The Church as Counterculture

Edited by Michael L. Budde & Robert W. Brimlow

Subjects: Christianity
Series: SUNY series in Popular Culture and Political Change
Paperback : 9780791446089, 248 pages, June 2000
Hardcover : 9780791446072, 248 pages, June 2000

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Practicing the Politics of Jesus
Rodney Clapp

Always in the Shadow of the Empire
Walter Brueggemann

Salt and Leaven: Resistances to Empire in the Street-Smart Paleochurch
Marianne Sawicki

The Nonviolent Terrorist: In Defense of Christian Fanaticism
Stanley Hauerwas

Solomon's Porch: The Church as Sectarian Ghetto
Robert W. Brimlow

Decisions That Inscribe Life's Patterns
Michael Warren

Legion and the Believing Community: Discipleship in an Imperial Age
Curt Cadorette

"There You Will See Him": Christianity Beyond the Frontier Myth
Roberto S. Goizueta

"Blowing the Dynamite of the Church": Catholic Radicalism from a Catholic Radicalist Perspective
Michael J. Baxter, C.S.C.

Pledging Allegiance: Reflections on Discipleship and the Church After Rwanda
Michael L. Budde



Explores a new Christian identity in which churches reclaim their roles as communities of disciples to constitute a countercultural reality and challenge to secular society and existing power relations.


The question, "What does it mean to be 'the church'?" has always been among the most controversial and of vital concern to political, economic, and ecclesial leaders alike. How it is answered influences whether Christianity will be a force for legitimating or subverting existing secular relations of power, influence, and privilege. The Church as Counterculture enters the debates on Christian identity, purpose, and organization by calling for the churches to reclaim their roles as "communities of disciples"—distinct and distinctive groups formed by the priorities and practices of Jesus—to constitute a countercultural reality and challenge to secular society and existing power relations.

The notion of the church as a countercultural community of disciples confounds many conventional divides within the Christian family (liberal and conservative, church and sect), while forcing redefinition of commonplace categories like religion and politics, sacred and secular. The contributors to this book—theologians, social theorists, philosophers, historians, Catholics and Protestants of various backgrounds—reflect this shifting of categories and divisions. The book provides thought-provoking Christian perspectives on war and genocide, racism and nationalism, the legitimacy of liberalism and capitalism, and more.

Contributors include Michael J. Baxter, Robert W. Brimlow, Walter Brueggemann, Michael L. Budde, Curt Cadorette, Rodney Clapp, Roberto S. Goizueta, Stanley Hauerwas, Marianne Sawicki, and Michael Warren.

Michael L. Budde is Associate Professor of Political Science at DePaul University and the author of The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries and The Two Churches: Catholicism and Capitalism in the World System. Robert W. Brimlow is Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. John Fisher College.


"This book challenges both the mind and the conscience. It tests contemporary theology against the radical values of the Sermon on the Mount. And although it provides more questions than answers, those questions cut to the quick of what it means to be a Christian in today's world—challenging our complacencies, questioning our assumptions, and confronting us with the frightening possibility that we may, in fact, be so mesmerized by the idols of the marketplace, the media, and the state, that we simply no longer know what it means to honor God above all other things or what it means to truly love our neighbors as ourselves." — Robert Inchausti, author of Thomas Merton's American Prophecy