“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The People's Plaza! (Further reflections on the occupy movement)

NOTE: This is a follow up post to the earlier post, "What Would Jesus Occupy?"

On Friday, my wife and I had the chance to visit the People's Plaza in down town Minneapolis. (I spoke about this and more in my sermon from last Sunday.)

I wasn't sure what to expect, but as a person of faith, committed to truly growing in my faith, I have to confess that the "Universalist spirit of love and hope” invited me to show up.

Because right now, our political, economic, and financial systems aren’t working; our government no longer represent the interests of the American people; rather, money has polluted our political process and the government is more responsive to the needs of corporations than to its citizens. As a result, too many people are suffering, the planet is suffering…and I think faith communities have a role in creating a future that works for all people.

So I showed up. It was peaceful. I talked to people. There were students, unemployed folks, families, grandparents, veterans, and hundreds of others - a really diverse crowd, as you can see from the pictures. 

When people asked why I was there, I told them I was a Unitarian Universalist Minister, that my faith brought me there. That I believe in a vision of a just and fair world. 

It felt good to be there, to step out of my routines and my habits, to engage with my fellow citizens, to dream of a future that might work for our son, for all children, for all people, to occupy a public space with our bodies and our voices. To stand for justice and equality, and systems that better serves all people. 

I left feeling like this is a significant movement taking shape in our country and that the faith community has an important role to play.

I'll be back next Friday. If any First Universalist folks are interested in a "faithful field trip" down to the people's plaza, let me know. 

In the meantime, here are some other informative articles you might check out: 

1) this piece about the values and principles behind the Occupy Wall Street movement
2) this article from Rev. Marilyn Sewell, former minister of First Unitarian Portland, about how the church might respond to this movement.  
3) For you religious professional types who are reading, this one, about "Protest Chaplains."
4) And this one: "These Occupy Wall Street Protesters have a message"

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this movement and the role of the faith community...

1 comment:

Dale Howey said...

Thank you, Justin for your proactive stance on all this. I have been going to the Minneapolis downtown one and it is being coopted by some Tea Party activists. People must be present to the current plight of over 34 million people out of work barely surviving. The Right complain that not enough people are paying any taxes. Why do they thing that is? Because the jobless are lazy and don't do enough to get a job? I think is more of a poor performance from the job creators, our own capitulation from buying our own products and focusing on only one value system: monetary value instead of principal values.