“And the call of action should be to END the PRIVATE CONTROL over our MONEY system.
DEMAND PUBLICLY OWNED, NOT-FOR-PROFIT, STATE RUN BANKS IN EVERY STATE”
I walked into this group of the strangest people ever. At 14, I have a feeling I was the youngest there. The eldest could’ve been in his sixties. He had glasses, a kind face and a loud voice. My history teacher had suggested I come, he would’ve been mid twenties at the youngest. A rag tag group of complete strangers, meeting outside the Chinese embassy in the tiny capital city of Canberra. We were staging a silent protest to “speak” out against China’s aggressive and obvious rape and invasion of Tibet. Free Tibet was our slogan. It had become the middle name of my Hotmail signature – Jeremy ‘free Tibet” Randall. My 14 year old enthusiasm had found an outlet.
In hindsight, I feel like the protest did nothing. It broke out of its silence as soon as we saw the government officials we were there for, exit the building. It may have been different if we had 20,000, but 20 just didn’t cut the mustard. So when we decided to split up, I walked home. Half way through the 2 hour long walk I was picked up by a stranger and driven most of the rest of the way. I’ve protested smaller and stupider things, I’ve put on benefit shows and have been a Compassion advocate. But nothing that has felt like it was on a global scale.
But at the small local scale, there is still this sense of being focused on a goal. And whilst focusing on that goal the relationships that are built are irrelevant outside of the goal. I once presented a speech to my high school with a girl who ran in completely different circles to me in the social hierarchy of the playground. But we worked together to not only inform our school but also begin a discussion with our local member of parliament.
A good friend of mine walked onto the location of #occupyDenver. She described it in similar words:
“it was awesome. the people are so passionate and all love each other so much, i couldn’t help but think that they are better than the church, there was complete order and acceptance for everyone there.
There is a whole “kitchen” section that is tables packed with food all from people who just drop it off for the protestors because they are there 24/7
and we were immediately greeted by this really nice woman who explained everything that was going on.
There was a circle of a ton of people and it was called the “general assembly” and there was one small short man who was kind of helping lead things and someone would raise their hand to talk and everyone would listen
and if someone didnt agree there was a special sign they would make with their hands to give a rebuttal and everyone stayed quiet and respectul to each other even if they weren’t agreeing
One man who a friend of mine talked with was like “i just came to this to be a part of something, to have purpose and love, its so indicative of what everyone is searching for”.
Ever since chatting with her I began reading up on the occupy world sites. And I found there were many common themes.
One man wrote
“I think it’s incredible. I’m sitting here with fifty and sixty-year-old folk, who work at Walmart, who are standing next to anarchists, who are getting their arms broken by the same riot cops. I’ll walk into a general assembly with an idea, and somebody will make it better and add to it, and by the end of this hour long conversation, it’s this incredibly solid, powerful idea. I’m always so moved by how you really need to trust the people around you and let go of your own personal preconceptions.”
Through out the many interviews and videos and even the tweets I’ve read there is this common thread of no one being a leader but everyone being a leader. That everyone is apart of this movement even those who can’t stay all week that only bring their kids down on the weekend. There is the front liners and the support liners. The idea of consensus democracy, where everyone can have a say. Even down to – in some areas the occupy sites are banned from using amplified sound so they use human microphones. The front group echo’s the speaker to the next group and the next group until the whole area has heard the speaker. And as such, everyone shares what is spoken by speaking it themselves, to others.
The occupy movement seems to be inclusive, everyone is invited to join the occupation. Rejoicing in the opportunity to honour others point of view. Being patient with each other, making decisions as a unit. Naomi Klein, who has spoken at many sites and has written an amazing article ended one of her books with the sentiment that the only hope the world has is through loving community. She opened a notable speech with a simple “I love you”. This protest, this occupation is based on a loving ideal that equality should, and can be restored to the world.
One interview I read, the interviewer asked “How long will the occupation go on? – The answer – “Forever. When the world is fair these people will go home”
And what will they do until the world is fair?
“You talk. You play. You laugh.
You get together to discuss how things could be done differently.”
It’s a utopian ideal that the world would rise up, right all the wrongs, make everything fair and then go home to a heaven-like world.
Some figures suggest that supporters of the protesters have raised a quarter of a million dollars so that the protesters can eat. More and more sites are being occupied. But the detractors are asking – “but what do they want? What are their demands?” and the one that makes me laugh the most “When will they get back to work?” and I feel like that is part of the system that is being protested. That people are merely a cog in a giant money making scheme.
Some nice posts have been written about what the occupiers are vying for, but without official spokespersons there is no official demands. One eludes to it:
“We want to replace a society based on selfishness and materialism with a society based on caring for each other and caring for the planet.”
We do. The idea that the 99 percent are camping out on the streets to build anything less is farcical. They aren’t spreading a message of selfishness by honouring another’s opinion, or sharing food, or losing sleep, or being uncomfortable on the streets. The 99 fights for the 99 and in a way, I think, for the 1 per cent too. For in equality will we find more of a communal spirit.
“A society based on caring for each other” – is an echo of the trinity.
The kingdom of heaven is like an international uprising of men, women and children from all walks of life, collectively screaming – “FREEDOM”.
Irrelevant, I think, of political and religious ideologies, the trinity craves united concern for the voiceless, a commitment for mercy and justice. #occupythekingdom.
At this point i’d like to point out that i am not labeling occupy as a kingdom of God fueled movement. It is not, it is fueled by human motives – i use it as a parallel.
Christ asks us to pray and live as if we occupy the kingdom already – bring heaven to earth in our behaviour and our championing of the broken and hopeless. How much more, if that heaven is brought to earth by 99 per cent of humanity?
If the 99 percent went out to #occupythekingdom…. If we fought for education and health care for the poorest. If we redistributed wealth, empowered each other to be interdependent as opposed to independent from or dependant on welfare. Cut out war, and relearn what it means to be committed to one another through intentional communal commitment to reinstate fairness across the board. We would be occupiers of a kingdom that will never waste away. Wall street crashes, occupywallstreet can be arrested and jailed, but when we #occupythekingdom we become flag bearers of the home we were designed for.
And how long will our occupation last?
“Forever, when the world is fair we will be home”
But what does our occupation look like?
“We want a new bottom line so that institutions, corporations, government policies, and even personal behavior is judged rational or productive or efficient not only by how much money or power gets generated, but also by how much love and kindness, generosity and caring, environmental and ethical behavior, and how much we are able to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement the grandeur and mystery of all Being….. – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-message-and-strategy-for-occupy-wall-street
search kingdom of God.
search Gods word.
Random thought i shared with brandon whilst walking home from a chinese mint tea.
Take your best friend, his wife, your wife and get a house next to a community. Pub, Sports club, Theatre crew, fast food restaurant etc etc. This is your ministry. Forget about going over seas, Forget about the mega church up the road. This community is yours to disciple. Begin with a common love. Beer, soccer, a skill, a preference. and build relationship on that common love. Hang out a lot at the pub, learn to play soccer better – join a team, referee games, work there. Have your new friends into your home, go into theirs. Let God work through you to change this community into the kingdom of God – “when light sits down, darkness flees.”
Work. Get a job. Spend money, pay off a mortgage. With the end goal – to bring heaven to earth. Earth being, this piece of land and the people who walk its soil.
Money, work, houses are a means to an end – to use, to bring the kingdom here.
When we get to heaven, could we bring 60 people, that we discipled and built together a bigger part of the kingdom – all 60 of which changed the world in their own right?
For 2 years of my life I paid rent, filled my car with petrol and worked 9 hours a day for no other reason other then – i had to. Then it began to click in me. My house could be the hub of a community. We didn’t effect change in our suburb. But we effected change in a group of people we loved. In each other.
But could we push that ideal further. Like our mortgages, sometimes our church communities have no direct purpose other then because we have to. We have to go to church on sunday, we have to have a building, we have to… But are these groups discipling anything?
I met four missionaries from America who have recently moved to a city on the south coast of Australia. Their mission field? – A whole city. Then they shrunk it smaller to a main people group. They have set up coffee nights, and have joined support groups and networks. They go to where the people are – in their homes, their hang outs. The two families have young kids but their focus means they are parenting in the midst of discipleship.
Where is our focus?
Do we need to go somewhere and “plant”?
or are we stuck in the “have tos” of societal thinking?
Jesus walks into a whole group of the religious elite and speaks, quite bluntly –
“GOD NEEDS YOU TO GIVE AWAY YOUR MONEY – its time for Jubilee.”
When God was teaching his people about being a nation, in the midst of all the instruction and rebuilding of dignity from being slaves – his plans for His economy was a year of giving, of release of slaves, of rest. The jubilee year. Deuteronomy describes it better. But from what i feel from it is – God wanted people to rely on Him.
When we entrench ourselves in the making of money, of the collection of resources, the construction of good business. It is so easy to find all of our security in our own hands. Some would argue that this is why we get good grades, good degrees, good jobs – so we can get a good mortgage and have security. And if you suggest to someone with all of this security built up, to give it away because God wants to provide for them himself, brains hemorrhage. We enjoy standing in the way of God.
So God asked his children to give him a year. A year of giving away, of celebration, of releasing slaves, a getting out of his way so that he had more room to bless us. – Sounds pretty good right? But when Christ walks into a room of intelligent, well versed in history, religious leaders the reaction wasn’t “hooray, lets give away all our stuff”. The men responded with violence, with a murderous intent. They weren’t willing to even consider, giving up all they had. Their consciences communicated so loudly that what he spoke was true, that to silence him and their own internal voices, they needed to destroy the speaker – Jesus.
Fast forward 2000 years – America, christian nation – Australia, based in christian ideals – England head of the church of England. Imagine a year of jubilee in the midst of todays economy, where money is tighter then it has been, and slavery is secret, and up to 27 million people involved. Christ walks in and calls on our international community to give away everything for the next year.
I’ve heard a lot of dispersions on the occupy wallstreet protest. How they are just the unemployed, they have no demands, they “need” demands to be legitimate. I don’t speak for them. but i love the echo of what they could be. #occupythekingdom calls for multinational corporations to trust God. To give to the broken. Not to the lazy, to the broken. To empower the unskilled, to retrain the ignorant. And even more then that, the kingdom of God calls on all business to be fair and just. Imagine if MacDonalds, the flag ship of globalised fast food and economic oppression, decided to run ad campaigns of truth. That eating fresh food, around a table as a family was better for the commitment and health of the family, then eating separate fast food when its convenient to each member. Imagine if they treated their illegal immigrant work force with respect, getting them legitimate citizenship and health care, training them for longevity instead of using them as a disposable workforce.
When we #occupythekingdom we trust our king to be and do what he says he will. Look at the pigeons – God takes care of them, his son died for you, not the pigeons. He has adopted you, he runs to you and is with you when we are humble. He destines us for greatness (etc throughout existence).
If the pharisees responded to Christ by giving away all there stuff – what would’ve happened?
If the entire “one per cent” gave away 99 per cent of their person net worth to the “3rd world” what could happen? Especially using their innovative business skills to empower and build an economy for them.
What if the entire 100 per cent worked to design and live the economy of God?
It starts with us. We need #occupythekingdom in the jubilees God directs us in. Even if its 20c. The lady who gave away less then that even tho it was all she had was occupying Gods kingdom.
Take to the streets? Love and mercy and generosity on the streets.