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Archive for the ‘OWS’

Introduce @NaomiAKlein ‘s @ThisChanges Everything into theological discussion, and see the “sparks” fly

October 24, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

The “sparks” lead to two different ingnitions: The all too common right wing knee-jerk, auto-pilot echo of the political right wing’s dismissal and rage against the idea that climate change poses an existential danger to us. Then there is the igniting of the long and rich history of ecotheological depth in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and in “other” theological traditions (especially Native/Indigenous ones) I call it the Ecology of the Kingdom of God (as I’m sure others have before me; may have even heard it before because I know that my theological sensitivities have largely evolved in me as I stand on the shoulders of many others that have come to me throughout my formation.

I want to see a full-throttled dialog in the churches, and in the halls of theological academia. Just as I longed to see the churches jump into the fray with Occupy and talk about the economics of the Kingdom of, I also hope that we will explore the deep ecology of the Kingdom of God. I think of my Matthew Fox books that I read in the 90s. His “Creation Spirituality” was an early eco-theology, as was the Ethics class of Glenn Stassen when I was a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (and again, yes, you heard that right. The present home of Al Mohler, whose arrival preceded a mass exodus over the next decade of most (if not all) of the faculty who brought the rich diversity that seminary had enjoyed and endowed for numerous students in decades prior).

.@ThisChanges Everything about how I think about Climate Change. What a journey.

October 24, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Media, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Soon after the Occupy movement began, I bought the domain occupytheology.org. It was an immensely theological event for me, and continues to be, regardless of the “hibernation” it’s most “visible” elements may be experiencing. I write “visible” in quotes, because it’s visibility tends to be defined by the media. If it’s not being covered as a REAL MOVEMENT, but as a “News Blip” event that makes good film, it doesn’t exist in the minds of the public who depend on the mainstream media for “The way it is” on any certain day.

I saw then, and still see now, the theological fundamentals at stake here; that the church , to be “present” enough to be able to “proclaim the Good News”, has to BE PRESENT with eyes and ears and hands and feet; to GO where the people are. Occupy brought to the fore the plight of the 99%, and the ongoing threat of the 1%. The Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus is dominated by language of justice, righteousness, and an ongoing , everlasting, mighty stream”. But the economy of the United States has become something of a religion for many evangelicals, who replace the Kingdom of God Jesus highlighted and about which he told parable after parable, with an idolatry of the myth of a “capitalism” endowed with the power to enable “Freedom”, when it has actually done a massive amount of the opposite, creating a “class warfare” that becomes more apparent as income inequality grows.

Those trends have done anything but subside, much less been addressed. Obama basically told the Occupy movement ” I feel your pain”, but kept on his merry way, giving no identifiable leadership in standing up to the banks and their starship commanders. No real bully pulpit. No real tangible “No” to the banks, no discernible call to put the brakes on what continues to expand the income gap. And so the church is called, in the in between times, where the more “visible” and “filmable” moments occur, to forge ahead, knowing that there are new “the time is now” fruition moments to come. The Civil Rights movement had its “hibernation” periods from 1954 to 1968 and beyond. (Again, “hibernation” is the image one gets from a present perspective looking back, as told to us by the media who “cover the events” for us — but really aren’t covering much at all)

Reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate has expanded my “Occupy Theology” with yet another branch, which is also drawing from that same set of nutrients supplied by the oligarchy which is global. In a global economy, it’s beyond the United States, just as Wall Street itself is “hooked in” to and very attuned to the global economy.

Now a new branch is bulging out and bending increasingly low to the ground, making it impossible to miss if we are looking at our ecology and our economics. The ecosystem is also under siege from those same 1% who are promoting their “fundamentals” which are represented by that “free market” that will bring us magical prosperity of we would (if government would) just “get out of the way” and let the deity called the Free Market lead us to the promised land. We are now aware that this is a nasty, complete falsehood that is continuing to degrade us and exponentially expanding that degradation. And our home for our physical world is now showing us what we have been sowing as our technologies are focused on plunder for profit, endlessly, and increasingly more radical in its extractive destruction. Christian people seem to be immesely and blindly willing to accept the myth of inevitable human progress, that assures us that since we have never before destroyed the earth, that we never can. That “God created it and therefore we cant destroy it.”

Really? God created each of us as a precious life with sanctity and interdependence, but we can clearly see that it is possible to take a life. God does not prevent it from happening. The exercise of human agency can work evil. We’ve seen it throughout history. And we’ve seen that agency lead to death and ruin and oppression and decadent greed. The earth was created FAR prior to technology, with a balance and an ecosystem that existed eons before we got here. And the reach of technology has time and time again taken us beyond the point where its un-inhibited use skews the trajectory of justice. Cumulatively, we have begun to see the real effects of our production of waste by-products. And that waste (byproducts of burning fossil fuels) has been building decade after decade as we move “full steam ahead” (something of a pun as we “moved” our mode of moving to “independent but finite, non-renewable sources” of producing steam and then eventually burning oil).

The Tower of Babel seems to me to be our presnt existential warning to us from the Bible. The hubris of humanity that leads to the unbounded application of technology upon technology. That refusal to heed the bounds of ecological science (which has only very relatively recently in history has been made known to us by climate scientists) has finally confronted us with the direct existential threat to our hubris. Prior, the exploitations of “civilized” “developed” actions unleashed upon indigenous peoples could have been a prior ethical cautionary regarding the dangers of unbridled, limitless extraction and plunder, callously pushing aside or ven enslaving the people whose own prior history had been to live on and with that land which was now to the object of the drive to profit from plunder. Colonialism wrought technological. Centuries of it, with human and now ecological impact. Existentialism wrought large. Existentialism wrought THEOLOGICAL.

Where climate change is more than a “debate” : The church in a land of climate change via @JonathanMerritt

October 24, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS

Go to a lot of places outside of our country and our politics, and you often find yourself where climate change is more than a “debate” as it is often described here, and see the first hand effects (one can also find those places in our country as well, and these are just some of the many “Sacrafice Zones” that Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein describe in their latest books. Jonathan Merritt is one writing about this in whom I find a great deal of hope in that he comes out of a Southern Baptist background, as I do, where so many people align themselves with the GOP narrative of “Denial” re: Climate change.

The church in a land of climate change

via The church in a land of climate change – On Faith & Culture.

Hmmm….showing that more populations are under “full democracies” #OccupyTheology

October 21, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/opinion/view/274

This article is titled “It’s a cold, hard fact: our world is becoming a better place”

And it charts how much of the world’s population is under “Full Democracies”,  as if the category itself is indicative of any country’s particular implementation of those claims.  I question this because I’m an American,  where “Full Democracy” has gradually become less and less so.  Fewer and fewer people in those “Full Democracies” (with variations and exceptions of course,  but it is the larger trends of oligarchy and spreading through “Global economics” that spread this around,  and we can see it fruits in the world’s “democracies” becoming increasingly oligarchic and experiencing mass unrest.

Ferguson and the Church’s Responsibility: A Call to Black Power

October 20, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Ferguson, Occupy Theology, OWS

we must learn to separate the individual officers, the lower-case police as humans, from the capital P- Police, the system and the problem. For Christians, we stand with people but we stand against systems of oppression. “Fuck the Police” can be possible in a Christian context, because it is the real cry of people, because it is a cry of solidarity, because we do not cry it of people but of systems.

via Ferguson and the Church’s Responsibility: A Call to Black Power — Theology of Ferguson — Medium.

I believe this is right.   Churches certainly could use a theological education on SYSTEMS.  They seem to need it , because they seem to have adopted the knee-jerk reaction to “criticism of the system” as “misbehaving” and “un-American”  (and since when did “UnAmerican become more of a transgression than “UnChristian”?  It happened when American Christians became comfortable within the system and , in the process,  bought into its narrative).