucified, the hope of his diciples, that they actually might have been able to build a better world together, was totally shattered… Jesus was dead.  And all their hopes were buried with him.”

In a complete plot spoiler, I’m about to tell you how it ends (so feel free to skip this and buy the book) with Dave Andrew’s conclusion and call to live the Way of Christ as it was intended:

(p.167-169) “Christ calls us to be a network of residents working towards community in the localities where we live, so as to realise the love of God for all people, particularly those on the fringes of our society. Christ himself is our example, and his spirit serves as the inspiration for the simple, practical, compassionate path he wants us to take, regardless of the difficulties along the way.
His expectation is that we would not slavishly copy him, but voluntarily make the same kind of choices that he made, and that he encouraged his diciples, like Peter, to make: to accept life, to respect life, and to empower people to live life to the full.
Christ calls us to know God, the surce of all life, more fully, and to cultivate the disciplines that will help us to develop a relationship to God in the midst of our ordinary everyday lives.
He calls us to live in sympathy with the heart of God, sustaining ourselves, supporting one another, and serving those around about us, in an increasingly steadfast, faithful and life-affirming manner.
Christ calls us to be aware of ourselves, and the gift of life, that each of us can bring to the community.
He calls us to scknowledge not only the reality of our brokenness, but also the potential for wholeness in our relationships, and our responsibility to grow collectively as people, in our capacity to speak truthfully, listen attentively, and work co-operatively, for the sake of the community.
Christ calls us, over and over again, particularly to remember those people in the community who are forgotten, who are rejected, neglected and ignored.
He calls us to affirm our commitment to the welfare of the whole of the human family, and to make ourselves available to brothers and sisters who are marginalised, in their ongoing struggle for love and justice.
Christ knows we disagree about many things, if not most things, but he wants us to agree on at least oen thing: the need for us to join together to develop communities in our localities that reflect his compassion by being more devoted, more inclusive and more non-violent.”