Monday Interfaith Service at Occupy San Diego

Occupy for Jesus!

I’ve been down to Occupy San Diego four times–most recently to attend the interfaith prayer service on Monday. That morning Occupy had dwindled down to a rag-tag bunch that was chiefly holding the space. It was mostly young people–lots of dreads and piercings as some critics have noted–with an older crowd attending the prayer service. It didn’t look like a movement that could remake our economy, so why do I “waste” my time? The answer is simple.

As a Christian, I think the inequality of wealth in this country is profoundly immoral–for the super-rich it is a soul-destroyer; for the rest of us it is oppressive and unfair. I believe the Kingdom of God (sorry about the monarchical/patriachal language but that is a term that still has great power for me) is not about dividing us into rich and poor and all the attendant evils that go with that division. When we recognize that we are all children of God and are loved by the Godhead solely on that basis, we will have no need for such divisions. Our society’s emphasis on riches and power is a symptom of a spiritual lack. Get right with God and you don’t need or want all that.

That’s my theological framework, let me make it more concrete. What if we had an economic system where the spread between the rich and the poor was limited to a factor of 10. A migrant worker might make $25,000 and the vineyard owner might make $250,000. That still a pretty big difference as anybody who has lived on those two incomes could tell you, but we would have a much more unified society than we have now. Furthermore, I think that is closer to what Jesus intended. How do we get there? What if all those who are made more than $250,000 gave the rest of it away to the poor, to the community, to their CHURCH! (no this isn’t a stewardship testimony, but it is connected). Frankly this is a bargain for the rich–Jesus asked the rich man to give it allaway! For me, this is just one piece in getting to an economy that is more directly informed by Christian values. I have no illusions that this will be easy or will occur tomorrow, but as a person of faith I also have hope that with God all things are possible. In the meantime I will continue to join and support Occupy whenever I can and I urge you to do the same.

Phil Petrie

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