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The UNkingdom of God: Embracing the Subversive Power of Repentance

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Christianity is carrying a lot of baggage. Two thousand years of well-intended (and sometimes not so well-intended) attempts to carry forward the good news of God with us have resulted in some murky understandings of the teachings of Jesus and the culture of God's kingdom. To embrace Christianity, sometimes we have to repent of what we've made of it. In The Unkingdom of Go ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published September 5th 2013 by IVP Books (first published May 20th 2013)
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Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Summary: The author advocates a kind of “Christian anarchism” consisting in a repentance from the ways Christianity has been entangled with worldly “empire”.

Mark Van Steenwyk is an anarchist. Not the violent, bomb-throwing type, but an anarchist nonetheless. In this book, he argues that Christians have, from pre-Constantinian days down to the present in “USAmerica” been entangled in systems of destructive domination.

His solution is not revolution but radical repentance, whether from plastic-cons
Robert Martin
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Western Christianity has been hijacked, and not by one particular group or another. There are a lot of agendas competing for the claim of "The Christian Way" when it comes to the Way of Jesus in the United States. Political groups, culture wars, economic systems, etc., all are making claims that they are "the Way" of being like Christ in our society and, in doing so, make the claim that they should be in charge and run the show.

Enter into this mix someone like Mark Van Steenwyk. From a position
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third book i've read by this author. The first a book of prayers. The second an interesting book on Christian anarchism. In my brief review of that book, about two years back, I stated that I would like to understand better what the out-workings of Christian anarchism might look like. This book seems to be that to some extent. In the "Unkingdom of God," Van Steenwyk shares of his own awakening out of the deep sleep of the American dream and into the life of God's now and coming Kingd ...more
Rachel Brand
I read this book after That Holy Anarchist: Reflections on Christianity & Anarchism and was hoping for more of the same, but also trying not to have too high expectations. I think this book might actually be more accessible to Christians with a more mainstream background and little understanding of anarchism. It doesn't delve too deeply into the history of anarchism, but does apply the principles to the Christian faith. The book does mostly focus on American colonialism and ideas of empire, whic ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A brief intro to Christian anarchism based around the idea of repentance. "Repentance is not an event or an emotion, it is an ongoing invitation to engage the world differently - to see the world the way God does and act accordingly. Repenting of Christianity mean adopting a posture of honest confession as we seek a better way." The book is not an apologetic that will convince the skeptic (meaning much of evangelicalism), but it is a winsomely challenging depiction of another way of living afte ...more
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those disturbing books written by someone who is a much better Christian than I am about the very good reasons why I should be a better Christian. In this case, a better Christian means a more anarchistic one, among other things. Read it to be challenged, but relatively gently. Then decide whether you can continue living in the world as it is without resisting.
Joanna Loepp Thiessen
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This whole book is meta. All the reasons I have stayed Mennonite put to words. I had never pondered anarchy as beholding my values but turns out it does! Highly recommend.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: powers, discipleship
Whatever we say about the Kingdom of God it is not like any other kingdom we've seen. To say Jesus is Lord is to declare Caesar is not and to sound the death knells on empires everywhere. In The Unkingdom of God: Embracing the Subversive Power of Repentance author Mark Van Steenwyk examines how the gospel is about far more than personal transformation. It exposes the lies of consumerism, the dehumanizing effects of the powers on communal life, and the myraid ways that 'empire' or 'Christendom' p ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This book claimed to give a new, fresh look at Christianity, to change one's viewpoint forever, to disturb and to shock. I am sory to say that this book achieved none of those things.

Of course, I can only cangratulate the author on taking up the courage to question his beliefs. It's always a hard thing to do for really religious persons. Breaking away from the beliefs of the group somehow is similar to braking away from the parents. For a child this usually means death. In early civilizations th
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mark Van Steenwyk's The UNkingdom of God: Embracing the Subversive Power of Repentance is a book with a simple thesis: We Christians need to repent of Christianity, for our sake and for the sake of the world.

And he knows what he's talking about. As co-founder of a Mennonite community in Minneapolis and editor of one of the most important online resources for Christians -- -- Steenwyk'a first book was That Holy Anarchist. But this book goes to the heart of what Jesus Radicals is
Jan 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
So far the book kind of rambles on some things. I like to read the authors experiences with religion and what he thinks about it. As a religious person I think that his beliefs are based on bad experiences with christianity. Although I do agree to some extent that Christianity is out to rule the world and that some Christians can be domineering over other people of different religions and faiths.

addition: I didnt actually finish this book because i kind of got bored with it. I think the main pr
Jason Gordon
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best books I've read exploring the links between anarchism and Christianity. This was something I already knew, as famous anarchist thinkers like Noam Chomsky alludes to the anarchist tendencies in Christianity when he refers to the prophets or the Gospels.

Van Steenwyk states the case powerfully and convincingly citing scripture and clearing up some of the passages thought to support authority. What makes this book quite the gem is th
Adam Ross
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This was a very interesting book, which is concerned primarily with repentance in our social, cultural, and economic lives. Steenwyk is a Christian anarchist, though the book gives more space to personal reflction rather than explication of texts. I wanted more exegesis, but reading about his education-by-doing was always interesting. He started an intentional community where they live out the gospel in solidarity with the poor. Like with most of these New Monastic evangelicals, their lives and ...more
Justin Eisinga
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
An easy-to-read introduction to the ways of Christian Anarchism. Using language that is approachable and understandable, Van Steenwyk flips the Christian religion on its head to reveal a spirituality that has the power to unmask power structures and guide people on the path to freedom. Mostly, this book just provided me with resources to explore further. Be careful, once you start on the path to mysticism/Christian anarchism, your world just keeps expanding!
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book! Mark Van Steenwyk really sheds light on what it means to live in the unkingdom of God with Jesus as our "unking". This is a great stand-alone book, but also serves as a good follow-up to "That Holy Anarchist". Christian anarchy expounded and demonstrated through the pages of this book. Good stuff :) ...more
gemsbooknook  Geramie Kate Barker
Won this Through Goodreads First Read.
Interesting book. Easy to follow and well written. Has given me plenty to think about. Will be worth reading again.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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