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.
The role of the church in this crisis is that of the tireless advocate for those who are marginalized by these political processes. It is in that role that we are most faithfully following Christ in the world, among his favorites, the oppressed.
Popular movements say to us, as Jesus does, "Come, follow me." When we do this with a movement by the poor, for the poor, we become part of Christ's own body.
Occupy Wall Street is a populist movement started by those who are marginalized by the system, the unemployed, and it is our job to follow their lead. Through participation, we will shape its direction.
We do not have a program which can be codified into a DC-friendly house resolution. And I hope to God that we never will. Occupy Wall Street is the raw expression of a nascent political discontent in our country surrounding the excessive influence of corporate money on the political process, whose most flagrant expression was the $400 billion+ bailout.
Let's be clear, corporations have offered their teats, but it is the politicians that have come to drink. Politicians need to be weaned from corporate teat so that they can walk upright, as adults and providers, and look the American people, their children, in the eye again.
So shall we occupy DC or occupy Wall Street? The answer: both. But let's remember that the reason for our occupation is the fact that our politicians are suborned by corporate moneys.
Let's not get distracted by quibbling over where we should occupy or who is to blame. There is room for all of this in the broader movement which will frame the American political landscape for the next several years. The problem is more complex than any burgeoning political movement can articlulate.
And the church will be, in the words of another era, either on or off the bus.