I’ve mentioned already that I’m surprised at how taken I am with the Occupy America protests. That has only become more so after spending time at Occupy Boston last Sunday evening. I understand the criticisms that are flying, from folks who find it ridiculous for people to camp in a public park to protest injustice, to folks who have heard a wimpy cry against an “evil 1%” but not enough details of demands. Then there are the quibbles about where the statistics come from, and who the movement speaks for. The list, like the internet, goes on and on and on.
The Occupy movement has seemed a lot like a Rorschach test for those who are determined to be against it. Everyone sees what they want to see, and hears the message they are most afraid of or triggered by, and then is critical about the lack of a coherent voice or program or policy. What others see as the movement’s weakness, though, I think is in many ways its beauty.
Let me be clear: I am not fond of the wishy-washy.
In this case, though, the message and the medium and the whole protest ethos is one that demands – subtly, but powerfully – that we change the way we think and do and be. It would take away from the strength of the protest to have a list of clear demands because in some way demands that are clear now would be working within the structures of the broken system. The unity is around the central point that it is not okay for 1% of the people in this nation to hold (according to conservative estimates) 20-35% of the nation’s wealth. It’s around the fact that taxation rests disproportionately on the middle and working class while corporations that have moved their jobs elsewhere to increase profits manage to get away with paying little to no taxes. The system, or rather systems, that have let this become the reality can’t be trusted to be the vehicles for the change that is needed.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
By not having the plan in place already, the Occupy folks have embarked on a journey of that discernment, and they are leading us in doing it with them.
How may we be transformed by the renewing of our minds?
Our minds that have been worked into well-worn ruts around how much we need and where our money should go. Our minds that have been told that the only meaningful measure of success or achievement is financial gain. Our minds that have been convinced that the only way to have a capitalist economy is to remove all regulations. Our minds that say that unchecked wealth is a God-given right, never mind who is exploited to make it possible.
Testing those minds is always a worthy endeavor, and something liberal faith has presumed to be about for centuries.
Occupy Boston (as Protest Chaplain Marisa Egerstrom has put it so well) feels and looks like church. It is holy ground, not because it is perfect, but because there is spirit alive there, and a sense of possibility, and a whole different way of seeing and being and doing. God is present there in movement through human community, as human good lives in kindness, in compassion, in speaking the truths of the struggles of each and the struggles shared by all. As Henry Nelson Wieman has put it and John Cobb amplified:
God is the process through which we are creatively transformed, and human good grows. It can’t be controlled by the human will because it transforms the will. It cannot be transformed by human purposes because it transforms human purposes. …we are saved by grace and not by works… our creative transformation is not our own work. We can place ourselves in situations where it is more likely to occur and stay open to it. We cannot do it ourselves or make it happen. We are saved by grace alone through faith.…
We need to find that which is trustworthy and to trust it, even when we do not know where it will lead. 
I wish every church could embody that sense of living the truth and centrality of God’s presence and purpose in our midst, and I hope we can all learn from the power and the witness of this movement. May our minds be transformed, that we may discern what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.