Mark Van Steenwyk
Mark is the Executive Director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination (CPI) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Center for Prophetic Imagination integrates spiritual formation, creative political action, and experimental education to nurture and guide leaders that call people out of empire to embrace God's vision for the world. CPI exists to cultivate prophetic witness.
In 2004, Mark and his wife Amy founded what is now the Wildflower Worker, where they still reside. The Wildflower Worker is an urban intentional community that, inspired by the way of Jesus, commits to practicing solidarity, jubilee, sacred contemplation, and resistance.
Mark is the author of A Wolf at the Gate, The unKingdom of God, and That Holy Anarchist, the editor of the Missio Dei Breviary, and has contributed to several books (such as Viral Hope, Banned Questions about Jesus, Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom, and Widening the Circle). He’s been published in Sojourners, Geez Magazine, JesusRadicals.com, Leadership Magazine, the Mennonite, and Mennonite World Review. His work has been featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribute, the Boston Globe, and on CNN.com.
Mark has an M.Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary and a graduate certificate in Spiritual Direction from the University of St. Catherine. He is a former adjunct instructor at Bethel Seminary, where he taught courses on applied ecclesiology and Christian radicalism.
For the past decade, Mark has traveled around the continent as a teacher, organizer, and spiritual provocateur.
Becoming Human - As new technologies help connect billions around the globe, people feel as disconnected as ever. And as we enter into an era of unprecedented diversity, xenophobia rages. In the midst of growing anxiety, doubt, and fear, how can we be the hospitable church God wants us to be? Drawing from 15 years of hospitality ministry, new social and neurological research in infrahumanization, and ancient teachings of Christian mystics, Mark will help you see the ways in which our society causes dehumanization and how you might begin to resist alienation in a fragmented society. And then, picking up the pieces, Mark will help you develop skills that cultivate inner peace and stronger communities.
Uprooting Empire - Christianity has become interwoven with systems of oppression. Our faith has been weaponized. And instead of proclaiming the Gospel, the Church is more often telling stories that nurture an imperial spirituality. Mark will explore the ways we've internalized those narratives and how we may begin to uproot them, both within ourselves and in society. Together, we will ask, "What toxic narratives do I need to uproot so that I can begin to find liberation for myself and my society?" and "How can we reclaim a liberatory faith that challenges the injustices around us?"
Welcoming the Jubilee - We live in a society that tells us we experience abundance through hard work and poverty through laziness. We are hounded by anxieties and pressures to succeed, to measure up, and to pave our own path. And when things don’t work out like we’d hope, we suspect that it is because there is something wrong with us. As we look out into our broken world, we see people living on the streets, millions in jail, millions more in debt, and a church that seems to preach “blessed are the rich and successful” instead of "blessed are the poor." But what if Jesus was right? What if we can experience “the year of the Lord’s favor”—the Jubilee? Mark will help you dig into ancient practices of the “gift economy” and learn from those communities that developed skills of mutual aid to shed light on Jesus' jubilee vision. Together, Mark can help your community begin to opt out of this treacherous meritocracy and begin to create something new.
The Stories we Live By - The first real step in transforming the world is transforming our way of seeing the world. And the way we see the world is shaped by the stories we believe about ourselves and our world. Unfortunately, we didn't choose most of the "big stories" that guide our lives. Stories about who is most deserving in our society. Stories that justify injustice. Stories that make us feel like failures. Toxic stories. How can we begin to change these stories that we tell ourselves? So that we might become people of a better story ... people of the Gospel?
Also available for preaching