Nose to the Grindstone/Occupy My Street

So to be honest, I’m writing this in response to a comment on saw on Facebook. A person I didn’t know (thus me writing here and not there because I don’t get into Facebook battles with strangers…or even friends for that matter) wrote about his opinion of the Occupy Wall Street protests, which has become Occupy ______ Street. Or whatever.

This person was person was saying that he doesn’t expect a bailout for his personal choices that have gone bad (a home purchase) and that he’s working three jobs to pay for what he has to pay for. He was however clearly accusing the protestors for wanting a handout and that they didn’t want to take ownership of their decisions.

Fair enough: I respect the guy for working hard to pay for what he committed to. And I would agree that I think people simply wanting a bailout isn’t healthy learning.

But I think that this issue is bigger than this. I think that the issue is that the American people have been working hard, putting their noses to the grindstone, to make ends meet while the very system they are in just piles more weight on the back of their heads. I think that it’s about time that the corruption of the financial systems becomes a mainstream topic. It’s about time people realize that a handful of people (relatively speaking) have made numerous selfish and greedy decisions with full knowledge of what was going to happen. (Watch the documentary Inside Job if you don’t know about this)

I think it’s about time that some people in our culture take their noses from the grindstone, the patterns that have allowed people in power to do what they’ve done, and speak out against what has happened. Our country clearly needs great reform and we need to realize that doing more of what got us here isn’t going to get us out. I don’t think that electing new people into office is the answer either because many of out elected officials are corporate sponsored. It’s not until the entire structure is exposed for it’s greed and selfishness that things will change. And I believe that Occupy Wall Street is a start. Agree or disagree with it, at least they are a different voice for change. A voice that doesn’t seem to be sponsored by major corporations like Montsana or elite banking firms. This seems like a voice from fringe people that are willing to speak up. I guarantee that if the right reform happens (us actually having a government for the people…not for themselves through the people) it will because these early voices spoke loud enough to be heard.

I actually wish I was in the States to be a part of this because I have hope that things can change.

Here’s my question that I challenge myself with: How am I so immersed in my own life and work that I’m not stopping to see the change that needs to happen? Do I have the courage to speak up against injustice? Where is the Church in all of this? Remember Jesus spoke out against the oppressive authority of his day to bring people to freedom. (I also know what the apostle Paul wrote about submitting to government, but speaking out against injustice and greed is also called for. Think about when John the Baptist spoke out against Herod sleeping with his brothers wife. There is a time for every season…) Do I even care about the oppressive systems and rulers of our world? Or do I only care when I’m personally affected?

I say we start a movement called Occupy My Street. Where we each look at the oppressive and unjust things in our own houses, neighborhoods, and cities. Maybe it’s sexism, classism, child abuse, spiritual abuse, apathy, greed…it’s not only big corporations that operate in negative power structures.

Regardless, I pray that good change comes to the systems we live in. I believe that it comes with internal reflection and change in each of us….this will lead us to the ‘good works’ that we were created to do.