Friday, December 23, 2011

Christians and Occupy Wall Street

A good article on Occupy Wall Street is Jordan J. Ballor's How Christians Ought to "Occupy" Wall Street (and All Streets).  Here are a few select quotations:
It is true of course that the Christian gospel has inherently social implications, and that in some cases direct political action and social activism are entailed, at least for individual Christians working out of their own convictions, if not always for the institutional church itself. It makes sense, then, that the consciences of some Christians are deeply pricked by the message emanating from the Occupy movement and have wholeheartedly thrown their lot in with the cause of the so-called "99 percent." This is in part why religious activists like Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne have positively engaged the Occupy movement.
But involvement in and support of the Occupy protests do not represent a normative way for Christians of all convictions to engage the world. We are not all called to identify ourselves with the rebelliousness of the perpetually outraged. In identifying the institutions of the church with these protest movements ecclesial leaders risk overlooking the most important occupiers: those Christians who occupy the pews every Sunday morning and pursue various occupations throughout the week. The range of cultural engagement by Christians is therefore coextensive with the panoply of morally legitimate activities in the world. This has been true from the church's earliest beginnings. 
Later he writes:
What this means is that there are Christians who already occupy Wall Street every day in their occupations as businessmen and women, bankers and investors, traders and executives, secretaries and receptionists, janitors and security guards. The church's responsibility to these "occupiers" is to provide them with the moral and spiritual formation necessary to be faithful followers of Christ every day in their productive service to others.
And then the article ends with this:
Christians therefore must occupy the world in their occupations, doing all their work as Christians, whatever it is, "whether in word or deed," as the Apostle Paul instructs, "in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3:17 NIV). In this way the church finds its most significant and transformative cultural engagement through its affirmation of the daily work of Christians who already occupy Wall Street (and all streets).