Dave Andrews on naivety, non-violence and the occupy movement.

Recently, Dave Andrews, Community Activist, Writer, Speaker, Peacemaker and Australian (in no particular order) visited the UK on a speaking tour.

Dave was kind enough to give us a quick interview.

Manwakesup: Dave, you recently did a speaking tour of the UK. Where did you get the best cup of tea?

Dave Andrews: As always, the best cup of tea was a cup of tea with friends.

Manwakesup: What was the general response from the Brits to your ideas?

Dave Andrews: I found that people resonated with what I was saying because a lot of what I was saying was merely articulating what they were already thinking and feeling.

Manwakesup: Who would you say are the top three people who have influenced your life?

Dave Andrews: My dad, my mum and my wife. 

Manwakesup: What is your view on the Occupy movement currently sweeping the globe?

Dave Andrews: I think it’s a sign there is profound dissatisfaction with the status quo. The challenge is for us to move on from critiquing what is to creating what it should be – to be the change we want to see.

Manwakesup: How would you respond to critics who might accuse you of being naive in a world of realpolitik?

Dave Andrews: Naivety is belief without doubt. Maturity is belief and doubt held together in creative tension.  Doubt without belief is not scepticism, but cynicism, and cynicism is the cancer of the soul.

Manwakesup: You have talked a lot about open-set church, where people might move towards Christ from different and distant places rather than closed set, where you are either in or out. Where does a personal encounter with Christ which is seen as so central to evangelical Christianity fit in your opinion?

Dave Andrews: I believe we are called to follow Christ because Christ represents the best to which all good points.  I believe people can encounter Christ anywhere, anytime, through his Spirit which is seeking to lead us towards the truth.

Mark Wallinger's Ecce Homo in Trafalger Square, London

Manwakesup: Some Christians can get quite hot under the collar when you start to talk about Christ’s non-violent stance.  Why do you think that is?

Dave Andrews: I think that violence makes us feel powerful. Many of us feel the call to nonviolence is a call to engage the world in weakness, not in strength, which is doomed to fail in the face of violence. If only people would realise the only way to succeed in breaking cycles of violence is by refusing to return evil for evil, and steadfastly, courageously, consistently, meekly returning good for evil.

Manwakesup:  Have you any plans to get your book Christi-anarchy republished? Copies are currently going for £37.00 on Amazon at the moment!

Dave Andrews: The Tafina edition of Christi-Anarchy and Not Religion But Love are in print and available from www.lastfirst.net for $25 plus postage. Wipf and Stock will issue a new edition in the new year.

Manwakesup: When are you next back in the UK?

Dave Andrews: Maybe 2013 for Greenbelt.

Manwakesup: Many thanks, Dave

Dave Andrews: Cheers 

The Military Wives Choir, a Christmas Number One and Cultural Hegemony.

Antonio Gramsci, an Italian writer, politician and political theorist at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, is best known for his ideas about cultural hegemony. For Gramsci, the elites maintain their control in society, and in the world, not just through military power, violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense’ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting. For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a “consented” coercion.

This autumn,what with the ceremonial renaming of ‘Royal’ Wooton Bassett, celebrity ‘pimped’ poppies, and the highest ever poppy sales, and now the Military Wives Choir and its show-business backing for the Christmas Number One slot, I’m beginning to wonder whether war is not so bad after all, and whether Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount “blessed are the peacemakers etc…” was mistaken.

Or maybe Gramsci was right.