Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Next Steps for Occupiers: Dec. 17th and 18th

Be there if you can. Here are a couple of links to help you get there:

As I write, OWS is coming to its 3-month anniversary. The Episcopal Cathedral in Boston has offered space for Occupy Boston to converse three nights a week, since they've been kicked out of Dewey Park. Episcopal News Service writes today of Dean of the Cathedral Jep Streit: “The issues raised by the Occupy movement are important to be discussing in society, and so I’m happy to offer our cathedral to provide hospitality and a venue so those conversations can continue," Streit said, noting he felt that attention had of late shifted to controversy over the protesters’ encampment and away from the economic and social justice issues at hand...

Meanwhile, back in NYC, the wealthiest Episcopal Church/Corporation is still making poor choices, hunger strikers are on Day 12, and protester's arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge are in court demanding proof that they broke the law.

Many people think that the OWS movement has had its day, but it won't go away, because people are finding and being found by one another, and one-anothering is the most powerful thing there is. It is acknowledging the power of belovedness that is our gift and right as human beings. Everyone deserves love, and at the very least, people deserve to meet and learn from one another. Never underestimate the power of community. Never underestimate the need for it, nor your inability to control it. Community is what we build together when we all really show up and engage with one another as equals. Implicit in this equality is that people are smart enough to ask for what they need. The Occupiers need a space in which to engage.

Just before Thanksgiving, I had lunch with a friend who had just driven back from Judson Memorial Church the morning after Mayor Bloomberg evicted protesters from Zuccotti Park. She had spent the morning hanging out with some homeless queer teens who had joined OWS because they had felt safe and like they were a part of something important, and they couldn't believe she cared to spend time with them. They asked "You're a pastor?" She assured them she was. "And you want to be with us?" She said yes, she did.

At lunch she began berating herself, and a couple of institutions, because of their privilege. She understood that her being willing to sit with the least of those among us is a conscious choice, and that she could choose to be there because of her privilege. She understands privilege in a way that escapes too many of us. I told her to be gentle with herself. She went and sat with these kids. That's all it takes sometimes to remind someone of their belovedness and humanity; space, a warm meal, some clean socks, and a place to come in out of the cold.

However, it depends on what you have. Trinity Wall Street is not merely an individual, and keeps missing the point. The decision to either exercise or forgo one's privilege (or the privilege enjoyed by one's institution) is a choice that must be made over and again, every day, in every situation. The key is to stay present. It doesn't matter what the choice was last week, or what you might hope for in the future. What you do now is the thing that matters most.

Hey Trinity! Do unto others, brothers. That land was given to you. This Christmas, give the gift of one-anothering.

Questions for reflection :)
1) Where does one go if one doesn't own something or can't afford to rent something?
2) Why do we need police to protect nonviolent gatherings in public spaces?
3) If you're afraid of gathering in a free society, are you really free?

1 comment:

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