Let me share some of my labels, or identities. Let me share some of my beliefs.
You’ll note that I say “in that order”. That is because these have a priority ranking, since each flows from, and is beholden to, the above. Our means ultimately determine our ends.
I’m a Christian, specifically, an Anabaptist Christian.
I believe that Jesus is the clearest revelation of the nature of God, and that the actions and sayings of Jesus in the synoptic gospels, as well as the testimony of the early church in Acts & Epistles, are relevant to us today. I believe that they help reveal God’s love for humanity and the rest of creation.
I believe that faith is not just a personal matter, but something to be wrestled with in a loving and supportive community. I believe group discernment, mutual aid, spiritual formation, grace, and consensus-based decision making are parts of a healthy faith community.
I understand that we don’t know it all. I believe we should watch & listen for God anyway, and be graceful to others along the way.
I believe in pursuing peace. I believe in pursuing reconciliation, restoration, and redemption. I believe in caring for our communities, our watersheds, and the earth.
I believe Jesus was serious about loving our neighbors, laying down our weapons, and not returning evil for evil. I believe in Jesus’s call to use subversive tactics to upend violent power without becoming like those we are opposing. I believe Jesus’s calls to creative nonviolence are relevant to all who follow the Way.
I understand that peace does not always seem practical. I believe we should pursue it anyway, while also strategically working on the upstream problems that make peace seem impossible: economic & racial injustice, environmental exploitation, miseducation, fearmongering & scapegoating, criminalization, and war.
I believe in decentralizing and democratizing power. I believe in respecting negative liberties.
I believe in undoing the still-echoing harms of chattel slavery and abolishing forms of modern day slavery. I believe in dismantling kyriarchy. I believe in dismantling empire, colonization, occupation, and racism. I believe in abolishing the school-to-prison pipeline, the prison-industrial complex, and in changing justice systems to focus on restoration rather than revenge. I believe in abolishing intellectual “property”, planned obsolescence, and restrictions on innovation, alteration, maintenance, and repair. I believe in dismantling CAFO farming, the “nutritional industrial complex”, food subsidies, and monocultures.
I understand that these goals are not accomplished overnight or maybe even in my lifetime. I believe we should pursue them anyway, building fair and just alternatives along the way.
I believe in equity and fairness. I believe in listening to and amplifying the voices of the oppressed and marginalized.
I believe you can tell a lot about a person based on whether they defend the powerful or the powerless. I believe in sharing, cooperatives, mutual aid societies, unions, partnerships, and common purses. I believe in resisting advertising, addiction, and the attention economy. I believe in supporting underdogs and resisting monopolies. I believe that those who extract from people and the earth should pay their share of costs (e.g. for protection, legal, and infrastructure), and not be subsidized by the ones they are extracting from. I believe that abandoned properties may justly be reclaimed and restored by those willing to care for them. I believe in helping our neighbors. I believe in sharing over hoarding. I believe in working together.
I understand that equity is difficult when injustices still exist. I believe people with privilege should share that privilege, anyway, working towards a better future for all.