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Theology of Occupy: clergy discuss role of the church in #OWS #occupyChurch

February 25, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

This panel represents what ,  for me,  ought be happening around the country.   These clergy are in the NY area,  and so it may well be even more obvious to them,  as their parishioners may well be seeing the encampments every day,  or often.  For us in less urban settings,  we are nonetheless citizensof this country,  and even more importantly,  citizens of a Kingdom that calls us to stand in sharp contrast to the systems of an economy that has been at work on us for decades,  most dramatically in the past 30 years,  as the income disparity has shot off the charts.

I am disturbed by the lack of an urgency displayedby the churches and their leadership in bringing Occupy issues to the theological table to lay it alongside the images Jesus preached when he spoke of the Kingdom of God’s inbreaking.

[Occupy] challenges church leaders to evaluate the relationship of the church to movements for social change.

http://notesfromthequad.yale.edu/theology-occupy-clergy-discuss-role-church-occupy-wall-street

Sadly,  the church is MOST often apallingly distant from the economic forces that should be offending its vision for our  country (or any country)  if that country wants to claim it is “under God”.  We all sense  that these are words that do more for our self image than words which impact the policies and actions of that government which imprint them on our money.  In fact,  it is the circulation and manipulation of that currency that tilts the system in favor of the very rich.   Economists have been pointing this out for several years now,  and precious few churches or church bodies have taken these warnings to heart,  or as challenge.

Sniffen said the church is often better at raising awareness than actually engaging in the practice of seeking justice

oh?  I think OWS has also put the church to shame inthat departmnt as well.  Only a select few have been at this job prior to Occupy.  Groups like Sojourners,  churches like Churchof the Saviour in Washington DC (and a whole host,  spread around the country,  too thinly as it  turns out,  but perhaps more are awakening now that the conversation amongst Occupy protesters has been making its way into the national debate (often to be sneered upon by the callous nature of today’s GOP,  and “borrowed” by the left and by the Democratic Party,  without attribution by name to the OWS movement,  since it would be “too politically risky” to express “solidarity”.

The church has had the Scriptural and theological resources to “Name the Powers” and “Confront the Powers” and “Engage the Powers” (these 3 phrases borrowed  from book titles by theologian Walter Wink,  who has been getting renewed re-reading and initial looks by new readers,  of his signature series on “The Principalities and Powers”.

The panel talked about:

how the church should engage the “one percent.”

image of Jesus who turned the tables in the temple was a more salient one than Jesus eating with the tax collector, Zacchaeus.

creative use of shame

I’d like to find the full transcript or a recording of the entire conversation there,  and hope to see more  of this happening in the future.  I have begun video taping some conversations with various faith-based participants at Occupy Nashville,  presently undergoing editing.  I have a few more to do —- and it is my plan to keep doing these as the movement continues,  and as ,  as I have expressed, hope to see it initiate a renewed sense of the justice envisioned and proclaimed by The Kingdom of God.

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