Sunday, October 30, 2011

God's people Occupy His church

Oct.31, 1517, Wittenburg University (Hamlet's Alma Mater) Theology professor, and pastor Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church hoping to provoke discussion & debate about what he saw as abuses and excesses in the church. He encouraged believers to see for themselves in the Bible that we are saved only by God's grace through faith in Jesus alone.

"Fat cats" were telling people that you had to buy your way into Heaven. Then they used that money to build Renaissance cathedrals and to live in power and opulence themselves. But Luther knew that God wanted a personal relationship with each of us, regardless of our social station or our wealth. It is not how good we are or who we are, it is what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Seriously, a friend of mine recently started a"hash tag" on twitter & facebook, #OccupyChurch
I LOVED her idea. When you think about it cell phones & social media are probably  world-changing technology, just like Gutenberg's press was back in the 16th century. And at least in my opinion, the American Plutocracy (Wall Street banks,  multi-billionaire political donors and activists like the Koch brothers, conservative think tanks, multinational corporations and oil companies, not to mention FOX News) are a lot like the Roman papacy and the Holy Roman Empire's social and political hierarchy was back in the 1500's. Entrenched institutions bent on acquiring power and wealth and protecting it's own interests at the expense of the masses.

Of course, this time we also have the Arab Spring revolutions going on around us too. Islamic peoples have woken up to the fact that it's not Western Christians who've been oppressing them, so much as their own political despots.

Tyranny comes in many forms, but generally it happens when too much power or too much money is concentrated among too few, whether it be corrupt church leaders as we came out of the dark ages, Middle Eastern dictators, the mercantilism practiced by the British empire on her colonies, or the so called 1% in America today.

My friend wonders why are so many occupied with the pursuit of riches and fame? She admonishes us that according to Proverbs 11:4, "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."

I think that #redletterchristians need to capitalize on the growth of the #OWS movement and remind Christians that our faith is not about comfort and affluence or mega-churches with coffee bars, nor is it about political dominance and imposing our morality or our political will on others- it is about sharing the love and sacrifice, the compassion and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It is by His work on the cross, not by where we were born, the color of our skin, the thickness of our wallets, nor by our political affiliation that we are saved.

Join the discussion and share your ideas about #occupychurch, make it as active as any #occupy-name of your city here
"I have sometimes thought there could be no stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments even the most rational and manly than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent Advocates in the cause of Christ, & I wish you may give in your Evidence in this way. Such instances have seldom occurred, therefore they would be more striking and would be instead of a "Cloud of Witnesses."~ James Madison, Letter to William Bradford (September 1773

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