Wednesday, October 19, 2011

God / Mammon / Occupy

Theological Learnings as of Late:

The God of Christian theology is a God who sacrifices himself
in order to lift up the poor and the lowly.

The God called Mammon (Wealth, Money, Greed)
is a god who, when worshiped,
(and without exception)
demands human sacrifice.

So our Lord says:
You can't serve God and Mammon. -Matt 6:24b
You can't serve God and Money.
You can't serve God and Wealth.


You can not.

Unfortunately, our current economic and political systems are set up in such a way that those in power:
our politicians, our banks, our corporations,
do not worship the God of the Bible,
or the God, for Christians, made known in Christ.
Even if they pray.

Rather, the powerful of our day, much like the powerful throughout much of the Bible, and history,
are willing to crucify most of humanity in exchange for, not 30 pieces of silver (Matt 27:5),
but, rather, for all the wealth and kingdoms of the world (Matt 4:9).

Corporations, banks, and politicians have given in to Satan's lure in the wilderness:

the temptation that Christ resisted (Matt 4:10),

and the temptation that Judas repented from in suicide (Matt 27:5).

The worship of Mammon has resulted in the sacrifice of the innocent (Matt 27:4),
leaving humanity the beaten and bloodied Body of Christ (Rom 7:4),
hoping, yearning, and longing for Resurrection.

Until Resurrection begins and overcomes, the Church preaches Christ Crucified (1 Cor 1:23).
And we look, earnestly, for the Resurrection of the Dead (Nicene Creed).

It has become quite clear to me, as I have been reading through the Gospel of Matthew this year,
a Gospel that shows Jesus constantly criticizing both popular religion and those in political power, urging them to repent for the sake of Love, for the sake of the poor (Matt 19:21) and for sake of the Kingdom of God,

(a Kingdom where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first; the lowly lifted up and the high brought down, a Kingdom where blessed are the hungry, those who hunger for justice, and those who weep; where blessed are the poor and the poor in spirit, the merciful, and those who are now persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned for the sake of God's Kingdom of justice and mercy and Love
BECAUSE one day that WILL NOT BE THE CASE anymore) (Matt 5, etc., etc., etc.),

a message that ultimately leaves him arrested and crucified (Matt 27)...

It's become quite clear that if Christians actually care at all about following and/or proclaiming Christ's teachings,

then out of Love for our neighbor,
out of care for the 99% (or whatever number you prefer)...
Out of care for the crowds (who, in Jesus' time, were the 10% of the people who only had 90% of the wealth), to whom Jesus ministers (Matt 5:1, Matt 8:1, etc.)
the world-wide crowd we now see beaten and lying on the side of the road (Lk 10:30-37)
while the powerful feast with fine wine from thrones on high...
Out of care for the cracked and broken people whom Jesus calls the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt 5:13-16)...

out of Love, we, the Church, are now being called to act.

Fortunately, as in the Life of Jesus, as well as in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit often moves first outside of houses of worship, and then sends messengers to the faithful: prophets, missionaries, Christ himself.

As stated above, our current economic situation, I believe, is not just economic or political.
It is a Spiritual crisis.
And, at root, it is a problem of Idolatry.

I believe the Holy Spirit has begun to work in a great and visible way in the Occupy movements around the globe. Though critique has often held that the message of the protesters is often unclear, or at least muddled, it seems one thing is clear:

People are angry about Greed and injustice.

The call of the people, in religious language, is a call to those in power to repent.

To change a system wallowing in the Sin of excess.

Calling the 1% to turn from their idolatry. (They do have a chance to repent).

To serve the poor, whom Christ served, and to turn away from the God called Mammon.

In this sense, this is a deeply spiritual movement.

And the church would do well to open its doors and ears and join in the call of Amos and Isaiah and John the Baptist and Christ.

The church would do well to speak truth to power, and call the 1% to repent.

In the name of the Crucified and Resurrecting God.


1 comment:

  1. Nice post Tom but I don't think it is just the one percent who practice this idolatry. To a certain extent we all practice it and hope to have wealth and power, and I think we are all to blame to a certain degree for the current state of affairs.