Just over a year after the inception of the Occupy movement and on the heels of a national election, discussion about economic disparity has nearly all but ceased. Yet the issues that motivated the initial push behind Occupy remain. The concerns of the 99% have not gone away, and worse, they haven’t even been a major part of this year’s election cycle. Instead of propping up an economic system that continues down the road of economic inequality and toward patterns of growth that aren’t good for either the majority of the population or the environment, are there alternatives to this system, and how can religious individuals respond to these issues? Can and should the church address the concerns of the 99% even if, or especially if, others aren’t willing to do so?
In just a couple of weeks we’re getting together a group of rather awesome religious scholars and pastors for discussion of these very questions. On Monday, Nov 19, at the American Academy of Religion meeting in Chicago, we’ll get together with Rita Nakashima Brock, Joerg Rieger, Philip Clayton, Christophe Ringer, and Kirsten Gerdes for a special Homebrewed live event. Both Rita Brock and Christophe Ringer are seasoned Occupy veterans from the interfaith tent at Occupy Oakland and from the Occupy movement in Nashville. We’re excited to hear about their experiences in two very different parts of the country and learn about how the church can respond to the concerns of the 99%. Joerg Rieger (recent podcast guest) will talk about religious symbols and empire, while Kirsten Gerdes will discuss economic injustice and evangelical Christianity. I’ll also talk a bit about a response to economic crisis using Inverse Theology–the place where I see theory and practice coming together to motivate our work as religious individuals in a broken world.
If you’re in Chicago or will be attending the AAR, come join us for this conversation. (Pertinent details below) And if you aren’t able to be there in person, we’ll be recording and posting video podcasts of the event after the fact so that you can use these pieces as resources for starting conversations about religious responses to economic inequality in your churches and other groups.
Occupy the Church: Church Theology for the 99%
Monday, Nov 19–7-9pm
Conference Room 4A at the Hilton Chicago Hotel
with Rita Nakashima Brock, Philip Clayton, Jeremy Fackenthal, Kirsten Gerdes, Joerg Rieger, and Christophe Ringer