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The Table is the Microcosm of a Practical Faith

Generally speaking, my generation is a practical generation, and I am challenged by my faith to be a practical person. Don't get me wrong: I love all verbal and theological things: story, theology, politics, and history, perhaps even inordinately.

But I believe in places. I believe that relationships, rooted in love, transform us. And it just so happens that most lasting human relationships are formed around the table.

In the Eucharist, the ordinary is made sacred. The original Eucharist tradition as recorded in the book of Acts and later Paul was a feast that united people of all incomes and races in a common purpose.

Letter to a Seminarian from a Christian Occupier

Originally published

in Justice Unbound.

“The task of prophetic min­istry is to nur­ture, nour­ish, and evoke a con­scious­ness and per­cep­tion alter­na­tive to the con­scious­ness and per­cep­tion of the dom­i­nant cul­ture around us.” — Wal­ter Bruegge­mann, The Prophetic Imagination

I do not know how to be a pas­tor. I’m an orga­nizer. I orga­nize the church for grass­roots democ­racy, and some­times I do pastor-like things, but I am a layperson.

When a System Demands our Allegiance Away from Christ

When I am faced with dishonesty and fraud on a systemic scale, I ask questions of God. But as I trace the origins of injustice, I am directed back towards humanity. The question becomes: what can we do to end injustice?

The Washington Post reported on the massive falsification of documents by banks:

"Employees at major banks who churned out fraudulent foreclosure documents, forged signatures, made up fake job titles and falsely notarized paperwork often did so at the behest of their superiors, according to a federal investigation released Tuesday.
...

Awakening the Stillness and the Sleep of Information

Sometimes, I think, church can be dis-empowering. If I were to try to put it into my own words, the church's project is to empower each person to open themselves to the river of the Holy Spirit which transforms and renews the whole person with a continual work of healing love which moves from the inner to the outer, transforming a person's personal, economic, and political relationships as well as their material place in the world.

Is that our normal experience of church? Is this how we feel transformed by our church experience?

Foreclosure Resistance, A Prayer

Oh Lord, save your servant who trusts in you.

-Psalm 86

A prayer lifts up from the city, like the smoke of incense. A single prayer, in the myriad of others, a strand of smoke amidst a great burning.

Oh Lord, why do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? -Psalm 10

But God is listening. God hears the prayers of God's people.

The question is, are we listening? For God, who hears the prayers of his people, is calling us to listen as well. God's justice is a collective project.

The People's Prayer Breakfast: an Alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast

How does a Christian live in a power-mad world? A world that, from the perspective of the Beatitudes, is upside down. A world where the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer? Where nature herself strains at her bonds: straining for release from the carbon blanket that presses against her too hotly, maddened by a thousand poison-filled wounds? Where thousands sit in furtive silence to create machines like the one on which I write, their hands gradually succumbing to a thousand repetitions, frozen and swollen?

What does it mean to be a Christian in a world that is crucifying the poor and the environment on the same cross?

Hear the prayers of the people. Hear, oh God, the prayers of the people.

Your Asthmatic Grandchildren Will Not Care to Hear Your Reasons For Not Occupying Wall Street

How long have we been comfortable in the 1st world church? Nourishing ourselves on the warm broth of prayer and fellowship, resting and gathering strength, singing worship songs that seek an inward peace from God, a strengthened personal faith.

How much time do we spend on theologies seeking to eradicate lust, or to be more grateful for what we have? How long have we spent on our morning devotions, alone?

As another time understood, "Idle hands are the devils playthings."

The Occupy Wall Street Movement as the Body of Christ

It is difficult for individualist-minded Christians to join a populist movement. This is because we want to intellectually assent, as we would to articles of faith, to the intellectual propositions of Occupy Wall Street. But popular movements are living, breathing entities.

When we join a political movement, like when we join the church, we gain brothers and sisters we are sometimes ashamed of. There are missionaries who we dislike, dogmas and creeds that we disagree with. But we are still part of the church, following Christ, for better of for worse.

Looking up from the godless bits and vectors

It costs the (post)modern man to look at the waves and see God. The pre-modern human would have seen, in the cresting foam, an unexplainable force which could rise in fury to destroy, or, in turn, yield a rich bounty. Behind it were god(s) who must be placated or served.

But we can look at the waves and see fluid mechanics, gravity, and the protean force of life, evolving steadily: the selfish gene reproducing itself. We peer into the depths of nature and see bits or vectors, beautiful, chaotic, elegantly ordered, or dangerous.

But to look up, to God? Why would we look upwards to a Creator-God? We have all the miracle we need inside the very atoms that comprise us.

Action is a Tree Planted in the Heart

I am concerned for my generation because prevailingly, we believe that tinkering with our governmental and economic systems will create the definitively just world. For many of us, we believe that if equal opportunity and equal resources were provided, we'd arrive at utopia.

As a Christian, I am a stranger to the world, an alien, a sojourner. I find common cause with people working for a more just world, and I work alongside them. But I only believe in a better world than the one we've got, not a perfect one.

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