A year ago when the Occupy Wall Street movement developed, it was easy to recognize a correlation between the church’s mission and #OWS’s. It’s participants were attempting to forge a different way of gathering that was egalitarian and grass roots. It’s decision making was communal and encouraged a type of shared leadership most churches can only dream of. And it represented a sense of radical equality and justice that is consistent with the gospel.
It was also easy to snipe at. Conservatives and Liberals both attacked the movement for not looking like more traditional movements or turning into a think tank that writes up public policy and lobbies for their adoption. By trying to live in a different way with different priorities and a different understanding of success, the beltway establishment, desperate to evaluate and judge the movement, criticized it for what it wasn’t. Perhaps because it didn’t understand what it is. It still doesn’t.
I’ve always thought there was much that it could teach those of us in church leadership (and here are other posts about #Occupy). Now I’m just overwhelmed. With Strike Debt and its new project, Rolling Jubilee, they’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. As in specifically the very thing we ought to be doing: bringing justice, saving people, and destroying predators.
When I saw the announcement of the Rolling Jubilee a few weeks ago, I recognized something that would be troubling for many in the religiously-affiliated Judeo-Christian set: a secular organization organizing around our idea of jubilee. It raises those old arguments about whether something can be Christian or Jewish without it being about GOD, and new ones about the “spiritual but not religious” set. I do have some of those reactions.
I’d love to hear yours!
Here’s the thing, though. This question is honestly very important. It is made all the harder for us because we aren’t doing anything like this. Furthermore, it is good Christians who actually create this system of oppression, breaking the commands to charge no interest and to not exploit the weak. We aren’t bringing the Kingdom closer when we believe in personal ownership and ignore the cries of those in pain: two radically unChristian behaviors.
Is it possible that GOD is doing a new thing with new people because we aren’t getting the job done? Isn’t this what emergence looks like?