Sunday, October 23, 2011

Would Jesus Occupy Wall Street?

"[T]he tents, the damp sleeping bags, the communal kitchen. . . the occupiers, who have been derided by their opponents as a ragtag group of tax evaders, interested only in sex, drugs and rock and roll?. . .

The Jesus of history would love them all. What Jesus really said, and what he meant, are the subjects of culture’s greatest controversies, but one thing is sure. Jesus gave preferential treatment to society’s outcasts. Lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes — all would attain heaven before the ordained elites. Jesus believed that God was about to right the world’s wrongs with a great upheaval — soon — and at that time, a radical reversal of the social order would occur. As he says in the gospels, the meek will inherit the earth.

Jesus would have sympathy, too, with the occupiers’ first complaint: that in America, the poorest have too little and the richest too much. In first-century Judea, a powerful ruling class held nearly all the wealth and most people lived at subsistence levels.

'Jesus believed the whole system was corrupt,' says Bart Ehrman, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina. 'The people who ran things were empowered by the evil forces of the world, and his followers had to work against these powers by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and caring for the sick.' Jesus had a fit when he saw the money changers in the Temple and turned over their tables — a dramatization, Ehrman says, of the reversal that was imminent. . .

If the Jesus of history could wander the precincts held by the occupiers, 'he’d see his people,' says Marisa Egerstrom, a graduate student at Harvard University who organized a posse of chaplains to volunteer at Occupy sites. 'I think he would be pretty pleased.'"

Read the Washington Post, Jesus at Occupy Wall Street: 'I feel like I've been here before'.