Occupy Protests, Part Deux

Ok, now I must rant.   I might get in trouble with some peeps who follow this blog, but you’ve been wrong before (ha!)   As I stated earlier this month about the occupy protests I do not think they are a bunch of kooks and their concerns have merit.  I do not dismiss them outright, but I do not put much hope in them changing the world as we know it either.  There is no organic moral fabric to hold them together like the Civil Rights or Arab Spring movements.

Now comes maybe one of the most over the top statements about it to date, emanating from within Christian circles.  You should know that I like Sojourners and the material they produce.  Jim Wallis is a fellow Trinity International University graduate, and a good buddy of mine is very connected to them.  I’m not a hater.  In short I love what they do.  But this recent blog entry has me scratchin’ my head.

All ways in which human governments handle wealth are inadequate.   Socialism, Capitalism, Communism – all of them are fallen in nature.   Jesus was not for any of them.  He had his own system, as money is one of the things he talked about most in Scripture.  All of the ‘isms are brutal to the human condition in some shape, form, or fashion.  The Occupy Protests are a welcome response to try to speak into some blind spots of Capitalism.

However Anne Marie Roderick goes a bit too far when she compares the protests to a “Holy Spirit moment” and calls this a “spiritual movement.”  Is it an important moment?  Is it a movement the church should pay attention to?  Should the church speak into the present inequitable income distribution?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But is it a Holy Spirit, spiritual movement?  Au contraire, my sister.

If by “spiritual movement” Roderick was echoing Paul Tillich’s “ultimate concerns,” i.e. the concern to overcome death with life, the concern to overcome emptiness and meaningless with meaning, and the concern to overcome guilt and condemnation with forgiveness and reconciliation, maybe.   What is striking about Tillich’s notion is that all of us — whether black or white or brown or yellow, whether male or female, whether straight of gay, and regardless of nationality — all of us share these same ultimate concerns simply because they are so deeply rooted in what it means to be human.

I’m not sure it is even spiritual in that limited human sense.  But this isn’t a question of semantics.  I am going to take the author at her word.  She seems to be comparing these protests to an actual move of the Holy Spirit akin to what we see in the Scriptures.

F0r starters, is there any suffering for Christ?  Is anybody repenting of sins?  Is Christ being preached?   By the author’s own admission the movement isn’t even church centric.   A Holy Spirit moment?  A spiritual movement?   As they say on ESPN Monday Night Live “C’mon, man!”  Let’s refrain from lowering our ecclesiology to inspirational historical moments.


About Alvin Sanders

An academic nerd who loves the Lord, my family, my peeps, and my hood. View all posts by Alvin Sanders

2 responses to “Occupy Protests, Part Deux

  • Jim

    two YES’s and a big CLAP!

  • Frank

    I agree totally. My wife and I spent this past Saturday with OWS in NYC. Many of them are lovely people from all walks in life, including Christians like us, who are honestly concerned about corporate greed and problems in our society. I think that they are doing an important work, as they are bringing attention to issues that have been ignored for too long.

    Is Jesus concerned about injustice and the poor? Of course. But to say that this is a movement of the Holy Spirit is a bit of a stretch. While there were a few signs, including mine, which made references to God, this was no Evangelical Camp Meeting!

    I have noticed that some people tend to attribute spirituality to events and activities that I would find commonplace. Perhaps that is the way that they prefer to view the world. I admit that I could be dead wrong about this and that perhaps the Holy Spirit is in fact moving people to fight injustice.

    I have personally experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in my life and have seen him working in the life of others. These were special moments and God was glorified, and there was a profound sense of peace and holiness. I am concerned that attributing too much to the Holy Spirit and Spirituality would devalue the real thing.


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