I don't get the "Occupy (OWS) Movement." I was waiting to see if they might develop a concrete political agenda or a unifying philosophy, but I never expected that they would develop a "theology." Recently the NYC branch tried to occupy property owned by Trinity (Episcopal Church) Wall Street. The protestors, including a retired Episcopal bishop (pictured above), were arrested after the refusal by those in charge of the church as well as the Presiding Bishop of TEc of the OWS' request for a peaceful occupation of the church grounds. One of those arrested, Tim Beaudoin, posted a report at "America: The Catholic Church Weekly" which contained these strange statements:
"Occupy is appealing to Trinity, a very wealthy church, to share its resources (prime Manhattan real estate, currently empty but presently leased on a short-term basis to a tenant) with the Occupy movement whose social goals are ostensibly the same as Trinity’s – a more just world for more people – and many of whose participants explicitly dedicate themselves to the cause for reasons of religion or spirituality. Some in Occupy use religious language of 'sanctuary' for Occupy in their appeal to Trinity, because we were forcibly evicted from Zuccotti and have been hounded out of other public places since then. A religious organization like Trinity, many argue, ought to appreciate a basic point from the theological tradition: ongoing material space that is artistically curated, ritually inhabited, and safely overseen is essential for an ongoing witness to a more deeply flourishing reality...
...I think we have a very important theological matter before us when Occupy, through its religious-leader allies, is saying to Trinity Wall Street: We in Occupy -- as a multifaith, interreligious, spiritually pluralistic movement that is also and equally a nonreligious, secular movement -- can better meet your mission as a Christian church in this particular time, and this particular place, with negligible negative financial impact (Trinity is a very wealthy community)..."
I don't think the Occupy people get it either, I am unaware of the "theological tradition" behind "...material space that is artistically curated, ritually inhabited...", since that description might fit a number of non-Christian spaces as well as quite a few Episcopal churches.
And might "safely overseen" be properly interpreted to mean, "squatters will be evicted"?
If, as many in the Episcopal church see it, the mission of the Church is to promote various liberal political and social causes, then the author may have a valid argument about OWS being better able to meet the Episcopal church's mission. After all, OWS doesn't have all those pesky trappings of religion as well as the cost of suing dissenting members to slow it down.
But, if OWS thinks the mission of the church is to sue other Christians, then there is no way OWS can do better than David Booth Beers and the TEc legal team.
I have to admit that Tim Beaudoin's "a multifaith, interreligious, spiritually pluralistic movement that is also and equally a nonreligious, secular movement" is a pretty good description of the Episcopal church of 2012.
Perhaps the OWS folks do need a philosophy, but they should forget about the theology.
Let us pray that they look to God who is our rock and salvation for sanctuary from whatever it is that is persecuting them.