Friday, December 2, 2011

#OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Dec. 2, 2011

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
serving #Occupy movement and Occupier communities in the Greater Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area
Twitter: @OccupyPDXigc #ChaplainsOccupyPDX | Facebook:
IRC: #opdxigc on NewNet

Dec. 2, 2011

Notes from Sarah: Mic check! December already. Streets, retail windows and shopping malls are all decked up for Christmas. In a hollow gesture whose main motive is marketing for what is supposed to be the biggest retailing season of the year, symbolism of Christmas (in turn, those of earlier winter holidays of Europe predating the arrival of Christianity there) is exploited and co-opted for the pursuit of Dollar Almighty.  While many small business owners who are barely surviving in this economic climate are also counting on the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve to make up for the year's loss, it is often the big box retailers that report retail figures that would ultimately affect Wall Street stock prices and indexes (and in turn, the value of the U.S. Dollars against foreign currencies).

"View in Wall Street from Corner of Broad...
Image via Wikipedia
Who had imagined, a year ago, the still-nascent popular movement in northern Africa would blossom into what is now a worldwide phenomenon?  At the same time, we also live with the risk that the messages of #OWS may be exploited and co-opted for the pursuit of electoral partisan politics for 2012, by and for the very One Percenters who ultimately do not give a rodent's bottom about the concerns and grievances of the 99%.

Keeping true to the spirit of the message is always a challenge.  Christianity, too, in its long history has lost its original message -- and even became implicit in bloody acts of genocide, war, plunders and other evils, as the Church became co-opted by the Roman Empire and subsequent political entities of Europe and later Americas.  Lest one may falsely think Christianity is the only culprit, even Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism and Shinto have been used to promote militarism and imperialism in Japan during the first half of the 20th century,

This holiday season, we explore what our message is -- both as Occupiers and as people of various spiritual and faith traditions.  Most, if not all, religions in the world have since time immemorial, emphasized that people have a moral obligation to care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.  The Occupy movement has done this remarkably, without resorting to oft-hypocritical, and unnecessarily paternalistic and disempowering, language of conventional religions.  While doing so, the Occupations throughout the world also fulfilled an important prophetic role in reminding the people to care for one another.  Yet, this aspect of the Occupy movement has been one of the most attacked and vilified by the politicians, government bureaucrats, and the mainstream media.

We need to stay true to our commitment for social, economic and cultural justice -- among several other messages.  To ignore or downplay it is to allow the Occupy movement to be co-opted by the very system of oppression at its own peril.

IGC news: 
  • We have officially adopted a statement of solidarity with all regional Occupy movement in the greater Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.  We are here to stand in solidarity with all manifestations of the Occupy movement in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in Oregon, as well as Clark County, Washington.
  • We have three new chaplains join our team this week and now we are 22-member strong, attesting to the continued strength of the Occupy movement.  New members are: Aurora WindDancer, Alethea K. Devi, and Shannon Batts.
  • The Order of the Serene Wisdom is drafting its monastic rule, which is largely derived from Benedictine tradition and from the Rule of St. Basil the Great (which promotes a more "horizontal" and communitarian/collectivist form of monasticism, than the Rule of St. Benedict, which has a more hierarchical, "vertical" outlook), but rewritten to reflect the unique needs of a truly interfaith community in the #Occupy era.  To participate in this project, join the OSW Facebook group.
Upcoming events and announcements:
  • Thursday, Dec. 22: Winter Solstice Interfaith Peace-In.  Time/location TBA.
  • We are requesting donations of blankets, sleeping bags, and coats for the Occupy Giving! event on Saturday, Dec. 10.  Details will be posted as soon as available.  If you are connected to a faith community, we encourage you to get the word out there.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment