even faith-based organizing becomes problematic without the hard theological work of distinguishing liberative faith from status quo faith.
– Joerg Rieger in response to Romand Coles ‘ article: Ecotones and the Arts of Radical Ecclesia and Radical Democracy | Syndicate.
For me, and it seems also for Joerg Rieger, the Occupy Movement provided the church with a model of organizing activism that emphasizes the “with” aspect of advocacy over the “for” (and so , unfortunately too often “Patronizing, we are helping these poor folks as our ministry”).
Rieger refers to the “Theology of the Multitude” (indeed , it is the subtitle of the book) as a key to a “way of being” and embodiment as participants, and as co-learners who are changed (and indeed HAVE BEEN CHANGED” by the people of the Occupy Movement.
Rieger asks a penetrating question of faith-based organizing movements that have forgotten the participatory and mutually transformative nature of the Occupy movement (and by extension, all movements for seeking the Kingdom of God in some corner of the world, on some issue or set of realities that require attention to justice).
a good deal of faith-based organizing leads us right back into the hands of the system
Here is yet another place where Occupy contributed to some healthy theological soul-searching for the church; our relationship to the system, which is theological parlance is “the world”; those “principalities and powers”.
Rieger also articulates something that is THE most frequent critique of Occupy I hear, and one that is undeniable, given it’s eventual relegation to the social and political sidelines. (Notice I didn’t say “death” or “extinction”). What is important here, I think, is that the model of leadership ; the “leaderless movement” is NOT , as many say , doomed to fail, but simply needs to “keep working on” , as Joerg puts it: “the question how alternative power can be organized in sustainable fashion”.
perhaps the Occupy movement was closer to organizing such alternative power than most people realized, judging by the drawn-out efforts to destroy it. – JR
I still believe this.