Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy the Churches!!!

Here's another idea. What about the churches? What if we occupy them and take them back to the Love of God? The Episcopalians are having a battle royal over gay folks. It wasn't long ago that we ordained women and that raised all kinds of fuss. Isn't it about time that all the churches stand up for ALL people whatever orientation, gender, class, race or nationality? I'm glad at least this one has the guts to do so. Thank you Episcopalians near and far away!
Isn't it about time we stand with Jesus? Anybody remember how he gathered all the outcasts? Tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, common fisherfolk? You can translate that into anything you want. I'll settle for the LGBTQ crowd, women who insist on free choice with respect to their bodies, those suffering from AIDS. If you think Jesus took on the Right Wing in his day, don't you think he'd want to take on the same crowd in our own time? If we have the courage of our convictions, we'll take on that crowd with all kinds of backbone.
Don't let them take something as precious as the Love of God and co-opt it into a hateful exclusive club where religion is made safe for arrogance and privilege.
NO! Occupy the churches! Take back what belongs to us. Take back our churches so that the Compassion and Love of Christ might once again be known as being at the heart of God! Don't threaten to leave the church. THREATEN TO OCCUPY THE CHURCHES EVERY SUNDAY MORNING!!!
And a blessing on you all,
Fr. Paul


Cindy Solomon said...

Fr. Paul,
Thank you so much for your words. I am working with a group in Colorado Springs to form an interfaith working group as part of our Occupy movement. I truly believe this is a moral movement and in so many ways reflects Christ's call - feeding the poor, throwing out the money lenders who have even corrupted our churches by selling us the idea that riches are a symbol of God's blessings.
Keep up the good work! Perhaps joining with a local Occupy group in your area might afford some of the same opportunities to bring people of faith together to talk about how we merge our faith with real actions for social justice.
Thanks again!

laura harold said...

backwards we go and then fight to get back to where we were. priests married and women were in the priesthood before the church decided it would be financially advantageous to enforce celebacy for priests and ban females from being priests.

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Thank you Cindy and Laura. I'm getting on in years now and am supposed to "retire". But I've fought all my life for Civil Rights, Gender Equality, and now LGBTQ rights. I built a homeless shelter, provided transitional housing for battered families, soup kitchens, food pantries, and then wrote a book on human sexuality. Two of my kids happen to be gay...so what!
Now we fight too for economic justice...and it is amazing...we are all on the same side...folks of faith, humanists, atheists and the like...if we ever really do figure out we'e on the same side...then we may have a shot at Justice. Keep up the good work!

Rob-bear said...

Greetings in solidarity from Occupy Saskatoon, Canada.
I certainly appreciate Cindy's comment. We are not as overtly religious in Canada as in in the United States, so we cannot do some of the things you Americans can.
I would encourage people to consider seriously what Cindy has suggested, about involvement in your local Occupy group, and helping people of faith to talk about mattes of faith and justice.
Blessings from the north!

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Hi Rob...I lived in Toronto for 11 years and learned there a healthy respect for humanism, atheism and science. The struggle for economic justice is at the heart of all historic struggles it seems to me. This is at heart an economic struggle. But there are some churches that are giving it a go to be in concert with this very economic struggle. This movement is now covering almost 800 cities in many countries. It is an amazing phenomenon unlike anything I've seen since the 60's when I first joined the multitudes in DC for MLK's speeches and fought against the Viet Nam debacle. We the 99% are on the SAME side. I hope we figure that out before the 1% gets mean and ugly with us. Blessings on you and thanks for your thoughtful comments. Fr. Paul

Rob-bear said...

Thanks you very much for your kind comments, Fr. Paul.
One observation. At last count, there were Occupy activities in over 1,800 places world-wide. The time of questioning has arrived. I do not see it as apocalyptic; I do see it as challenging, and a time to which people of faith need to respond.
Blessings from Canada.
Rev. Rob (United Church of Canada)

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Wow! This is growing like topsy! I had no idea! As to the nature of the apocalypse, let me hasten to add a very different take on the idea. I believe that the "end" that the New Testament is looking for is one which is fruitful in building a new civilization not the destruction of the old. The End then is used more in the sense of "purpose" and not in the sense of wholesale destruction. Civilizations come and go. We are no exception. But what I want to do as these civilizations come and go is point the way to a more just society, one that has the courage to care for the poor and the suffering. This is why the current movement is so interesting to me...it seems like it is a very creative one, looking to claim the justice that has been denied for far too long. The meek, mark not my words but HIS, shall inherit the earth.

ragster said...

Thank you Fr. Paul. If you don't mind I will link this to my friends here in Seminary. Of the different congregations I have attended lately, I can honestly say that most are doing the Occupy thing.

Here in Berkeley we are gathering an interfaith response. I take food and drink to the people that are staying all the time in downtown when I can get away from my studies. Others are doing it too.

Fight the good fight.

Peter Lockhart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Lockhart said...

The Church iof Scotland has already ordained Gay ministers. A gay marriage bill is going through the Scottish parliament just now and iff passed then Church of Scotland minister will have the choice whether to marry gays or not.

On the other hand The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is fighting tooth and nail against the same sex marriage bill. They've sent letter to all RC's in Scotland telling them to fight against it and Priests have been speaking out in churches.

Then again, In 1999 Pat Robertson said Scotland was "a dark land overrun by homosexuals". I felt great pride in being condemned by Pat

Anonymous said...

You have a lot of valid points...but you lose me (and a lot of compassionate folk) when you get to abortion. Choose life. Choose adoption. I wonder how many of the religious right would be more socially progressive if it were not for that one fact. Makes it hard for me to vote, every time. Extend human rights to ALL humans.

Jesse said...

New here, and though I've been attending the Episcopal Church for many years was just recently (this past April) received into the church. Former RC here I found a wonderful loving home with people that care about me check in on me and I care about them. TEC, the only real choice. Jesus was an Episcopalian you know!! :) hehe

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Good evening all. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and by all means circulate this post as far and as wide as you like. Glad it hit Berkeley and Scotland and elsewhere! Almost 600 hits on this one post. Thanks too to Anonymous. I know the abortion thing is a tough one. But, all I am arguing for is choice. My mother had an abortion in the 40's and the butcher that did the procedure nearly killed her too. It was wartime and there was a man who promised to love her. He only screwed her, and left her in poverty. She already had two boys and her husband was dead. She could not bear to bring another child into poverty. It left a scar all her days. But she did her best. I do not want to go back to the days when women are forced to go back into tenement walk ups and put their lives in the hands of such butchers. Never forget what men can do to women. It is a dreadful predicament. That's why I come down on the side of choice. Thankfully my wife and I did not and would not have an abortion. But, I would NEVER force a woman into the position my mother was when she was young. Thanks for listening.

Carole said...

I was baptized an Episcopalian as a baby. It's been a LONG journey for me, and I made a reaffirmation of my baptismal vows yesterday. I'm so proud to be an Episcopalian, and so proud that my church is standing up for the rights of ALL human beings! I'd love to see an Occupy the Churches movement!

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

Hi Carole, I've been ordained 40 years this coming June 24th. In that time we've fought for civil rights, gender equality, and now inclusivity for LGBT community. Through it all, we've fought an fussed about each successive step...but I think we're now finally ready to OCCUPY THIS CHURCH!!! In fact, I think its time to OCCUPY ALL THE CHURCHES and make sure they never again provide safe harbor for bigotry of any sort...but OCCUPY them with the Love of God, so full that our cup overflows with Compassion! May we ALL reaffirm our baptismal vows EVERY DAY until God's Love fills the Earth as the Waters Cover the Sea! Peace to you Carole, Fr. Paul

Gramiam said...

What we need is more Franciscans!

Anonymous said...

Hello there, I'm an atheist born into a Hindu family who went to Catholic(our Catholics wouldn't vote Repub actually) school in India.

I really love the Episcopal Church. I myself follow a philophy of Hinduism which, well, tries to establish compatibility of all religions.

I am a strong left-leaner. ALL IS ALL. Sometimes the right-wing all over the world distresses me, especially the Abrahamic and Hindu far right. What keeps me from going going all-out-commie is fantastic movements like the Episcopal Church and great people like you, Fr Paul.

It is a pleasure reading you.

Thank you, and blessings from the East!

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

When I told the folks at church that I had heard from a Hindu Atheist in India and that he liked the Episcopal Church, I created a bit of a stir. Thank you so much for your comment. I believe that there is an emerging church/faith across the world that sees God and humanity as one and the same. This emerging church really has no institutional walls or denominational name. It is rather written in the hearts of all human beings. This brings us closer to the hope of the sacred writings.
The only real danger or threat to world peace is Fundamentalism/Radical Right wing religious zealotry and extremism. This extremism is willing to use the name of God to justify killing. This is the great blasphemy, and Christians, Jews, Muslims and yes even Hindus are capable of it.
That is why I am so deeply committed to articulating a faith that explores the heart of God and humankind in the pathways that lead to peace with justice.
With whatever time God gives me to continue my work, I shall indeed pursue it.
As to being an atheist or a Hindu, I am honored that you would post this comment on my blog. I hope you will honor me with permission to use these words or your to help in the conversation that will continue in these posts.
Thank you! And a big Episcopalian blessing from Lynn Massachusetts (where I am tonight). I will be back in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, God willing!
Fr Paul

Anonymous said...

Many thanks, Fr Paul for your kind words. I couldn't agree with you more on the state of affairs in our world.

I sincerely appreciate your efforts and passion regarding the one faith which we all pursue, albeit in our own ways. I am well aware of and exposed to the religious zealotry you speak of.

As a member of the global liberal continuum i am much obliged and honoured to be of any help to you and the movement. Our legacy shall be in our hearts and the hearts of our children from whom we have but borrowed this earth.

I would love to be involved with discussions here for the furtherance of our work and my own understanding of the scheme of things.

Looking forward to reading more from you.

Thank you

Keep writing, stay inspired!

"Fr. Paul" Bresnahan said...

oghmanwriteshere...lets continue our conversations. There is so much to consider especially as the nation continues its rightward turn. We'll need to faithfully and resolutely continue to articulate or vision of the world in order to give folks an alternative to what is coming at us...more export of jobs, and higher unemployment as more police, more fire, more EMT's and more teachers and so on are fired. It is unconscionable...but what really amazes me is how the Blue Collar Worker, The Middle Class and the Seniors vote for these people who will take eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Employment and Ship Jobs overseas. AND Bain Capital and their ilke will continue to buy up American Factories and CLOSE THEM!!! What in the world are these people thinking. Why vote against your self interest. My oh my how easily the sheep are led to the slaughter.