Why I’m Going to Occupy Wall Street, by Rev. Sharon Delgado

Rev. Sharon Delgado

Please welcome guest blogger, Sharon Delgado, she is a good friend, and when I read this piece it seemed to fit as a follow up article to my post last week.  I hope you enjoy it.  I find it very exciting and challenging.  Sharon has been a friend and companion board member of Earth Justice Ministries for close to twenty years.  You can follow her blog at  http://sharondelgadoblog.blogspot.com.  Thanks for welcoming her, Hilary

Why I’m Going to Occupy Wall Street

By The Reverend Sharon Delgado

 I plan to go to the Occupy Wall Street encampment on October 21st, after my post-surgery check up with my cardiologist.  I now have a pacemaker, so I’ll see if it sets off the metal detector at airport security.  I’ll try to remember to place my borrowed cell phone to my right ear instead of my left so that its electromagnetic field doesn’t interfere with the pacemaker.  I won’t be able to walk very fast or march very far.  I don’t yet know where I’ll sleep, shower, store my computer, or type up reports to send home.

I’m not going because I need to find something to do.  My life is full.  I write and speak and have meaningful work.  I’m surrounded by friends and family, including my beautiful grandchildren.  I love my garden.  Still, I plan to go.  I see Occupy Wall Street as a light in the darkness of this time.

I feel called to go to the economic center, to the heart of what Walter Wink called “The Domination System, the interlocking network of political, economic, military, and ideological institutional powers, a system that seeks to control the world and play God in peoples’ lives.  I am going to stand in solidarity with those who are oppressed by the current system of corporate-dominated Empire, and to hear stories and sing songs of hope.  I plan to join my voice with those who shout out that the Emperor has no clothes, that the Market is not ultimate, that there is a more compassionate way.  I intend to make visible my refusal to bow to this idol, this usurper, and to join with people of conscience and witness to my faith that “another world is possible.”

I have been advocating, and sometimes agitating, for peace, justice, and the environment for over thirty years.  For the past twelve years my work has focused on economic justice and the effects of growing corporate power on our culture, government, and global institutions.  I have worked to educate people on these issues and to move people to action, including direct action.  I have led nonviolence trainings and been arrested for civil disobedience many times.

My book, Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization (Fortress, 2007), is an attempt to educate and motivate people of faith and conscience to join the global struggle for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.  This is the most important and urgent issue of our time, for if we continue to allow corporations to set the agenda and the Market to rule, we face a living hell of social, economic, and environmental ruin.  The alternative is a global awakening of “we the people” to what is at stake, to our responsibilities as moral agents, and to the power we have when we join with others to work for a more compassionate world.  This includes a commitment to participatory democracy and refusal to comply with corporate rule.

The good news is that this awakening is happening now!  Around the world, people are joining together in local communities, forming coalitions with others working on various issues, networking beyond regional boundaries, forming a global network, a “movement of movements,” a people’s globalization, a “globalization from below”

The festivals of resistance taking place on Wall Street and other occupation sites have become visible on the world stage and have captured the imagination of those of us who have been yearning for social transformation.  The whole world is watching to see what will happen next.  These spontaneous outpourings springing up around the around the world are the most hopeful signs I’ve seen in a long, long time.

For me, this is a matter of faith.  I feel compelled to follow Jesus, who lived simply, healed, taught, preached good news to the poor, challenged the ruling class, and lived and died in solidarity with those who were oppressed.  When he overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple, challenging the economic system at its core, the authorities began plotting his death.  They killed him because he and the egalitarian movement he founded posed a direct threat to the Domination System of his day.

But that was not the end of the story.  His Spirit lives and flows through every compassionate, courageous, and truthful act of love and personal sacrifice for the sake of the world that God loves.  I intend to follow Jesus directly into the struggle for a better world for as long as my heart continues to beat.

THE DAYS OF MY LIFE

The Days of My Life

THE DAYS OF MY LIFE (Deuteronomy 4.9)
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I have held the days of my life
in my hands
as I would caress
a lover–
sweetly and with passion.
I have held my lover as I have treasured my days,
and our breath
intermingles
with a wetness of passion
taking from, and giving to,
the sacredness of the cosmos.
I have looked out from my eyes and
seen that which is lovely and holy, and
have held it closely.
I have held
it very closely.

What We Take With Us When We Die

It is maybe a strange notion to claim, but it seems that there are two things we get to take with us when we die:  Our life, and our relationships.  To make this claim it is important to note that it cannot be made without a certain amount of faith, and a whole lot of trust.  I believe that the days of my life do not end when I die.  I believe that somehow, and in someway, what I understand as my life morphs and becomes some other form of existence.  I believe this.  I trust this.  I have no clue what it may mean, or look like.

So about the faith part.  I place my faith in two notions and at two distinct levels of of trust.

The Two Notions Are About Faith

The first notion about faith is that I have faith in the writers of the literature of Christianity to have had some sort of experience of something existent above and beyond their ken that was of a strong enough nature to try to share that experience with their friends, fellow tribal members, and a future church waiting to come into being.  This faith of mine is in the tradition of explanations coming down from spoken word to written word to translated word.  Also this faith is placed in spite of political, religious, personal agendas inherent in the texts themselves.

The second notion is that I have faith in my own abilities to wade through the smoke and mirrors inherent within Christianity’s hype, to a reality that bespeaks, a truth embedded deeply within, and in spite of, the words themselves.  I have faith in myself, my intelligence, my prayer-life, my ability to hear something not spoken. and the reflections of my own heart.

The Two Levels Have To Do With Trust

Based upon the two notions of faith, the first level is that  I trust God.  I have come to believe that there is a God, and that this God is more than benign–this God cares for all parts of God’s Creation.  While I do not for a second believe in a SIX-DAY BLAZER I believe that God is part of God’s on-going creation in a creating, loving, and helpful way.  God was there in some way at the beginning, is here now, and will be present at the end of all time.  Should there be an end to all time.

The second level of trust, like the second level of faith, again hinges on my perceptions of my own experience.  I not only trust God abstractly, but I trust God with my own self and all the aspects of that self–my present, my future here in this life and in whatever happens to me after this life moves on along.  I trust God to do right by me.  I trust God to do right by my eternity as well.  While I don’t want to die any time soon, I trust that when I do God will take care of me just fine, and I don’t need to worry my now with that future.

about those two things we take with us when we die

I said above that we take both our life and our relationships with us when we die.  How is it that I figure that?  Let me try to explain.  We become what we build.  As people of God, we are expected to make sure justice permeates every aspect of our lives, and the lives with whom we share this earth.  Check out these portions of Hebrew/Christian literature and read what I believe is not only God’s mandate for how we humans should live, but what formed Jesus’ agenda for his ministry.:

Deuteronomy 16:19 You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. 20Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue

Deuteronomy 24:17 You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:17 ‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

Isaiah 59:14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter.

Hosea 10:13  You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your power and in the multitude of your warriors,

Matthew 23:23 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.

I do believe that we somehow, someway, get to spend eternity with God–God who demands justice for all, not simply for those we think are worthy.  Because doing either justice, or doing injustice builds relationships, with our own selves, with others, and with God, we need to consider our economic choices very, very carefully.  It may well be that the quality of both our present and our eternity is at stake.

If we vote for borders to our nation, if we vote in ways that limit social programs, if we think or act in ways that demean others, if we support any unjust political system, if we have manufactured our lifestyle in any way that harms any part of Creation, we are supporting injustice and undermining God’s mandate.  Should we think that police, armies, war lords, corporate machines, or violence of any nature is our means of salvation, then we have turned our back on our God, and we are neglecting mercy, justice, and faith, and practicing the wrong form of spirituality.

I believe when we die, we will take with us the results of our present actions of mercy, justice, and faith.  These form the relationships we make, and the life we attempt to live, and this is what makes up the days of our life and our life to come.

EXEGESIS AND THE GOSPEL OF JESUS

Highlighting the Gospel

I should note the exegetical method I use when reading scripture.  This is based on what I consider the Gospel of Jesus, and I use it as an old-time farmer used a candle to check if an egg is OK.  I also should note, that my wife, Rev. Cherie, Marckx, shared in the thought processes and writing of this posting.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS

Copyright Rev. Hilary F. Marckx, Ph. D. all rights reserved

The Gospel (Luke 4:18) of Jesus Is Found in The Life, Death & Resurrection of Jesus—
How He Walked His Talk

It is:

LIBERATING–(Ephesians 4:7-8, Colossians 2:8-10)
It does not enslave people, it will never demand we give up our freewill to any spiritual leader,
or any government, and it introduces an eternal Jubilee Year that perpetually sets all captives free;
HEALING–(Matthew 13:15, Luke 6:17)
It is neither harmful nor wounding, but comforts and is life-giving and re-creating; in this gospel we can be truly safe.  It will not hurt us and tell us it is for our own good.  It enables us to live into the truth by which we were created; if there is a Balm in Gilead, it is applied from the Gospel of Jesus;
SAVING–(Matthew 1:21, Luke 19:10)
This Gospel of Jesus extricates us from our own doom, and our personal hells, if we will allow it to do so.  It does not jeopardize or risk our well being, or ever demand that we live in fear or dread;
FREEING–(John 8:31-36)
It is not a legalistic, controlling, rule of law.  It will not fetter our spirits, or stifle our creativity.  It assumes each of us is created with God’s own loving, creative Spirit within us.  It leads us out of darkness, and it celebrates healthy human relationships by not defining who may or may not live in loving relationship;
FULL OF ABUNDANT LIFE–(John 10:10)
It does not give entitlement to only a few, or give some the right to hoard more than their share; all are invited to God’s banquet.  The Gospel of Jesus will never demand we become less as a person so others can become more.  Within this framework, there is no 99% vs. 1%, no Wall Street outrages, no stinginess–there is only enough in abundance for all, and surely no corporate protections — religious, economic, or political —  are given value over basic individual human rights;
FORGIVING–(Matthew 6:14, 7:1-5, Mark 2:1-12)
The Gospel of Jesus the Christ is truly Good News because it does not condemn us to unending misery and the sorrow of separation from God, but instead lifts us up into a communion of eternal goodness and joy with the one who shares love with us regardless of our choices.

My suggestion is that when you read the Bible you use this method to discover if the text you are reading proclaims Jesus’ Gospel, or simply is the invention of some person.  No one has done more creative writing than the writers of Christian Scripture, and it is sometimes difficult to discern between the words and the Word.  This simple model for exegesis helps Bible readers and Gospel seekers to discover, if not the actual words of Jesus, then Jesus’ intentions.