Rev. Rich Lang
The Occupy movement is an opportunity to renew the church
After consulting with a few team leaders from Occupy Seattle, an inter-faith group of clergy is beginning the task of organizing the faith community to fully support the Occupy movement. You can help us by giving this article to your spiritual leadership.
From a Christian perspective we see this as a moment of kairos. Within the Biblical tradition there are two forms of time. There is chronos, which is clock-time, one minute following another. And then there is Spirit time, the sudden eruptions within history that give birth to hope, new ideas, and radical shifts in perception. We are discerning that the Occupy movement is kairos time, an opportunity for renewal, reform and redemption. As clergy we are hearing the Spirit call us out of the safety of our sanctuaries and into on-street performance of faith.
This is what we propose to do as an initial step of entering the Occupy movement: We have set up an ongoing on-site presence as Occupy chaplains offering our gifts as pastoral counselors, as listeners, as spiritual discerners. We have set up a tent to simply be present. As readers, you can ask your spiritual leadership to sign up and take a turn. Get a few folk from your community, to go there too.
Here are other ideas for faith communities: Host a potluck and invite an Occupier to come talk. Let that be the start of an ongoing conversation within your spiritual community. Expand the potlucks into your home inviting neighbors over to discuss the kairos happening throughout the country. Together go and visit the Occupy site, come back together and let the Spirit guide you into next steps. Trust each other.
Within the church, use this opportunity to start up classes about economic justice, particularly the debt-cancellation policies of the Jubilee. Ask your clergy to teach and preach about Jesus’ insistence that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, free the prisoner, renounce the sword and offer health care to the sick and needy.
As congregations organize we can go on to deeper usefulness. We can bring congregations into dialogue with the police insisting that they disarm against fellow neighbors and citizens. We can assert moral pressure so that the intimidation can transform into cooperation. We don’t want Oakland or Denver happening here.
We can bring congregations into direct actions against the banks too big to fail, removing our financial assets and transferring them into local community banks and credit unions. Together, if organized, the faith communities of Seattle do have a bit of muscle. There are many of us and we have friends.
We can also open our churches for Occupy meetings and as resource centers for the on-going needs of the movement. Politics have failed us and the economic system is abusing us. People are hungry for examples of moral integrity. It is most certainly a Spirit time for faith communities.
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