“Fuck you ‘Cause We’re Enough:” Towards a Radical Punk Theology of Liberation


I wrote this paper for a course that I was taking during my second year of my Masters of Divinity and during the first full semester of the Covid-19 Pandemic. When I started my Mdiv, I was still piecing together my Christian identity after leaving a particular form of evangelicalism. During this “deconstruction” as some have called it, I had found among my punk friends and the punk music I enjoyed, those haunting elements of the Christian faith that called me to leave my church tradition. To be clear, most punk music is seldom “Christian,” whatever that means, but what Punks and Christ hold in common is deep concern for the abundance of life. Often punks, like Christ, recognize that there are systems and structures that close us off from the deep wells of life available to us. I wrote a lot about punks during this time, but this paper was my attempt to finish my point while also honoring and highlighting the spiritual depth of the music that guided me through those years.

The title of this paper is a lyric from one of those punk musicians, Pat the Bunny, and this paper is specifically dedicated to his discography and longing for liberation therein. The subtitle “Toward a Radical Punk Theology of Liberation,” explains the various conceptual threads that I was attempting to bring together. Ultimately, while it was incredibly fun to write, I think this paper failed to fully articulate a Radical Punk Theology of Liberation. I think, however, it remains an opening towards such a theology, so for me it was a success. If you actually care to read this and finish it you may realize that failure is part of the process, so let’s chalk it up to grace. Some of the issues I would go back and fix (but I’m not going to) is I would spend more time on the Liberation theologians, specifically the “villainous theology” of Marcella Althaus-Reid, and I would spend more time unpacking or clarifying the philosophers Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek or cut a lot it out. Some of the philosophy here feels bit imprecise, so maybe that is where some of my insecurity about this paper comes from.

A final guiding thought: this paper is an academic paper, and so in its original format, the footnotes provided helpful context, quotes, or clarification. In this format all the footnotes will appear at the bottom of each section which is very inconvenient, but I hope it is not too much of a hassle. You do not need to read the footnotes, but they might be helpful.

If you care for an introduction to Pat here is a video captioned: “Pat the Bunny and friends singing the gospel at the church of Folk-Punk.”


Regardless of which Patrick Schneeweis’s (Pat) band or album is played, the listener will often hear him imagining avenues of liberation while lamenting the personal and communal anguish that plagues the punk community.[1] In “My Idea of Fun,” for instance, a drug-addicted Pat reflects on the drugs, mental illness, and food insecurity that is destroying him and his community. According to Pat, instead of alleviating the community’s despair, society perpetuates it by labeling them “criminals,” and subsequently arresting them for trying to kill their selves through drug use. In other words, the personal and communal issues that Pat recognizes are deeply interconnected to social structures, but Pat imagines a solution. His song continues, “We’re building a new world all of my friends and me / It’s not an exact science but we have the technology.”[2] Whatever this “technology” is, the rest of the song suggests that it is generated and wielded by communities of faithful friends.[3] This essay analyzes the liberative elements of Pat’s friendship “technology” by putting the punk ethos and radical Christian theology in dialogue with each other.[4] This essay argues for a self-critical punk liberation theology that uses the power generated by friendship to critique hegemonic structures and punk’s own structures, creating the possibility for such a theology to move beyond punk.

            [1] Patrick Schneewise’s music projects include Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains, Wingnut Dishwashers Union, Ramshackle Glory, and Pat the Bunny. Pat the Bunny was Schneewise’s solo project and moniker within the folk-punk and punk community. Due to this moniker’s importance in folk punk community, this essay will refer to Schneewise throughout simply as “Pat.”

            [2] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!, Spare Change Records, 2009, Digital. Emphasis my own.

            [3] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun.” The song and album conclude with Pat imagining a liberated community that faithfully cares for its members so that they don’t need to call the cops because “our friends they are enough” and later “please help me be enough.” What is evident from these lyrics is that the “technology” depends on a friendship that sustains the community’s life and empowers the community to be faithful to each other.

            [4] Punk is not monolithic, and the punk ethos resits defintions. Any point made about punk should not be taken as relating to all punks. Furthermore, it should be noted that punk can be oppressive (e.g. white supremacists). The primary form of punk that I am dealing with is folk punk which is not monolithic either. My foucs on the folk punk produced by Pat is an attempt narrow the scope even more. 

The Ideology and Characteristics of Punk 

Punk is a heterogeneous and difficult to define subculture, but a concern for the liberated individual pervades the movement.[1] Punk’s concern for individualism directly responds to hegemonic power structures that suppress individualism by implicitly or explicitly pressuring people to conform to their systems.[2] Capitalism is one of the primary power structure that punks engage, but punks may be reacting to any hegemony, be it culture, religion, or even punk itself.[3] These structures hinder individuals’ potentials and exploit them, ultimately alienating people from their selves and others. Punks hold these structures in contempt, often refusing to conform to them while anticipating their deviance paving a way to individual liberation.[4] Peter Dale sums this up when he writes regarding punks and capitalism, “[the punk] possibility, in short, is that there can be something other than a capitalist subject, that there can be an individual not subjectified by capital but, rather, empowered to present itself to others as an individual.”[5]

            The punk possibility of individualism is at once present and future – already and not yet. In the present, a punk’s deviant response correlates to them presenting themselves as an individual in contrast to the uniformity that a system demands. However, hegemonies constantly shift and simultaneously shape individuals’ cultures and communities through force and consent.[6] As a result, a punk perpetually assaults a hegemony by positing their individuality, while the hegemony implicitly or explicitly tries to draw them into its structures. In other words, while punks recognize their individuality as subversive, they are always anticipating a future liberation where the individual is totally free. Pat sums up this subversive individuality by proclaiming: “We aren’t revolutionaries, but we are the revolution!”[7] However, a few lines later, he admits that “the world isn’t that simply,” as the movement stands, they cannot always “tell [their] comrades apart from the man.”[8]  The lyric “we are the revolution” illustrates how punks imagine their very identity as liberative– as a revolutionary break from the system. The very expression of their individuality exposes the failure of the system. On the other hand, the lyric about not being able to tell  “our comrades apart from the man” illustrates how pervasive hegemonies are. “The man” is also part of the revolution – a part of punk itself. Regardless of this shifting ambiguity of hegemonies, punks commit to expressing this deviant individuality, giving rise to three common punk ideals.

            According to Jesse Prinz, these three ideals are irreverence, amateurism, and nihilism, each of which seems to derive from punk’s deviant individuality.[9] Pat captures punk irreverence in his lyric, “urine speaks louder than words on a politician or on a prison warden.”[10]  Irreverence functions to challenge the social norms of what is culturally acceptable.[11] This irreverence builds upon the contempt punks have toward power structures in that it moves beyond nonconformity toward antagonizing or mocking the hegemony. While irreverence is a response to present and past power structures, it folds into the next ideal, amateurism which is future-oriented. 

            Prinz notes that punks are often incredible musicians, but they often employ dissonant sounds or amateur recording methods as a critical response to pop music’s perfected production methods.[12] Pat’s response to perfection in music or life is, “I take the beauty of chaos over ugly perfection.”[13] For many punks, amateurism and chaos can be empowering to the individual. Performing punk in this way can lead listeners to question what culture and the music industry has defined as “good.”[14] Hearing this music style exposes the listener to alternative definitions of good, and empowers them to decide what is good for themselves to the music industry’s chagrin.[15] The empowerment of amateurism is not simply conveyed through passive listening, but it is active through the do-it-yourself ethic (DIY ethic). By encouraging people to try new things or create things with the community rather than purchasing something from professionals, the DIY ethic empowers people to express and explore their individuality.[16] However, while individuality is vital, DIY ethics anticipates that both the creator and the community is transformed through this process.[17] If irreverence is a present response to suppression, then punk amateurism and DIY ethics reorients punks toward the future, toward a constant becoming for the sake of liberation.[18]

            Punk’s reorientation toward future possibilities, however, is imbued with Punk’s third ideal, nihilism. Pat illustrates this nihilism in the lyric, “We gather what we can of shattered selves and face each other. I’ll let the darkness speak for me when my bones don’t listen / ‘Til I return to the communism of the worms / Without God or master there / Six feet underneath the earth.”[19]   Punk nihilism relates to how pervasive oppressive structures as well as the authenticity that punks hope to express.[20] Many punks genuinely feel or have felt a sense of hopelessness or meaninglessness due to the way that hegemonic systems operate. Many Punks are aware of that they are implicated (e.g. through drug use) in the very structures they oppose and that punk itself has been coopted into these systems.[21] In other words, while punks may dream of a future utopia, they are aware that it is likely impossible, and if it did arrive, they would probably find a problem with it.[22]

            When Nihilism is considered along with punk’s other concerns, the possibility opens for punk to turn in on itself in a self-critical manner tinged with humility. Pat, for instance, refers to both himself and his community when he sings, “I’m too hopeless to look for a solution, I’m afraid that if I found one / I’d be out of excuses for the way / I waste away in the gutters that I choose.”[23]  This self-critical turn is not meant to simply criticize Pat’s fellow punks but to empower them while recognizing their project’s hopelessness. In other words, while the punk (im)possibility is the liberated individual, many punks recognize that they can only move in that direction by producing empowering friendships, and they anticipate their music and methods constructing these relationships.[24] Despite their nihilism, a commitment to friendship can empower punks to take liberative action on behalf of their friends, and friendship becomes an opening to radical Christian theology. As Pat says,  “I can’t tell if I’m nihilist, or religious or if there’s even a difference […] every friend locked up or raided it’s reason enough to go all in […] to burn all the world down for the sake of the ash.[25]

            While Pat was ambiguous about his friends’ liberating technology, I am suggesting that the contour of this technology is the deviant individualism that expresses itself through the above ideals with the hope to produce liberated individuals.  These elements function together to cut through the hypnotizing “common sense” of culture to establish the individualized “good sense” of punk, and thus many punk’s can be considered organic intellectuals.[26] This individualizing technological know-how emerges from punk’s organic intellectuals but functions to create new organic intellectuals that may adapt this technology in novel ways as they respond to hegemonic ideologies. As James Cone notes, in hegemonic logic, conformity relates to “being” while nonconformity relates to “nonbeing;” thus, many punk’s perpetually feel alienated from their culture, their community, and their selves.[27] Due to how these structures legitimate themselves, an authentic punk theology must be a villainous theology.[28] A villainous theology transgresses the hegemony in order to simply reclaim the possibilities of being that are obfuscated by system’s alienation.[29] Punk technology is the tool of punk theology, but this technology cannot overcome alienation in solitude – it’s power is in friendship.

            [1] Kristiansen, Lars J., Blaney, Joseph R., Chidester, Philip J., and Simonds, Brent K.. 2010. Screaming for ChangeArticulating a Unifying Philosophy of Punk Rock. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ProQuest Ebook Central. 126. 

            [2] Blaney, Chidester, and Simonds,. Screaming for Change: 126-127.

            [3] Peter Robin William. Dale, Anyone Can Do It: Traditions of Punk and the Politics of Empowerment (Newcastle upon Tyne: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011) 223. 

            [4] Blaney, Chidester, and Simonds,. Screaming for Change: 126-127; Benjamine, D. Hass, Performing Folk Punk: Agonistic Performances of intersectionality  LSU Doctoral Dissertations. https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_dissertations/798/, 3.

            [5] Dale, Anyone Can Do It. 223. It should be noted that this “possibility” is not as hopeful as it sounds. Rather this possibility is permeated with nihilism which is one of the three characterizes of punk taken up in a couple paragraphs. 

            [6] Blaney, Chidester, and Simonds,. Screaming for Change: 49.

            [7] Johnny Hobo and theFreight Trains and Mantits, “ New Mexico,” #1 on Love Songs for the Apocalypse, DIY Bandits/ Spare Change Records, 2006, Digital.

            [8] Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains and Mantits, “ New Mexico.” 

            [9] Jesse Prinz. “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock.” (Philosophy Compass 9.9, 2014: 583-93. Web.) 584-587. It is my suggestion that these three ideals relate back to deviant individualism. 

            [10] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “Urine Speaks Louder Than Words,”, #5 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!, Spare Change Records, 2009, Digital.

            [11] Prinz. “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock. 584-585. 

            [12] Prinz. “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock. 5856. 

            [13] Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains and Mantits, “ Church Hymn for the Condmned,” #2 on Love Songs for the Apocalypse, DIY Bandits/ Spare Change Records, 2006, Digital. 

            [14] Hass, Performing Folk Punk, 18-21.

            [15] “Pat Schneeweis Interview: Pat the Bunny,” 2014, https://www.afistfulofvinyl.com/pat-the-bunny/pat-schneeweis-interview/. This concept of confroning someone with the possibility of the new goes beyond music. In an interview, Pat explains that he doesn’t have the answers. He just wants people to ask questions, and he hopes to achieve this simply by showing people new things. 

            [16] Griffin, Naomi. “Understanding Diy Punk as Activism: Realising Diy Ethics through Cultural Production, Community and Everyday Negotiations.” Order No. 28197106, University of Northumbria at Newcastle (United Kingdom), 2015.

            [17] Griffin, “Understanding Diy Punk as Activism.” 25

            [18] Hass, Performing Folk Punk 3. 

            [19]  Ceshi / Pat the Bunny, “Anarchy of Dirt” #8 on Split 2016. In other words, Pat is questioning if liberation is even possible in life. Instead, he is suggesting that liberation will ultimately come in death where there is no masters to oppress them. 

`           [20] By “authenticity” I am referring to Punks commitment to be an authentic individual. If a Punk feels hopeless, for whatever reason it would neither be punk nor authentic to hide it. 

            [21]  Pat often sings about how punk is not true to its own ideals. However, a lyric by Andrew Jackson Jihad captures how drug use betrays their ideals in the lyric: “The Drugs you do are made by people who think in dollar signs/ And that’s not very punk of you, maybe you should change your mind / Reconsider the whole deal.”  See: Andrew Jackson Jihad  “Power Plant,” #15 on Only God Can Judge Me More, 2008, Digital.

            [22] Pat the Bunny, “We don’t get tired, we get even,” #8, Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything, 2014. Here Pat sings, “I’ll still be on my own/ In the community we’re building / […] Any society is a prison to me.”

            [23] Ramschackle Glory, “From Here to Utopia (Song for the Desperate,” #5 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital. This song was written and performed after Pat had become sober. Pats mention of drug use is not purely about himself, its about his community. The entirety of the song is a critique of punk culture.

            [24] Griffin, “Understanding Diy Punk as Activism,” 126, 165. 

            [25] Pat the Bunny, “ For the Sake of the Ashs (the Darkness),” #5 on The Volatile Utopian Real Estate Market, 2014, Savage Wasteland Music Collective. 

            [26] Antonio Gramsci and Quintin Hoare, Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (New York, NY: International Publ., 1973). 10;  Blaney, Chidester, and Simonds,. Screaming for Change 126. By “common sense” and “good sense” I am referring to Grimcies uses of those words as it relates to hegemonies and organic intellectuals.

            [27] James H. Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2020). 12-13. I make this reference to Cone with the full recognition that the “nonbeing” that Cone says African-American’s are relegated to is much more pervasive than punks because it is based on skin color and race. However, I believe it is fair to say that punks also feel as though they are relegated to a place of nonbeing. 

            [28] Marcella Althaus-Reid, The Queer God (London: Routledge, 2003).23-24.

            [29] Marcella Althaus-Reid, The Queer God (London: Routledge, 2003).23-24.

A Punk Theology of Liberation

For many theologians and philosophers, elements of “Being” parallels elements of “God,” particularly God’s immanent yet ineffable nature.[1] In so far as the philosopher Alain Badiou is an avowed atheist seemingly concerned for authentic individualism, his turn to theology provides a great opening to a punk theology of liberation.[2]

            “Authentic” here, as I am applying it to Badiou and using it through this paper, is not an appeal to some stable essential core within the individual. Instead, authenticity is faith placed in a subjective revelation that exposes one to the destabilizing depths of Being. In other words, faith in, “that uncountable infinity constituded by a singular human life.”[3] For Badiou, such revelations erupt during truth events, and he recognizies Saint Paul’s experience on the road to Demascus as an example of such an event.  

            For Badiou in constrast to the ineffiblity of Being, Capitalism survives off its ability to account for all things, and thus, it seeks to account for these unaccountable events. Capitalism fashions identities and related products that it advertises to its subjects as if such identities correlate to their events.[4] The uncertainty produced by the fragmented revelation of the event and the ineffability of Being tempts the subject to invest their selves in these identities and products.[5] Buying into this logic suppresses the infinite depth of Being within subjects as they are now encouraged to locate their selves in the finite-yet-indefinite identities, products, and capital, which the Captialist system manufactures.[6]  This Capitalist attempt to account for the unaccountable functions as a sort of de-creation of the subject while simultaneously creating a world of alienation.[7] A product or idenity never lives up to a person’s subjective event, but Capitalism continues to offer them more.   Badiou advocates for fidelity to the event despite capitalism temptations.[8]According to Badiou, Paul’s faith in the cross event is a universalizing of all events, which correlates to the depth of Being in each person. Through faith in a universal event, Badiou sees an opening to a community that is faithful to all events.  

            Pat puts a radical punk spin on Badiou by proclaiming, “I don’t believe in cops, bosses, or politicians / Some call that anarchism.  I call it / Having a fucking heart that beats!”[9] Badiou’s event parallels punk’s commitment to deviant individualism, but he problematizes it in one vital way. According to Badiou, outside the event, the depth of Being is unknowable even to the individual, and Being expresses itself differently in each event. This perpetual gap between Being and subject explains the nihilism that many punks express; however, Slavoj Žižek takes this nihilism to a deeper level.

            For Žižek, Christianity’s commitment to Jesus’ divinity in light of his suffering and death reveals that the lack/gap extends beyond subjects and systems to God/Being itself.[10] The revelation of this gap may seem worrisome, but it can be the opening to a liberating unity. In Žižek’s words, “our radical experience of separation from God is the very feature which unites us with Him.”[11] What brings unity, according to Žižek, is the differences of being and the struggle with difference. This commitment to difference parallels Pat’s rejection of the forces that homogenize his community. Žižek calls this “‘struggling universisality,’ a universality the actual existence of which is a radical division which cuts through the entire particular content.”[12] The revelation of this universiality is the “longed for liberation” of the fall, “the emergence of freedom.”[13] In other words, there is no future divine revelation to look forward to; the revelation is that there is no singular pure revelation. God is in the community via the Holy Spirit.[14]

            Pat captures Žižek’s “struggling universiality” with the lyric “woke up thinking: God is real, but against us / pray for what you don’t want / Reverse theology.”[15] Throughout the rest of this song, Pat unpacks how he (and other punks) struggles to be faithful to the community, but he hopes that one day the community will be able to tell itself “that we are beautiful.”[16] This oscillation between doubt and faith, which Pat is struggling with, parallels that of the Christian community. As Žižek notes, the apostle Paul is not clear what saves the Christian community “faith in Christ” or the “faith of Christ,” but Žižek suggests interpreting this in both ways. [17] In this sense, “faith of Christ” would correlate to deviant individualism; Jesus being Christ despite the hegemony. In other words, Jesus was faithful even unto death.  However, while noting this faithfullness  Žižiek also reads Jesus’ cry of dereliction on the Cross (“why hast thou forsaken me”)  as an expression of Jesus’ own doubt and disbelief.  Žizek, thus, argues that “faith in Christ” is participating (e.g., belief, faith) in Christ’s doubt and disbelief.[18] If one takes Žižek’s faithful participation in doubt and applies it to Tillich’s “individualization/participation,” what is revealed is revolutionary. 

            Tillich’s individualization/participation means that individuals are affected by the communities/cultures, and the communities/cultures are affected by the individuals they receive.[19]  In other words, neither communities nor individuals will reach their full potential (individualization) until there is relational harmony. Tillich applies this to Jesus as Christ when he argues that Jesus became Christ only because he was received as Christ by the Church.[20] The same Church, mind you, that he called his “friends,” just before they abandoned him to the authorities.[21] If Žižek’s concept is adpapted into Tillich’s, what is revealed is that Jesus is individualized a Christ not because of perfect harmony but faithful disharmony.[22] Following Tillich, the faith that Jesus’ friends placed in him despite his utter abandonment by community, culture, and God exposed them to a individualizing power.  However, the crucifixion, following Žižek, reveals that doubt and uncertainty are inherent to life, and it exposes how the powers-that-be perpetuate this divine gap by setting themselves up as gods. These “demonic”  structures (as Tillich would call them) will inevitably fail to clarify its subjects’ ambiguous depths, but between faithful friends, ambiguity is the potential of Being, the resurrection of the Christ.[23] Thus the Church, born out of the nihilistic death of their friend, took up the irreverent dogma “the one you crucified was Lord and Messiah,” and they set out to create an amateur community in his Spirit (The Spirit of Friendship).[24]

            Pat illustrates his commitment to faithful friendship when he sings, “If your God is a judger or jailer / I’m still an atheist /  But I try to have faith in the things that will happen; / I get saved from myself when I do / So maybe “God” isn’t the right word  but I believe in you.”[25] The type of friendship  articulated in Pat’s lyric and in the paragraph above relates to “knowing oneself in God,” through the relational “co-sharing of the sensation of being.”[26]  Through this sharing, faithful friends are exposed to the  infinite depths of each other.[27] Through this exposure, while one may doubt themselves and may feel alienated from culture, the faithful friend consents to the other’s being.[28] In other words, faithful friendship permits them both to be who they are while authentically experimenting with becoming, with the assurance that the friend will remain. To be sure, such friendship is disruptive and conflicts will abound, but authentic friendship anticipates these conflicts with grace. Should one fail the other, it is simply a humble reminder of the unifying gap that constitutes each person. Friends find themselves together in the solitude of this gap. As they let out a collective sigh of hopelessness, it becomes the next breath of their conspiracy (Spirit-together) as they begin singing along with Pat, “Your heart is a muscle the size your fist / Keep on loving, keep on fighting/ And hold on, and hold on / Hold on for your life.[29]

            While faithful friendship makes punk technology liberating, authentic friendship does not require punk. Therefore, once punk becomes a power structure or cultural hegemony, it may be necessary for friends to turn this technology on punk itself in a truly punk move. Pat proclaims this self-critical message of hope in the lyric: “give me a scene where I believe in more than bad haircuts, guilt, and misery / […]  I won’t shit myself, the way I’m living is a temper tantrum and I/  Need something else, need something else, need something else to stay alive.”[30] To truly be  punk (I.e an authentic individual, one who is faithful to a truth event ) may necessitate critiquing punk, adapting punk, or walking away from punk altogether. To understand punk, is to recognize that one does not need punk anymore than a punk needs a music label. One can recognize this while affirming that punk’s liberating power is in the friendships and friendship network that it generates, but one can do so while recognizing that this friendship is generated in many ways that are not necessarily punk. In this way, a punk theology of liberation empties itself into a theology of friendship. To empty punk theology into friendship is not to criticize punk, but to be faithful to punk.  It recognizes punk as a critical ethos that often fails to live up to its ideal – to liberate the individual. 

           In 2016 Pat released a letter announcing his retirement from punk music.[31] According to Pat, he can’t make this music anymore because he no longer feels like a punk or anarchist and doesn’t want to deceive people. Pat references a few friends in the scene and thanks them for standing by him during his worst days, even after he stole from them. He tells the community where they can find his music for free except for the album he intentionally won’t put online 
“because the internet runs our lives.”[32] What’s next for Pat? He wants to learn the trumpet.  Pat, along with punk, frequently idealizes change, and at some point, Pat was no longer punk. In a genuinely punk fashion, Pat simply moved on but celebrated his friends along the way. 

           To take up a punk theology of liberation is to embrace the ever-emerging ambiguities of Being through the Spirit of Friendship; furthermore, in this Spirit, it is to defiantly resist any demonic power structure that would attempt to claim ultimacy over one’s life, even if that structure is punk itself. As “My Idea of Fun” comes to a close, Pat gathers his breath to conspire with his community in a closing refrain.[33] “Fuck the boss cause we’re enough.”[34] Punk liberation theology lends itself to egalitarian communities that organize their friendships across communities, cities, and counties into friendship networks that generate alternative forms of production. “Fuck owning stocks ‘cause we’re enough.”[35]This production is not for profit, but for the liberation of the individual who may not have recognized their self under the thumb of capital. “Fuck moving to Brooklyn cause we’re enough.” These techniques and technologies are not for personal advancement, but first and foremost for the community, particularly the poor and hurting. “Fuck the Clash ‘cause we’re enough.”[36] If punk is to get in the way of the liberative project, it will also be disregarded with irreverence; punk theology’s commitment is not to punk but to people. Finally, “Live as you make it up ‘cause we’re enough.”[37] In a community of faithful friends, punk theology encourages experimentation and novelty, the products of which serve the community and the experience of which transforms and liberates the individual.

            [1] There are many theorist of Being, but I am here thinking of Paul Tillich, who I draw in later. It should be noted, many thinkers of Being nuance the concept in particular way, but it is outside the scope of this essay to parse out all of these differences. Further more, there are many theologians and philosophers who have troubled the reduction of God to Being and vice versa. With recognition of such problem, this paper does not seek to make any essential claims about God or Being. Instead this paper irreverently plays in the spaces where these concepts touch. See: Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1951), 238-239.

            [2] Alain Badiou and Ray Brassier, Saint Paul: the Foundation of Universalism (Stanford, , CA: Stanford University Press, 2009), 1-10

[3] Badiou Saint Paul,  10. Emphasis my own.

            [4] Badiou Saint Paul, 6-12. Badiou explains that through doing this, Capitalism sets itself up as a universal. However, Capitalism is not a true universal because it must abstract to an identity. It is, thus, and abstract universal as opposed to the concrete universal of the event. 

            [5] Badiou Saint Paul,  4-14.

            [6] Badiou,  Saint Paul,  Mark Cauchi, “ Creation and the Critique of Capitalism in Marx Nancy and Žižek.” Political Theology 12 (4)  doi:10.1558/poth.v12.i4. 531-552. 545-550. In this article Cauchi notes that Capitalism laborer/owner divide lends itself both to a finitizing of labor and indefinitizing in that vein of Hegel’s bad infinity. Capitalism is always creating finite identities, products, etc.  that the subject will move beyond because it does not correlate to Being, but Capitalism will perpetually (bad infinity) create new identities, products, etc. This process generates capital which keeps the system alive. 

            [7] Cauchi, “Creation and the Critique of Capitalism,” 545-550.

            [8] Badiou, Saint Paul,  14.

            [9] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “Fuck Shit Up (Whanana),” #3 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!, Spare Change Records, 2009, Digital; “Pat Schneeweis Interview: Pat the Bunny,” 2014. It may seem like a stretch to claim that this lyric parallels Badiou rejection of identities, however, in an interview Pat conversates with the other folk-punk hosts about the oppressive nature of identities, (even anarchism). This interview illustrates that these concerns are on Punk consciousness. 

            [10] Slavoj Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf: the Perverse Core of Christianity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003) 78, 127  For Žižek this is revealed on the cross from Jesus’ cry of dereliction.

            [11] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 91. 

            [12] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 109.

            [13] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 86.

            [14] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 101.

            [15] Pat the Bunny, “Run from what’s Comfortable,” #5 on Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything, 2014

            [16] Pat the Bunny, “Run from what’s Comfortable,” #5, Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything, 2014.        

            [17] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 101

            [18] Žižek The Puppet and the Dwarf, 101-102.

            [19] Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol.1 (Chicago, IL; The University of Chicago Press, 1951) 165, 174-178.

            [20] Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1957) 99.

            [21] John 15:15 New Revised Standard Version.

            [22] To be clear, Tillich does not believe that Jesus doubted. 

            [23] Paul Tillich, The Essential Tillich (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999). 15. I am referring to Tillich’s notion of demonic as that which sets itself up as an ultimate concern. This notion of demonic fits well with Badiou’s idea that Capitalism sets itself up as an abstract universal which is not a real universal. 

            [24]  Paraphrase of Acts 2:36 NRSV. The term “Spirit of Friendship” is a term I use to describe the friendship I unpack in the next paragraph. 

            [25] Ramschackle Glory, “First Song pt. 2.” #10 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital. This song particularly references Pat’s failures while he was addicted durgs, and how these friends have stood by him regardless. Pat’s “faith” is clearly in these faithful friends. Their faith save him from himself, and their committed presence is “the things that will happen.” 

            [26] Nimi Wariboko,The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012,) 138-139.  I am indebted to Wariboko regarding his work on friendship and friendship networks. 

            [27] Wariboko, Charismatic City. 119-121; 127.

            [28] Wariboko, The Pentecostal Priniciple, 138-139.

            [29] Ramschackle Glory, “You Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist (live)” #9 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital; Wariboko,Charismatic City. 120.

            [30] Ramschackle Glory, “From Here to Utopia” #4 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital; Wariboko, Charismatic City. 120. This entire song is a strong critique to punk culture. 

            [31] Patrick Schneeweis, “r/FolkPunk – The Letter That Came from the Pat The Bunny and Ceschi Album, I Can’t Tell You How Many Times I Have Re Read This (Typed in Comments),”2016,https://www.reddit.com/r/FolkPunk/comments/5qkhzm/the_letter_that_came_from_the_pat_the_bunny_and/.

            [32] Patrick Schneeweis, “r/FolkPunk – The Letter That Came from the Pat The Bunny and Ceschi Album.

            [33] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!

            [34] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!

            [35] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!

            [36] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!

            [37] Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!


Althaus-Reid, Marcella. The Queer God. London: Routledge, 2003. 

Andrew Jackson Jihad  “Power Plant,” #15 on Only God Can Judge Me More, 2008, Digital.

Badiou, Alain. Saint Paul: the Foundation of Universalism. Translated by Ray Brassier. 

            Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 2009.

Ceshi / Pat the Bunny, “Anarchy of Dirt” #8 on Split 2016.

Cauchi, Mark. “Creation and the Critique of Capitalism in Marx, Nancy and Žižek.” Political       Theology 12, no. 4 (August 2011): 531–52. doi:10.1558/poth.v12.i4.531.

Cone, James H. A Black Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2020. 

Gramsci, Antonio, and Quintin Hoare. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York, NY: International Publ., 1973. 

Dale, Peter Robin William. Anyone Can Do It: Traditions of Punk and the Politics of        Empowerment. Newcastle upon Tyne: University of Newcastle upon Tyne,

Griffin, Naomi. “Understanding Diy Punk as Activism : Realising Diy Ethics through Cultural     Production, Community and Everyday Negotiations.” Order No. 28197106, University of               Northumbria at Newcastle (United Kingdom), 2015.             https://ezproxy.bu.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fdocview%   2F2440369325%3Faccountid%3D9676.

Hass, Benjamine, D. Performing Folk Punk: Agonistic Performances of intersectionality  LSU    Doctoral Dissertations. https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_dissertations/798/.

Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains and Mantits, “ Church Hymn for the Condmned,” #2 on        Love Songs for the Apocalypse, DIY Bandits/ Spare Change Records, 2006, Digital.

Johnny Hobo and theFreight Trains and Mantits, “ New Mexico,” #1 on Love Songs for the          Apocalypse, DIY Bandits/ Spare Change Records, 2006, Digital.

 “Pat Schneeweis Interview: Pat the Bunny,” 2014. https://www.afistfulofvinyl.com/pat-the-bunny/pat-schneeweis-interview/.

Pat the Bunny, “Run from what’s Comfortable,” #5 on Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything,   2014

Pat the Bunny, “We don’t get tired, we get even,” #8, Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything,     2014.

Pat the Bunny, “ For the Sake of the Ashs (the Darkness),” #5 on The Volatile Utopian Real         Estate Market, Savage Wasteland Music Collective. 2014, Digital. 

Ramschackle Glory, “First Song pt. 2.” #10 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital.

Ramschackle Glory, “From Here to Utopia (Song for the Desperate),” #5 on Live the Dream,       DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital.

Ramschackle Glory, “You Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist (live)” #9 on Live the Dream, DIY Bandits, 2011, Digital;

Schneeweis, Patrick. “r/FolkPunk – The Letter That Came from the Pat The Bunny and Ceschi Album, I Can’t Tell You How Many Times I Have Re Read This (Typed in Comments),” 2016. https://www.reddit.com/r/FolkPunk/comments/5qkhzm/the_letter_that_

Tillich, Paul, and F. Forrester. Church. The Essential Tillich. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago             Press, 1999.

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology, Vol. 1. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1951.

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology, Vol. 2. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Wariboko, N. Charismatic City and the Public Resurgence of Religion: a Pentecostal Social        Ethics of Cosmopolitan Urban Life. Place of publication not identified: Palgrave   Macmillan, 2016.

Wariboko, Nimi. The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012. 

Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “Fuck Shit Up (Whanana),” #3 on Burn the Earth! Leave it             Behind!, Spare Change Records, 2009, Digital.

Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “My Idea of Fun,” #10 on Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!, Spare             Change Records, 2009, Digital.

Wingnut Dishwashers Union, “Urine Speaks Louder Than Words,”, #5 on Burn the Earth! Leave            it Behind!, Spare Change Records, 2009, Digital.

Žižek Slavoj. The Puppet and the Dwarf: the Perverse Core of Christianity. Cambridge, MA:      MIT Press, 2003.

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