Theological Community, EcoTheology, The Church, The World, The Blogosphere

Hedges on the lessons of Easter Island #OWS #OccupyChurch #occupyTheology

September 04, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

I blogged on this a couple weeks ago,  as I recoiled at the inane thesis of a WIRED article about “conspiracy theories” such as global warning.

The modern belief by evangelical Christians in the rapture, which does not exist in biblical literature, is no less fantastic, one that at once allows for the denial of global warming and of evolution and the absurd idea that the righteous will all be saved-floating naked into heaven at the end of time. The faith that science and technology, which are morally neutral and serve human ambitions, will make the world whole again is no less delusional. We offer up our magical thinking in secular as well as religious form.

Hedges,  in this article,  articulates it succinctly:  “We trust naively in the inevitability of our own salvation”.  And for the direct tie to the Occupy movement themes:

Those willing to cater to fantasy and self-delusion are, because they make us politically passive, lavishly funded and promoted by corporate and oligarchic forces.

The oligrachic forces have always depended on the pushers of the opiates of the people,  to keep them compliant and even feverishly supportive of continued exploitation,  even at their won expense (OFTEN,  in fact,  at their own expense).

Like the Earth, Easter Island was an isolated system. The people there believed that they were the only survivors on Earth, all other land having sunk beneath the sea. They carried out for us the experiment of permitting unrestricted population growth, profligate use of resources, destruction of the environment and boundless confidence in their religion to take care of the future. The result was an ecological disaster leading to a population crash. … Do we have to repeat the experiment on this grand scale?

The beneficiaries of such conditions seem capable only of ramping up their assaults on environment,  economies,  and communities.  This is starkly brought home in Hedges’ book,  “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”.  The social devastation of the Indian reservations, Urban abandonment (Camden), and communities devasted by mountain top removals (which are simply an “advancement” – and more destructive by orders of shocking magnitude – of former exploitative coal mining company practices),  farmworkers in slave conditions on Florida,  are all narrated in infuriating detail,  telling the story form the point of view of those whose habitat and livelihood were summarily destroyed and poisoned.

The Occupy movement story thus far are  “Days of Rage” to which Hedges turns his attention as the last, possibly hopeful chapter.  It is the hope instilled when significant resistance engenders movements.  I’m sure I will have further comments and reactions after I read that last chapter.  And I hope it will indeed be a “last chapter” in the sense that something significant is planted and seen through to harvest.  These hopes,  too,  are the form I hope the church will recognize as a proper theme for her people.  A resistance of what IS in deference to another way; another world that is possible.

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“seamlessly into the world of globalized capitalism” via Chris Hedges

September 02, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Chris Hedges ,  in reviewing a book by Dave Eggers,  describing the Saudi kingdom (“A Hologram for the King”),  sounds very accurate re: an alarming percentage of the Religious Right in this country:

outward religiosity and piety mask a moral and physical rot that fits seamlessly into the world of globalized capitalism

This “seamless  fit” is exactly what the oligarchy finds to be effective.  A little nudge from the 1% and their propaganda machine that churns out their “American narrative”,  easily sways the porous theology of the nationalistic,  essentially baptizing an adoption of Americanized hybrid spirituality.  One can hear the direct indicators of a wholesale adoption of “capitalism” and “free market”  in right wing Christian defenses of Tea Party  politics.  The Religious Right is now adopting the Paul Ryan fascination with a novelist with radical allegiance to Free Market,  and tries ,  at the same time,  to distance itself from the accompanying (and required)  disdain for the “lesser classes”,  and from its hard to deny atheism,  a trait that would be immediate fodder for spiritual warnings/rantings  against a Democrat even hinting at so much as an appreciation for other figures that can be linked to atheism (visa vi Obama and Saul Alinsky)

Whose World is Most Worth Perpetuating? Mertitocracy’s Crony-ism HT @ChrisLHayes @DemocracyNow

July 18, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

in this video, Chris Hayes talks about the way elites and their clubs stick together vs even the people they ostensibly are there to serve  (priests in Catholic Church vs their parishoners,  or the government and corporations vs thier constituents and/or customers).

This is a good angle also for the financial system,  and for a headlong dive into many of the messages of the Occupy movement.  When Joseph Stiglitz wrote his “Of the 1% by the 1% and for the 1%” article in the early summer of 2011,  I knew that something had taken hold.  America was fixated on the Arab Spring,  and it was more than just international curiosity.  It was longing.  It was a deep-seated question about our  dreams for this country.  And it was bubbling,  ready to start boiling over come September.  And the 1% have come to be identified as those who have been using their position to keep siphoning the rewards upward,  to the extent that we now live in one of the least balanced Western developed nations.  Less equal = Less “American”,  not only in my definition,  but in most people’s sense as to what is often couched as “What makes America great”.  Because of that,  “great” is blown away as an option.  “Great” can remain only on the lips of the people who resist the facts of American economics,  or with people who stubbornly hold to a notion that “we’ve always righted the ship”,  and instead of actually working to root out the wrongs,  use their optimism as a shield against seeing the extent of the problem in the first place.

The 1%  (and yes,  we can increase the accuracy of our claims that something is afoul in the 1% by sharpening the focus to the 1% of the 1%,  but for the sake of brevity,  we’ll stipulate that and use simply 1% as shorthand)…..the 1% have isolated themselves from the 99.  (And I have listened to people in the upper regions of the 99,  postulating that since they don’t know anybody actually being foreclosed  upon,  or homeless,  that “it really isn’t all that bad”… if “that bad” is some far off designation against which we can compare ourselves and conclude “we’re not there yet”,  and from “where I sit,  we probably never will.  Markets correct themselves.  Banks recover.  Governments adjust.  It’ll all blow  over.  I actually heard that argument rather recently.  It’s almost as if there is a resistance to “dire language” or “apocalyptic language”,  and therefore its not serious enough to justify mass movements calling for radical change in our  processes.  The status quo has done a number on them.  And this is just the kind of  message the 1% want them to be getting and keeping them from being radicalized.  There seems to be little awareness of how this will continue to wear us down almost imperceptibly like ocean tide which grabs just a little more shoreline debris and washes it out to sea (as more people fall beneath the poverty  line, and more people in the upper regions find themselves perceiving more of those foreclosures,  mounting medical costs that are still out of control (and STILL not being affected by ACA measures not  slated to take  effect until 2014).   So this new alignment is teaching the “virtues” of this new system,  training us to see the  world immediately around us as the  only one worth perpetuating.

This has been a 30 year process.  Shares of GDP have increasingly been realized disproportionately at  the top,  while  the rest of  the country is left  to fend with smaller  and smaller chunks.   It’s not felt at the top at all.  Why would it?  They’re experiencing record prosperity.  This is the way things were meant  to be (from their  perspective)  They find motivation in keeping the system going in just that direction.  They have the money to pour into the think tanks and and the educational institutions,  which in turn communicate a message that the system runs best when the smartest, brightest people (like them,  backed up by their “success” at doing  so) are the people in whose hands this system works best (which works well for them as well,  since its the system they designed to send the production benefits disproportionately to the top). Citizens United is the Coup d’état for this meritocracy,  for it provides for the unlimited, unaccountable domination of the communications systems by the financial elite,  to allow them essentially free reign to propogate yet further into the American pysche the contaminated notions about American democracy that make the system ,  as Stiglitz so aptly put it : “Of the One Percent, By The One Percent, FOR the One Percent”.

From 99 to 100: Developing a Theology of & for #OWS (Pt 3 of 3) #OccupyChurch

June 09, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

I believe that the most loving thing we can do for the richest and most powerful is to tell them the truth: call them to the truth and challenge them to live truthfully. After all, one of the spiritual works of mercy is to admonish sinners. If this is so, we must love the 1% enough to speak the truth to them, inviting them to justice, righteousness, and transformation, and inviting them to the 100%.

I’ve heard this,  and in terms of love for persons with whom we engage in dialogue,  this is true.  But what of those who diss such dialogue,  which is  exactly what so many do?  Are the claims “confrontive”?  Yes.  Are they libelous or unfair  or unrealistic? No.  At some point ,  the gulf remains because  those  in power wish to maintain it.


Word from Winkler via @GBCS

December 05, 2011 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology

From General Secretary Jim Winkler’s column today at @GBCS

The prophet Isaiah was awakened to two realities: the awesome holiness of Yahweh and the depth of his own nation’s sin.