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

Still looking for comments from my theological friends on my Net Freedom & Church blog post at

February 21, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

The only things that have shown up in my comments are the social media pointers I have put out asking my theological friends to comment.  It’s not that this is THE most important issue on the world. It’s not.  Their are wars, killings, severe oppression,  economic hegemony of the extremely wealthy,  etc.  But this IS a vastly influential and consequential issue.  And if there is any value to Net Freedom (which I definitely think there is),  is there not a theological case to be made (I think there is).  It IS a justice issue.  It is yet another case of the rich and powerful rigging the system to maximize their profits at the expense of the good of the non-rich and powerful.  It IS the right of everyone on the earth to have the opportunities to participate,  and the most crucial aspect of that is that this is an avenue where people can tell their stories.  The world needs to know a lot of these stories.  Our communities of interest WANT to know our particular stories.  The collaborative energies generated by finding people who respond and support our stories are marvelous and miraculous energies.  It goes all the way to the level of the principle idea of the gifts of the body of Christ.  The church exists as an incubator to call forth and cultivate those gifts that result in needs being addressed.  So the issue of Net Freedom is a theological issue in that all of us have contributions to make,  and the Net has proven to be a powerful source of extending the stories of groups and individuals in order to widen the reach of the benefits of those who are about the task of living their calling.

Please go to my previous post at and offer your thoughts.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Google GmailTumblrShare

So much better than a “Newsletter”, unless you wanna call it a “Virtual Church Update”

January 23, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Facebook, Theoblogical

Was just talking to a friend about “Social Singularity” thoughts I’ve been writing about…

He mentioned a coffeehouse experience and the “sensory” , etc. that can’t be duplicated. We are heading for a “Social Singularity” that will make that LESS true; that we cant get that from a screen is true…but we wont be talking about “screens” in 20 years (maybe 30).  We’ll be “Nano-bot” connected between our brain visual and audio input centers (and perhaps olfactory and “taste/palate ” as well)  and another or multiple other “locations” to have a “common space” that includes ALL those spaces. This will be the future steps toward “full immersion” virtual reality. Only it will become LESS “virtual” aside from the location. This is what excites me.  And we are doing this with existing, real, biological human brains/persons doing the communicating.  Real people sharing real senses.

So,  the newsletter.   A newsletter is “news” because that’s the oldest paradigm for print.  To get important information from the surrounding world to a particular community.  What if it is no longer necessary to use the communication pieces to do ONLY those kinds of things?  (The case now).  What if a “newsletter” was also a way to come to a “Virtual Room” in the church (which is actually hooked up to the Net and is the “receiver” and transmitter of the visitor information/communication and of the elements of the room (which could be OTHER people,  instantiated from another connection to that same room (aka “Hangout” but with higher fidelity and bandwidth to include THEIR physical space information,  so that any two or three could visit anyone else,  or anyWHERE else (like a movie, in a VIRTUAL theater…. and on and on)

More later

“Discarded intellectuals” Part 1 #OWS #OccupyChurch

September 05, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology

When I read the following,  from a previous Chris Hedges article just after the start of Occupy Wall Street,  I immediately added my own group to the list of “discarded intellectuals”:

Bakunin’s vision of revolution, which challenged Marx’s rigid bifurcation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, carved out a vital role for these rootless intellectuals, the talented sons and daughters of the middle class who had been educated to serve within elitist institutions, or expected a place in the middle class, but who had been cast aside by society. The discarded intellectuals—unemployed journalists, social workers, teachers, artists, lawyers and students—were for Bakunin a valuable revolutionary force

(this article was also incorporated into the chapter “Days  of Revolt” in Chris Hedges’ latest book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”)

This additional group of “discarded intellectuals” I have in mind falls within a subgroup in Progressive Christianity.

This question opens up a big sore spot for me on the content side:  the present absence of the church,  especially those supposedly “Progressive” mainline denominations,  in the conversations such as the Occupy movement has started in our national conversation.  There is an obvious avoidance of what is CLEARLY a set  of issues that affect not only the poor (which is and always has been ,  in the church,  a matter of heeding that clear call),  but increasingly,  most of the rest of us.  At what point do the churches begin to say, “You know those accusations of the Occupy movement about the 1%?   What do we as a church need to be saying and doing regarding our message during these times?  It seems to be on hardly anyone’s radar.  The home pages and second level pages and sections of denominational websites are not addressing such things.  Rarely if  ever do we see any denominational effort to indicate that the leadership is interested in asking its people about this,  or informing them on these issues.  It’s like its political dynamite;  or  poison to the “civil discourse”.  When matters  of state become so “off  limits” in theological communities,  it seems to me that we’re deep in the throes of nationalism that threatens the notion of what church represents.

For instance, how many and to what extent to people identify with the yearnings expressed by the Occupy movement?  What do they feel about the degree of involvement and conversation that the church is having/not having with the messages being delivered by the Occupy movement?  I’ve heard Occupiers say that they left the church long ago BECAUSE they felt the church was not listening or interested in such things (and in some cases,  even hostile to the idea of “criticizing America”.  How do we as a church arrive at a place so foreign to the history inscribed in the Scriptures themselves,  which have frequent narrative of nations behaving in a manner which leads to their destruction?  Even “God’s chosen”, Israel.  Jeremiah told his contemporaries “Do not take refuge in ‘this is the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord’ and think that God will protect us from harm when we continue to participate (and help to perpetuate)  the injustices carried out by the nation at large.

The church,  if it looks for them,  has a small enclave of activists for justice that caught the drift and the energy of the Occupy movement early on,  and saw it is an opportunity to engage with that political energy and bring the strong history of the the social justice work of our people into the happenings across the country,  from NY to DC to Nashville to Oakland.  Many of these people are seminary trained,  many experienced activist,  many both.  They have immersed themselves inthe histories of church-based social justice actions .  And these are among the class of the church’s “discarded intellectuals”  that are being ignored at just the wrong time (if you consider how damaging that is for the “connection” between church leadership and the people they serve).  Kind of reminds me of the political problems our country has.  “Leaders” failing to serve their people,  focusing instead on “survival” instead of having “Eyes on the Problems and Eyes on the Prize”.

“Part Two” of this has to do with another “Discarded intellectual” group that is sorely needed by the church,  but is kept from playing a significant  role largely because the church organizations have followed the market tendencies in technology to the exclusion of sound theological discernment about how to let the “Social” actually BE social.  It has much to do with theological study and defining who we are in a way that makes the network such a potentially powerful tool for enabling the church to significantly extend itself into some powerfully creative spiritual habitat.  I’ll link to this as soon as I put on some finishing touches.



“Radical Individualism Has Failed” Reflection on @BrianMerritt ‘s “Death of Justice” #occupychurch #OWS

August 24, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Brian Merritt has written an excellent OccupyTheology sermon.  The only thing I dont like about it is that there are too many great things in it I want to quote in full.

 I am told by a prepackaged and consumeristic society that there are non-threatening and easy answers to societal’s ills.  The reality is that recycling will not save the planet, voting for a Democrat will not stop war, a personal boycott will not stop homophobia, driving an expensive fuel efficient car will not reduce your footprint and eating expensive local produce will not help farming.  These are false and unbiblical views of salvation.  Sin is often seen as corporate and the solution to it is often catastrophic and radical.

That last line is key, I think.  “Sin is often seen as corporate and the solution to it is often catastrophic and radical”.  We in America often are led to believe that simply by “casting a vote” that we can change things.  Aside from that becoming ever more UNTRUE,  it has never been as simple as that.  As MLK said, ” the powerful do not give up their positions of power voluntarily”  And the systems they have painstakingly put into place and shaped have become ingrained,  and opinions have been molded to support these structures.  They don’t crumble without hell to pay.  This is why Occupy hasn’t “failed”.  It’s only just begun.  It may well be that this “lull” is stepping back to take stock of the strength of the system against which they have dared to question.  It truly isnt going to be easy.  And it will take a much more widespread and localized building of communities of resistance.  the Civil Rights movement learned this.  They built,  over many years,  a massive landscape of “Beloved Communities”.  But it seems the key here is “many years”.  That’s what it often takes.  Community takes years.  Community doesn’t have an incubation period.  It is always in the process  of being born.

A few other gems from Brian’s sermon:

Believing that we can individually change the world is truly unbiblical

individual salvation … plays well in a consumeristic culture

Amen to that.   Individual  salvation is the gnostic heresy of our day.  It truly takes the embodiment out of the  picture,  and buries it “inside”,  where it can be shielded and uninformed by the flesh and blood struggles,  as if the two can be separated.  And the consumerisitc culture likes it this way.  This individualistic spirituality makes for good citizens,  especially if it can be recast ithe  image of the dominant values of our  culture,  and deemed “Christian America”.  And those who speak the language can ,  by their words,  forward the dominant values in the guise of  Christian values.  This is the Religious Right.

[Justice] won’t come from the right or left, but from people who are forging their commitments to each other

It took me  years to really let this realization sink in.  James KA Smith wrote (writes) about it in his books . Stanley Hauerwas became my ecclesia-priest,  speaking and writing of the church as that body which contains us “resident aliens”,  and that no true spirituality can incubate apart  from it.

It is high time for those of us in the church to proclaim that radical individualism has failed

And this is a primary Occupy Theology dogma (yes,  I insist upon it) .  The Occupy movement even recognizes the indispensability of the community.  It is the incubator of resistance.  And the secular Occupy movement has trumped most of American spirituality in this way.  There are invaluable insights on what we have missed in the American church.  As Brian says, “it is high time for the church to proclaim that radical individualism has failed”.  Before I secured the domain, occupytheology,  I had sought occupychurch.  Because  for me,  this is my focus.  Radical individualism has  failed.  Has been failing.  Has always failed.  This is why,  from the beginning,  God calls apart a people.

Brian McLaren: Why I’m Joining the Occupation #OccupyChurch #OWS

June 19, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Brian McLaren,  another participant/speaker at Wild Goose later this week on Occupy:

public spaces—from economic markets to political processes—have been colonized by powerful corporate elites (the 1 percent, or maybe the 10 percent), elites driven not by an ethical vision but by the relentless demand to maximize shareholder return. The 99 percent are realizing how destructive this colonization of public spaces has become, and by simply coming back—by re-inhabiting public spaces—we are demonstrating that we see what\’s happening and we are not going to tacitly comply with its continuing.