bring us back to You

I am as equally intrigued by the Occupy Wall Street movement as I am frightened by it.

This worried impression is greatly because I don’t have the full picture or clearest sense of what these protestors hope to accomplish, but perhaps what’s most disconcerting is that they don’t appear to have a definitive objective of what they want, either. I’ve read a multitude of articles and blogs attempting to make sense of this modern uprising, all of which creating a gamut of responses ranging from complete idiocy to noticeable thoughtfulness; but what pushed me to make a post was this article from BBC about the Guy Fawkes masks.

Some claim it’s a means of solidarity. Others recognize the subtle irony behind the purchase and lash out at the now-labeled hypocrites . Whichever you choose, I think the mask is inherently anti-government – one may go as far as dubbing it a symbol of anarchy – thus adding another nuance to this already muddled situation.

People are unhappy. That much is obvious. However, before reading this article I never associated the protesters with anti-governmental wants. If anything, I found them to be a people of great determination, longing for governmental action to address the corrupt practices of our corporate nation. Now, and as it’s spread to many major cities in America, the heart of these people is slowly beginning to reveal itself, whether or not they are aware of it. I wouldn’t say collective libertarianism is on the rise, but it certainly appears to be seeping into the public (sub)conscious. And for what I shall call a post-Christian nation, this is only going to make approaching social matters all the more urgent for both the government and Church in America.

Don’t worry, this isn’t some attempt at political blogging; instead, what I’m trying to get at is this concept of rules. The idea of governance. I finished reading Lord of the Flies a couple weeks ago, and there was this single line that continues to resonate with me. Before I post a short excerpt below, the context of the conversation is of the protagonist, Ralph, arguing against an unspoken, yet imminent uprising by the haughty antagonist, Jack:

“The rules!” shouted Ralph, “you’re breaking the rules!”
“Who cares?”
Ralph summoned his wits.
“Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!”
But Jack was shouting against him.
“Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong — we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat — !”

Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got… If you read the whole story, I can guarantee this line will have a profoundly greater effect on you than what this little snippet provides. For when I ponder on what Ralph is saying, it reminds me that unless there is a something greater than ourselves to which we abide, chaos will inevitably consume our lives. I could offer my spiel on how the Church is hope and Christ is the anchor of love that offers life to our gasping breaths – because I believe this is the true governing that will bring light to darkness – but you can find that anywhere else in this blog. No, this is more a warning than anything else. Because if our “greater than ourselves” conception is founded in masks of symbolism, fleeting ideologies, or disjointed communal action, then we’re going to be sorely disappointed. These aren’t but empty vessels. Please, we must continue to hunger for justice and redistribution, but we can’t put so much stock in ourselves as to think these notions are enough to warrant a governing that substantiates change and wards off pandemonium.

After all, even Ralph begins to forget why the rules were put in place in the first place.

(save us from our ways, oh God, oh God)


~ by Chris Kyle on October 20, 2011.

3 Responses to “bring us back to You”

  1. Good thoughts, Chris. I agree that OWS lacks some clarity, but the main message I’ve seen from the articles I’ve read, photos I’ve seen, etc, is people crying out for a redistribution of wealth. I don’t think that needs to equate to being anti-government-leaning-towards-anarchist so much as the fact that in a democracy people want the government to represent their interests, and right now power, wealth, and opportunity are concentrated among the 1% in a way that does not support the interests of the 99%.

    I appreciate your outlook on it, though, and I remain cautious about wholeheartedly embracing the movement…but I definitely think they are on to something (that’s probably the sociologist in me talking).

    Here are some really interesting links I saw this morning: (this one, if you click on the link, has TONS of charts – it’s a little heady but it’s grounded in real data, which I appreciate) (From Adri’s blog – she wrote a good post about why she supports OWS)

    (Sorry this comment is so long…) I guess my question is: does economic restructuring require an anti-government stance/overthrowing authority figures? Or can we work within the current system to bring about change that will be sustainable and healthy for our nation?

    • Sarah,

      Thanks so much for that comment! Seriously, it was a delight to wake up to; and after I’ve looked at the links you provided (Adri’s post, was grand), I’ve got a few points of clarity I think I should write.

      As such, and because I hope to better explain to everybody what I just wrote , I’ll put it in another blog post.

      Thank you for the inspiration. Much needed.

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