20 May 1951 |
|Literary movement||Emerging church|
David Frank Andrews (born 20 May 1951) is an Australian Christian anarchist author, speaker, social activist, community worker, and a key figure in the Waiters' Union, an inner city Christian community network working with Aboriginals, refugees and people with disabilities in Brisbane, Australia. Andrews is also an educator at large for TEAR Australia, a Christian international aid and development agency; a teacher for Christian Heritage College; and a trainer for the Community Praxis Cooperative. He is the author of twenty non-fiction books including Christi-Anarchy, in which he calls for a total deconstruction and reconstruction of Christianity, community and society. He has been described as a "prophet" by both Mike Riddell and Rowland Croucher. Andrews is married to wife Ange and the father of Evonne and Navi and grandfather of Lila and Kaedin, Jackson and Leonardo.
From England to Australia to India
Born in England, Andrews grew up the son of a Baptist pastor in Queensland, Australia. After spending time in Afghanistan, he went to India with his wife Ange and stayed from 1972 until 1984. In 1973, Dave and Ange and their friends started a residential community called Dilaram and then in 1975 started another intentional community called Aashiana out of which grew Sahara, Sharan and Sahasee–three well-known Christian community organisations working with slum dwellers, sex workers, drug addicts, and people with HIV/AIDS. Present in that country at the time of the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, Andrews helped protect Sikhs from the backlash that ensued through non-violent intervention. David Engwicht claims that Andrews and a friend "put themselves between an armed mob and a Sikh family and saved them from certain death." Andrews and his wife were forced to leave that year.
Excommunication, Reflection, Action
Andrews was excommunicated from Youth with a Mission by their International Council. The reasoning, according to Andrews, was that "I was a rebel and, as an unrepentant rebel, would be summarily excommunicated," and that "it 'was what the Lord told' them to do." Andrews described the aftermath as devastating: "I became suicidal because all the significant people I turned to denounced me, no one else would speak to me, and the people who had promised to protect me ended up having psychological breakdowns. One guy was taken away to an asylum." Andrews has stated that he and his wife committed themselves to a creative, constructive course of reflection and action and experienced "a profound level of healing" over the next five to ten years. Andrews also developed his distinctive approach to Christianity which he called "Christi-Anarchy", which critiqued top-down hierarchical structures and advocated bottom-up self-managed other-orientated Christ-like community development processes.
The West End Waiters' Union
Dave and Ange returned to Australia with their daughters Evonne and Navi, they were employed by Queensland Baptist Care. Dave and Ange and their friends founded The Waiters' Union as a network of spiritually minded activists who work with marginalised and disadvantaged people in West End. The Waiters' Union is a network of residents living in the locality working towards community with all people, particularly trying to include those who tend to be excluded. The Waiters' Union are involved in multiple formal and non-formal activities, including a Community Meal they have hosted every fortnight for the last twenty-five years, to which local people are invited. Many of these activities are listed in the Waiters' Union website at www.waitersunion.org. These activities try to encourage a culture of radical compassion, reciprocal support and mutual accountability.
Empathic Interfaith Engagement
After 9/11 exploded Andrews became alarmed at the way Christians were demonising Muslims in the lead up to invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. So he went to the local mosque and said ‘Christians, Muslims and Jews all believe Abraham is the father of our faith, and we all believe our God is the God of Abraham. So rather than let the press play us off against each other, why don’t we show our unity by coming together for prayer. And to start that process, why don’t I come and pray with you at the mosque on Friday?’ Sure, they said. So he did.
About that time Andrews met Nora Amath, the Chair of AMARAH (Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity), and they talked about what they could do to re-build the bridges between our communities that the extremists were blowing up. They started by deciding to simply fast and pray together during Ramadan and invite Christians and Muslims to break the fast by eating a meal together to talk to each other about what prayer and fasting meant to them. This was the beginning of a series of empathic interfaith engagements they organized on the basis of four common sacred beliefs: 1. That there is only One God - The God of Abraham; 2. That Our God is a God of Mercy and Grace; 3. That God is bigger than our religions and can speak to us through one another’s traditions; 4. And last but least, that all truth is God’s truth, regardless of who speaks it, and we need to hear it.
Over the last few years Andrews fasted and prayed during Ramadan with his Muslim friends and, based on those conversations, he has written two collections of Christian-Muslim interfaith reflections. One is on the Bismillah- ‘Bismillahi r Rahman r Rahim’ - the invocation at the beginning of each sura in the Qur'an, which encourages us to work ‘In the name of God the most merciful, most gracious and most compassionate". The other is on Isa (or Jesus) whom Andrews and Amath believe embodies the Spirit of the Bismillah, and whose Be-Attitudes in the Beatitudes provide the framework for all their work.
In order to address the violence against Muslims in Brisbane, following the backlash against the rise of the so-called Islamic State, on Friday 26 September 2014. Andrews and Amath organised a very significant meeting of local Christian leaders who publicly affirmed their solidarity with the local Muslim communities at the Kuraby Mosque.
They asked all people to:
- Act in an exemplary manner, being strong but gentle.
- Adopt a dignified, friendly, courteous approach towards all.
- Respect people regardless of their faith. Don’t tell other people what you think they believe, let them tell you. Please listen.
- Respect other’s views, even if we disagree with their views. Acknowledge both similarities and differences between our faiths.
- Not treat an individual as a spokesperson for their whole religion, nor judge people by what other people of their faith may do.
- Speak positively of our own faith, not negatively of other’s.
- Encourage positive relationships between our faith communities.
- Encourage constructive relationships with the wider community.
- Use their wisdom, knowledge, skills and resources to serve others.
- Discuss any problems face to face so we can solve them peacefully.
The Jihad Of Jesus
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As a result of Andrews' interfaith conversation and community work with Muslim friends, Andrews started writing a book on jihad, a word that is used routinely in the headlines. He consulted with muslim friends who came up with the title, aimed at Christians and Muslims, The Jihad of Jesus. The provocative title was chosen to create widespread interest. It was hoped that Christians and Muslims could be introduced to a reconstruction of the concept of jihad. The book set out to present the radical practical nonviolence of Jesus as a model for a nonviolent jihad.
In the book he argues that "we are caught up in a cycle of so-called ‘holy wars’, but though this inter-communal conflict is endemic, it is not inevitable."  Depending on our understanding, our "religions can be either a source of escalating conflict, or a resource for overcoming inter-communal conflict; and for our religions to be a resource for overcoming conflict, we need to understand the heart of all true religion as open-hearted compassionate spirituality."  He goes further to say that "in the light of an open-hearted compassionate spirituality, we can reclaim the word ‘jihad’ from extremists who have (mis)appropriated it as call to ‘holy war’, and reframe it, in truly Qur'anic terms, as a ‘sacred nonviolent struggle for justice’; and we can reconsider Jesus, as he is in the Gospels, not as a poster boy for Christians fighting crusades against Muslims, but as ‘a strong-but-gentle Messianic figure’ who can bring Christians and Muslims together."  As examples, the book explains how important Christian and Muslim leaders have found "in Isa (Jesus), and the Bismillah (an invocation of God's Grace) he embodied, the common ground upon which they can stand and work for the common good."  The Jihad Of Jesus draws on some of the ideas that Andrews used in Christi-Anarchy. The author and the interfaith community he has been a part of hope that "The Jihad of Jesus (can be) a handbook for reconciliation and action: a do-it-yourself guide for all Christians and Muslims who want to move beyond the ‘clash of civilizations’, and join the jihad of Jesus and struggle for justice and peace nonviolently side by side."
- Can You Hear the Heartbeat?: A Challenge to Care the Way Jesus Cared with David Engwicht. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989. ISBN 0340510633
- Building a Better World: Developing Communities of Hope in Troubled Times. Sutherland: Albatross Books, 1996. ISBN 0824517261
- Christi-Anarchy: Discovering a Radical Spirituality of Compassion. Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1999. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 1610978528
- Not Religion, But Love: Practising a Radical Spirituality of Compassion. Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2001. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 161097851X
- Compassionate Community Work: An Introductory Course for Christians. Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2006. ISBN 1903689368
- Plan Be: Be the Change You Want to See in the World. Milton Keynes: Authentic Media, 2008. ISBN 1850787786
- People of Compassion. Melbourne: TEAR, 2008. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 1610978552
- Hey, Be and See: We Can be the Change We Want to See in the World. Milton Keynes: Authentic Media, 2009. ISBN 1850788480
- See What I Mean?: See the Change We Can be in the World. Milton Keynes: Authentic Media, 2009. ISBN 1850788472
- A Divine Society: The Trinity, Community and Society. Brisbane: Frank, 2009. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 1610978560
- Learnings: Lessons We Are Learning about Living Together. Brisbane: Frank, 2010. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 1610978536
- Bearings: Getting Our Bearings Again in the Light of the Gospel. Brisbane: Frank, 2010. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2012. ISBN 1610978544
- "Bismillah - Christian-Muslim Ramadan Reflections" Melbourne: Mosaic, 2011 ISBN 978-1743240915
- Down Under: In-Depth Community Work Melbourne: Mosaic, 2012 ISBN 9781743241226
- Out And Out: Way-Out Community Work Melbourne: Mosaic, 2012 ISBN 9781743241356
- "Isa- Christian-Muslim Ramadan Reflections" Melbourne: Mosaic, 2013 ISBN 9781743241165
- "The Jihad Of Jesus - The Sacred Nonviolent Struggle For Justice" Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4982-1774-3
- "Christi-anarchy: A truly offensive book" by Mark Young, the Social Responsibility Advocate for the Uniting Church (Queensland Synod)
 "Christians And Muslims Should Embrace The Jihad of Jesus" by Craig Considine, The Huffington Post:
- "The Spirit of Things". Retrieved 25 December 2007.
Summary: The Waiters' Union was founded as a non-formal network of spiritually minded activists who work with marginalised and disadvantaged people in the inner city suburb of West End in Brisbane.Cite error: Invalid
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- "Not Religion But Love", "A Divine Society", "Hey, Be And See", "Plan Be", "See What I Mean", "Compassionate Community Work", "People Of Compassion", "Building A Better World", "Living Community", "Learnings", "Bearings", "Down Under" and "Out And Out" . Mitchell, Paul (December 1999). "Christi-Anarchy". Shoot the Messenger. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
- "NCYC 2007 (Agents of Change/Perth/2007)". Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- "Dave Andrews". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Lion Hudson: Christi-Anarchy – Dave Andrews". Retrieved 1 January 2008.
Graduated from Queensland, Australia, and went to India in 1972 with his wife Angie to set up a home for junkies, drop-outs and other disturbed people in Delhi. They subsequently founded a community for Indians, which they developed and ran until they were forced to leave India in 1984.
- "Author of Faith-based Community Work". National Church Life Survey Research. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
Dave Andrews was brought up in the Baptist Church. His father, Rev. Frank Andrews, was a Queensland Baptist pastor, who, with his mother, Margaret Andrews, was involved in ministries in churches up and down the Queensland coast, from Cairns in the north to Southport in the south.
- "Praxis Volume two" (pdf). Retrieved 25 December 2007.
- Dave Andrews; David Engwicht (1989). Can You Hear The Heartbeat?. Manila: OMF Literature.
There is one thing you need to know about Dave Andrews. He is dangerous. For example, after Indira Gandhi was shot, two or three thousand people were killed in twenty-four hours in the riots that followed. Mobs rampaged through streets looking for Sikhs to murder. Dave convinced Tony, a friend , that it was their job to go out and save these Sikhs. Finding a besieged house, they put themselves between an armed mob and a Sikh family and saved them from certain death. That's why Dave Andrews is dangerous. He is ordinary, yet believes ordinary people should take extraordinary risks to confront the cruelty in our world.
- Brian Thomas (June 2002). "Stirrer For Christ". sPanz Magazine (Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa). Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
I would argue that contemporary Christianity is probably the anti-Christ – totally contrary to what Christ was on about.
- "RealChange". Retrieved 26 December 2007.