Friday, February 03, 2012

"Why I Support #OWS as a Reformed Theologian": My Most Recent Publication

Maybe some of you remember Occupy Wall Street (#OWS), that big news story of last Fall. Did you know it's still going? Approximately 400 folks were recently arrested during a protest action in Oakland, CA, in an incident where some reports say police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at crowds of protesters composed primarily of families (yes, including children).

Maybe some of you may remember my "Nein!" to Robert Grow concerning #OWS.

Those of you who DO remember may be interested in hearing that thinking on these matters has continued, and that it has born fruit in an article published recently in Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice, a publication maintained by the PC(USA). The article is entitled, "Why I Support #OWS as a Reformed Theologian", and while some of the material from my response to Grow found its way into this article, there are significant amounts of new material as well.

In my estimation, #OWS raises profound questions for American society - indeed, for Western society as a whole. The church, and especially its theologians and pastors, would be foolish to ignore it. I'll leave you with part of my conclusion. You'll need to surf on over to read the article in full.
In our nation today, it is #OWS that calls our soci­ety back to a con­cern for social jus­tice, for tak­ing the side of the poor and oppressed and stand­ing with them against the priv­i­leged, and who remind the church of its respon­si­bil­ity for faith­ful and active covenant rela­tion­ship with God. Karl Barth, per­haps the great­est Reformed the­olo­gian since John Calvin, once wrote that “God may speak to [the church] through Russ­ian Com­mu­nism, a flute con­certo, a blos­som­ing shrub, or a dead dog. We do well to lis­ten to [God] if [God] really does.” Whether you pre­fer to think of #OWS as Russ­ian Com­mu­nism, a flute con­certo, a blos­som­ing shrub, or a dead dog, I believe that the Reformed tra­di­tion shoves us rudely toward the affir­ma­tion that #OWS is where God is speak­ing to the church in this time and place. This cer­tainly does not mean that the church must now pro­claim the gospel of #OWS. Indeed, that would be a very seri­ous mis­take. But #OWS reminds the church of some­thing that it has for­got­ten, namely, that faith­ful and active shoul­der­ing of covenan­tal respon­si­bil­ity in rela­tion­ship with God ineluctably involves love of neigh­bor by tak­ing the side of the poor and oppressed and work­ing in our soci­ety for justice.
==================================

2 comments:

Bobby Grow said...

Good article, Travis!

W. Travis McMaken said...

Thanks, Bobby - spread the word!