Chris Hedges spoke to Episcopal Bishop George Packard, who says in a restaraunt overlooking Zucotti Park: “The spirit is calling us now into the streets, calling us to reject the old institutional orders. ”
This is the kind of Pentecost that I see coming. And it reminds me of the warning in Revelation: “Because you are lukewarm, I am about to spit you out of my mouth…..Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.
When I see churches focusing so much of their energies of “surviving” instead of “being the church”, I think of this. When there are glaring problems in our national life which impacts so many, and the keepers of the national treasure continue to , blindly, take from the poor to give to the forces of destruction (military), to feed the beast of the industrial military complex, and continue to make it easier and easier for the very rich to amass yet more, I see that there is no other choice than to call these acts of “The Principalities and Powers”.
Hedges writes of Bishop Packard:
Packardâ€™s moral and intellectual courage stands in stark contrast with the timidity of nearly all clergy and congregants in all of our major religious institutions. Religious leaders, in churches, synagogues and mosques, at best voice pious and empty platitudes about justice or carry out nominal acts of charity aimed at those bearing the weight of resistance in the streets. And Packardâ€™s arrests serve as a reminder of the price that weâ€”especially those who claim to be informed by the message of the Christian Gospelâ€”must be willing to pay to defy the destruction visited on us all by the corporate state. He is one of the few clergy members who dare to bear a genuine Christian witness in an age that cries out in anguish for moral guidance.
Packard is not short on his ire for lukewarm Christianity:
Those in the church may be good-hearted and even well-meaning, but they are ignoring the urgent, beckoning call to engage with the world.
It is only outside the church that you will find the spirit of God and Christ. And with the rise of the Occupy movement it has become clear that the institutional church has failed. It mouths hollow statements. It publishes pale Lenten study tracts. It observes from a distance without getting its hands dirty.