David Augsburger understands the disciplines required to live in a faithful way in the midst of a culture than constantly wants to colonize us.. in the midst of the hegemony of Empire… In Dissident Discipleship he asks,

* How can I learn a spirituality that nurtures human wholeness unless I commit myself to do all I can and contribute all I can to building a community where we together are seeking ways to practice imitation of Christ? Or will I have to be content with a spirituality of desirable but finally optional ventures?

* How can I find spiritual co-travelers who are willing to invest time, give attention, risk self-disclosing, and jointly covenant for a life of shared responsible discipleship? Or will I have to go it alone and learn that part of spirituality that is possible for a self that is seeking to transcend itself by itself?

* How can I learn a spirituality of accountability to God the Other unless I have the opportunity to be accountable to significant others? How can I live a spirituality of accountability unless I participate in a community where my acts and their consequences are visible to all who are affected by them? Or will I have to settle for a spirituality that is answerable ultimately only to itself?

* How can I learn a spirituality of humility and equality before God unless I live a community where hierarchy is unnatural, where dominance is not rewarded, and where superiority is neither desirable nor inevitable? Or will I have to claim my place in a spirituality of entitlement if I am privileged, or of disentitlement if I am not?

* How can I learn a spirituality of immediate and reflexive concern for the needs of others that seeks to do something about the unjust distribution of resources unless I contribute to a community where sharing is meaningful because we agree to consume less, waste less, do more with less? Or will I have to follow a spirituality that costs me very little?

* How can I learn a spirituality of dissident discipleship that takes risks in the imitation of Chris unless I join a community that offers support for maintaining a consistent and sensitive conscience? Or will I have to find a rationale for a spirituality that smoothes the contradictions and offers comfort for my unease before the call of Christ?

* How can I learn a spirituality of deep reverence for the preciousness of persons unless I practice such honor of others in a community where we are persons, not roles, to each other? Or is the cost of all of this too high to consider in a world that allows self-realization as its highest good?

4 Comments on dissident discipleship

  1. Aren’t these great questions? I posted these last week too. I read them regularly. Difficult, but important reminders.


  2. Peggy says:

    Thanks for the questions, Len. The resonate totally with me in every instance. I, of course, would like to have the rest of the book to read … but will have to pass for now. I will, however, copy this post for future reference! 8)

  3. len says:


    no way.. synchronicity 🙂

  4. kuestioner says:

    I find these questions really bothersome in their ‘either-or’ logic. Beginning each question with “How can I..” makes me admit to myself that “I can’t” with or without “community” or “accountability” or…

    I will always hope others will truly trust in the name of Christ and the work HE is doing, but I just don’t see any hope in myself doing that work. It can be much harder to trust in HIS work than to get busy building community, demanding accountability and all the other things that the Church has busied itself with for over 2000 years now. But I look at the success that we’ve had till now and I just don’t believe in that route anymore.

    Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
    Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
    John 6:28-29

    That’s the work I’m taking on.