During his thirty-year career as a parish minister and professor, Robin Meyers has focused on renewing the church as an instrument of social change and personal transformation. In this provocative and passionate book, he explores the decline of the church as a community of believers and calls readers back to the church’s roots as a community of resistance. Shifting the conversation about church renewal away from theological purity and marketing strategies that embrace cultural norms, and toward “embodied noncompliance” with the dominant culture, Meyers urges a return to the revolutionary spirit that marked Jesus’s ministry.
Framing his discussion around three poems by twentieth-century Polish poet Anna Kamienska, Meyers casts the nature of faith as a force that stands against anything and everything that engenders death and indignity. He calls for active—sometimes even subversive—defiance of the ego’s temptations, of what he terms “the heresy of orthodoxy itself,” and of an uncritical acceptance of militarism and capitalism. Each chapter is a poignant and urgent invitation to recover the Jesus Movement as a Beloved Community of Resistance.
“This is Robin Meyers at his pastoral and prophetic best. Read it, and then for the love of God–RESIST!”—Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
(Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu)
“A challenging and visionary manifesto. When this wind comes sweeping down the plain, it sounds a lot like the creative breath of a Genesis dawn and the fiery spirit of a Pentecost morning.”—John Dominic Crossan
(John Dominic Crossan)
“Spiritual Defiance is a veritable landscape of dramatically beautiful phrases and insights, bon mots and felicitous subtleties. Meyers’s “Resistance To Orthodoxy” section is particularly brilliant, seeming almost to scintillate before the reader. It would be hard, in fact, to imagine a more informing and/or pleasurable treatment than this of clericalism in the contemporary world.”—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why
“Here is a book that could not be more timely, or more urgent. Robin Meyers has carefully and persuasively sketched out exactly what we most desperately need today to defeat the divisive forces that threaten to shred our communities. Fair and comprehensive, the book is also eloquently composed.”—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith
“Robin Myers is unsettling, disruptive, even subversive. I find myself imagining a loud buzzer sounding in every seminary classroom and from every pulpit in America: ‘We interrupt this normally scheduled programming with a message from the Emergency Broadcast System. This is not a test; it is an actual emergency,’ which is followed by a reading of this book.”—Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist
(Brian D. McLaren)
“Robin Meyers names the factors that are paralyzing the church and making it irrelevant. His witty discerning summons will ring true for many readers.”—Walter Brueggemann
“This is an important and delightful book. Robin Meyers is a modern practitioner of the traditional clergy/scholar model of ministry: wise, learned, witty, but with passion for the church refined by his years of experience as a pastor. At a time when everyone is ready to give up on the institution, he eloquently provides a hopeful, helpful vision for the future. Anyone who cares about the future of the church and the world the church is called to serve, should read this book.”—John M. Buchanan, Publisher/Editor of the Christian Century
(John M. Buchanan)
“While many are scrambling to find nifty fixes for all that ails the uninspired and uninspiring institutional church, Robin Meyers is looking instead to God’s holy fools, for passionate Don Quixotes of non-compliance, who are as resistant to scriptural and cultural rigidity as they are subversive for the cause of love. Rather than a Christianity that peddles implausible doctrines, Spiritual Defiance calls for a Jesus Ethic that lets go of ‘being right’ and gets on with the more distinguishing work of challenging empires and changing the world.”—The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess, Executive Minister and National Officer, United Church of Christ
(The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess)
Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers is senior minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, Oklahoma City, and professor of social justice in the Philosophy Department, Oklahoma City University. He is a peace activist and the best-selling author of six books. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.