I was just in a mini-stream on Twitter with
@james_ka_smith , where I tried to re-open the topic re: the church and the Occupy movement. I had tweeted a while back to JKA on this, but it didn’t seem to spark much interest on his part. He and I had done a bit of back and forth back in 2005-06 over his sense about Jim Wallis and “God’s Politics”, and I didn’t really know of his approach, which slowly worked on me to the point that I became a big fan of Jamie’s (James K.A. Smith’s) theological sensibilities here. When I read his article , “Reforming Public Theology: Two Kingdoms or Two Cities”, I thought this was an excellent positioning on the perceived relationship that the church can/should/can’t/shouldn’t with “political movements”, but in particular in the case of OWS, a “People’s Movement” that widely eschews the political assumptions of American politics.
So I saw the connections; those “affinities”; those values that naturally elicit the comradery of many Christians who have known that this economy of ours is nowhere near “adequate” as an ideal; questioning that “the American dream” visa vi the National dogma is , “the greatest idea” or “greatest country on earth” (or that the very phrase “American dream” absolutizes the ultimacy of the American form of nationalism.
When Jamie writes:
The citizen of the city of God-which is itself political in some significant sense-will always already find herself thrown into a situation of being a resident alien taking up residence in some outpost of the earthly city. Contra two-kingdom readings of Augustine, this does not necessarily translate into a basically positive or sanguine stance vis-a-vis the earthly city; rather, the first political impetus is one of suspicion, which is then tempered by ad hoc evaluations about legitimate selective collaborations for the common good. The correlate of this suspicion is, of course, a tempered evaluation of the ecclesia.
I determined that I must try to draw him into a more robust exploration of the significance of Occupy Wall Street; to be one of the contributors to whom I can turn in exploring a Theology of Occupy Wall Street.
The tweets this morning
@james_ka_smith wish I had asked you about this when I saw you in Nashville at C3 in March…you left b4 it was over, so I waited too late
@james_ka_smith as in?
@james_ka_smith also, as you rightly put “they” in quotes, it wholly depends on who you identify as “they”. Multitudes of keen analyses
@james_ka_smith and as I’ve said b4, your analyses of i.e. “God’s Politics” which we debated 7-8 years ago was ultimately convincing to me
@james_ka_smith I belabor this b/c you are first one I wonder “what would JKA say about this”? You helped shape my questioning stance here.
@james_ka_smith Want to press you on utilizing some things you say the 2 Kingdoms article & “cautious affirmation” of which you write @dlature But seriously: Twitter is not the medium for this. I don’t have pithy evaluations, nor do I probably have adequate knowledge. @james_ka_smith I’m going to put this stream of tweets in a blog post and invite comments. When you can, I will deeply desire your input. @james_ka_smith I know you’re a busy guy. But I think you would like this, bigtime. I see you contributing to this analysis big time.
@james_ka_smith in fact, I think occupytheology is deficient without your input as helping us frame this theologically @james_ka_smith and seriously, I’d love to have a 5 minute conversation via phone to just say a few things about where I’m going with this @james_ka_smith doesnt have to be now…but could be …..hope we can