My favorite writer, Elizabeth O’Connor, who wrote accounts of the journey and history of The Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC, wrote about envisioning a new world in this selection from the Inward Outward blog (this blog posts daily selections from a host of great theological writings). I thought it very relevant to how interested I have been in the OWS movement.
Martin Luther King was not killed because he had a dream. Dreamers are easily dismissed. He was killed because he sought to introduce into the political arena what he saw with his heart and mind. The same was true of Gandhi and of our Lord.
As Jesus made clear his solidarity with the poor and his vocation to engage them in a liberating process, he came into confrontation with entrenched political and religious powers. As suspicion of him turned to resistance and then to hatred and fury, he began to prepare his disciples for what he would have to suffer. Peter immediately took Jesus aside to protest his continuing on what was surely a collision course….
It is often heard at Occupy gatherings: “A New World is possible”. When the Occupy movement people gather in public, and march to particular locations in an act of confronting the injustices of various power structure entrenchments that testify to the disparity in income in this country, the power structure often reacts. They pushed people off the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States this past week, as they gathered , shouting dissent with the “Citizens United” ruling with its idea that “corporations are people”.
MLK, Gandhi, and even Jesus were not a threat because they had these “spiritual visions” (if you define “spiritual” in the way that the power structures prefer, which is “internal, private, pious”….these things are not a threat. They often serve as “opiate” which keep the masses pacified). No, these men sought to ENACT the vision of a just society, and the ones who benefitted most from the inequities fought them. They employed the “law” to “keep order”. When these injustices reach a tipping point, resistance begins to take shape, and a “New World” beckons.
While OWS may not be motivated by Christians’ vision of the Kingdom of God, we can understand the movement, and can also identify with many of the particular expressions of dissent, and add our voices to the addressing of the power structures concerning those points of dissent. It aligns with what I see as a calling of the church to proclaim a “Year of Jubilee”.