Living on Hope while Living in Babylon: The Christian Anarchists of the 20th Century

By Tripp York

A lucid exposition of Christian anarchy, the belief that the teachings of Jesus neccessitate a critical approach to secular authority.

ISBN: 9780718892029


Though Christendom has come to an end, it appears that old habits die hard. Jesus promised his followers neither safety nor affluence, but rather that those who come after him should expect persecution. Christian discipleship and tribal nationalism, however, despite any legal separation of church and state, continue to be co-opted into the nation-state project of prosperity and security. This co-option has made it diffcult for the church to recognize her task to be a prophetic witness both for and against the state. That only a small pocket of Christians bear witness against such an accommodation of Christian practice is disconcerting; and yet, it breeds hope.

In Living on Hope while Living in Babylon, Tripp York examines a few 20th century Christians from varying religious traditions who lived such a witness, including the Berrigan brothers, Dorothy Day, and Eberhard Arnold. These witnesses can be viewed as anarchical in the sense that their loyalty to Christ undermines the pseudo-soteriological myth employed by the state. While these Christians have been labeled pilgrims, revolutionaries, nomads, subversives, agitators, and now, anarchists, they are more importantly seekers of the peace of the city whose chief desire is for those belonging to the temporal cities to be able to participate in the eternal city – the city of God. By examining their ideas and their actions, this book attempts to understand how the politics of the church – an apocalyptic politic – is necessary for the church to understand her mission as bearer of the gospel.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 136

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Tripp York is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, in Elon, North Carolina. His writings have appeared in multiple journals, magazines and books, and is the author of The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom (Herald Press, 2007).



1. A Christian Anarchist Politic
2. Apocalyptic Politics
3. Catholic Workers Unite!
4. Clarence Jordan’s Fellowship
5. The Brothers Berrigan

Epilogue: Failing Faithfully


Endorsements and Reviews

One of the most constructive political theologies I have read for some time.
D. Stephen Long, Marquette University

York performs an important service in illuminating the anarchist sensibilities of Christian scriptures and discipleship, an area surely meriting further scholarly and pastoral exploration.
Michael L. Budde, DePaul University

York’s definition of Christian anarchism is carefully explained and argued … The stories York tells are sympathetic and engaging.
Peace News