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Archive for February 15th, 2012

Do Not Grow Weary or Lose Heart by Vincent Harding in @Sojourners #OWS

February 15, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Vincent Harding,  in an article in Sojourners,  on the way forward after the experience of many who have felt let  down from the expectations and hopeful luminance of the election of Obama:

The question is, what do we do now? We know what we shouldn’t do now, in terms of dependence on the Democratic Party, as it is, on the president, as he is. How do we move us and them to another place, so that the richest country in the world will not have more than 20 percent of its children in poverty?

This also taps into the positive experiences of Occupy.  It is “we” who do the moving.  A president is only as good ,  as a maximum,  as the demands of the people.  How do we “move us and them to another place” where the wider stories of the people where we are is heard once again and we receive back from our leaders the mechanisms aimed at  building something of that shape?

Occupy the Future @jtrane in @sojourners #occupyChurch #MLK #OWS

February 15, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Jim Rice writes in Sojourners magazine about Occupy.  Sojourners is one of those communities that have become a mashup of activist, publishers, movementOrganizers….and has been an example of the kind of theological discernment regarding our country and its churches that have been seeing the kinds of things Occupy has been good at bringing into movement form in the public square.

OCCUPY ISN’T A religious movement, although a strong sense of spirituality undergirds many of the participants. But the work it’s doing—shining a spotlight on basic issues of justice and holding up the “least of these”—echoes the gospel’s message of good news to the poor and setting the oppressed free.Martin Luther King Jr.’s last effort, the Poor People’s Campaign, had similar goals. As King put it 44 years ago this spring, “We are planning to dramatize the issue to the point that poor people in this nation will have to be seen and will not be invisible.”

I have been captured by the elements of Occupy that Jim here describes as ” a sense of spirituality undergird[ing] many of the participants”.  As the Arab Spring rolled across our TV screens and pulsed  through our Social Media streams,  we saw Wisconsin happen,  and talk of how to take these same fights and “fed-up-ness”  to Wall Street and Washington.  I bought a book back in August ,  “The Last Crusade: MLK, the FBI, and the Poor People’s Campaign”,  because I have long believed that MLK may have done more to seal his fate as martyr in starting to branch out to the broader values underirding the problems of violence , war, and poverty in this country.

I wanted to revisit the stories of the MLK days through a closer focus on the Poor People’s Campaign,  because I saw some close relationships between what was becoming a much wider spread issue of the powerful keeping the system “safe for [their] vision of democracy” ,  rather than the much broader sense of the common good that many in this country had previously shared.  IN one sense,  it was an awakening in more people regarding the injustices of the system because the effects are coming ever closer to home, where we live.  For many, though,  it is realizing what many of the poor have been feeling for as long as they can remember.  It has helped many of us to ask ourselves “How did we let it come so far?”

Sojourners has been warning us about such things for 40 years (and I’ve been reading it for 30 of its 4o years).  The Occupy movement poses a serious challenge to the church that has “settled in” to the habits of America.  And a resource for those that are noticing.  And now a partner with the longings that are now taking a “movement shape” with Occupy.  Sojourners has been one of those influences on me instrumental in my being at a place where I am relieved and hopeful about the future of the church when I observe the invigorating hopefulness of Occupy.  And it is the hope I have that harsh times in America can create a stronger sense for us of a gulf between the “Principalities and Powers” and the world as the People of God see it,  through our common journey in God’s salvation history.

Great article , Jim!

Unmasking the Press and the Powers #OWS #occupychurch

February 15, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Still finding tasty theological results from my Googling of “Walter Wink powers occupy”.  Here’s one  on the sequence implied in  Walter Wink’s “Powers” series of books:

As the theologian Walter Wink shows, challenging a dominant system requires a three-part process: naming the powers, unmasking the powers, engaging the powers(11). Their white noise of distraction and obfuscation is the means by which the newspapers prevent this process from beginning. They mislead us about the sources of our oppression, misrepresent our democratic choices, demonise those who try to challenge the 1%.

This “unmasking the press”  is a worthy cause as well,  and will often get us into the “hidden” stuff for which the “Unmasking” stage enlightens us.  It also reminds me of studies like “Manufacturing Consent” made famous by Noam Chomsky.  The education we need in the media strategies of the 1%  (and it is a strategy of the 1%,  however deep it has penetrated down into the 99% who are forced or persuaded to serve the interests of the 1%.  To use the relevant term here:  “Consent”,  this is what goes into the strategy:  advertising for products gives us the clue;  it is telling a story about “the world as it is”,  and the think tanks provide us with a steady stream of “facts” that align with “the way it is”  which they seek to instill in us.