Wall Street Jurnal Front Page "Occupy Movement"

Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff once said that the Holy Spirit always works in groups. His statement, I believe, is true, and is evident within the Occupy Movements springing up in cities across the  United States and the world.

If there is a mantra to the movement, it seems to be centered around the concept that 1 percent of people have the money to buy power and retain control over the remaining 99 percent of humanity.  As far as I can tell, no solutions have been expressed, and no demands have been made. It’s a movement without centralized leadership, but the message expressed is strong:  those who have, have too much and the powers that be are complacent, allowing one small fraction of humanity to flourish while the remaining 99 percent struggles.  If the reader thinks slavery is no longer viable, think again.  Slavery is flourishing under the name of consumerism entirely backed by corporations, and the banking industry.

The Occupy Movement is, on the whole, secular. I would venture to say that few involved could, if pressed, place a theological name on anything taking place.  The movement, however, has strong theological implications. One connection to be made can be found in The Lord’s Prayer:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. “

Aside from the patriarchal nature of the word “Father”, which was natural in the century in which the prayer was written, the sub-text of the word “Father” denotes a leader, the head of a household. Since God is holy, we are then reminded that we are not given the name for God as this Father is beyond our capacity to know in the fullness of being. It was believed knowing a person’s name gives up some of their power. God is hallowed (holy, set apart) so we are not given a chance to take from God any power. As the one who is hallowed, and head of the cosmic household we pray God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. What then is God’s will? What is God’s kingdom?

A theme which permeates Biblical Literature is what John Dominic Crossan calls “distributive justice.” This is not justice as we know from judicial courts, but justice in the form of all people free of want, all given according to their need — not out of personal emotive gluttony, but enough to flourish. This is very much in tune with what the Occupy Movement. If this movement is truly an act of the Holy Spirit, then it must not ask for justice in the name of retribution, but a paradigm alteration exploring what it means to have “enough.” It is asking us to define, within God’s kingdom, the meaning of having enough. What is enough, and can we live within these boundaries. It is asking us to consider, or reconsider the meaning of success.

The Lord’s Prayer bids, “give us today our daily bread.” I highlight the word “today”, as it appears that some people, or corporate entities feel as though having daily bread means that it should be enough to last three life times, and should also include the bread of their neighbors, or for that matter, the bread of other countries as well. The famous prayer merely asks for enough bread for today building upon the trust that there will be enough daily bread for the next day as well.

At the present time it is not known if the wellspring Occupy Movement will last. I highly doubt it will become a political movement  and I don’t think it was intended to become an organized political entity. But, as a theological expression, the cries of the people are viable enough to push against the rampart of the one percent, displaying cracks in this fortress of gluttony.

Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.