Embracing the subversive power of repentance
by Mark Van Steenwyk
InterVarsity Press
PB, 188 pages, $12.80

The Kingdom of God is not what we think it is. In fact, it isn’t even a kingdom. Mark Steenywyk, former pastor and cofounder of the Christian commune the Mennonite Worker, challenges readers with radical ideas like this in his book. Steenwyk does not preach from a soap box, but he levels evenly with colloquial language to address the problems of American Christianity and offers solutions that he has found to un-Americanize his own faith.

Steenwyk resists shying away from politics, old Christian failures, or oversights that the church is making today. He believes that American church members, including himself, should “repent of Christianity” and practice what he calls “Christian anarchism.” At first glance, his ideas may seem only offensive or fanatical, but Steenwyk gives logical reasoning by referencing Scripture and credible theologians and philosophers, and offering diverse personal experiences to make sense of his unconventional convictions. The Unkingdom, he contends, is built by recognizing the harm that Christianity has done in the past, reconciling with the marginalized in our society, tearing the packaging of our neatly-wrapped-American-dream Jesus, and looking through a different lens by rejecting our centuries-old assumptions of power and religion.

Anyone who has ever asked the question, “What if we’re doing it wrong?” or even anyone who hasn’t should read this book. It offers a great opportunity to engage in a different perspective and broaden the view of the possibilities of Christianity in America.

This book was reviewed by Charnell Peters, a professional writing major at Taylor University and a freelance writer for Church Libraries, The Echo, and The Aboite Independent.