Comrades, inquirers, brothers and sisters:
We're taking off tomorrow afternoon for Wall Street. And we're SO EXCITED!
To those of you we'll see on Wall Street:
Look for the group in the white churchy robes. Don't get freaked out. WE'RE NOT GOING TO PROSELYTIZE YOU!
Some of us struggle with our belief in God. Many of us have "quit" religion altogether for some portion of our lives. ALL of us wrestle with the beauty of our traditions and the contradictions of the realities of institutional Christianity. We don't think you're going to hell.
We've also been activists, lived through burnout, and still somehow wanted more. So we've been trying to draw on the riches of thousands of years of religious practices to connect us to something deeper, more sustaining, than the rage we feel at so many injustices. Rage is a fuel, we've discovered, that burns too hot: anger ignites, but the long haul requires something that feeds our souls. For us, something about the person and stories and wisdom of Jesus does that.
We decided to come specifically as Christians, rather than doing an interfaith thing, because we're sick of folks like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and all of the Tea Party using our religion to mock the dying, torture Muslims essentially for being Muslim, give the people's money to the banks and their wealthy friends, and wage global war for profit. These things are evil, not being gay (half of us are gay), being poor, or being a person of color or a non-Christian. And we're tired of too-polite Christians hiding in their churches, unwilling to say so. Enough!
We're going to pray and sing and we invite you to join us. We've specifically brought prayers and blessings with wording we hope almost anyone will feel comfortable using. At 3 pm, as part of the General Assembly, we'll be inviting everyone to write on our posterboards and talk to us about your griefs, hopes, and fears. Protesting and occupation are difficult. Consensus is difficult. Facing the immense injustice and corruption and suffering of the world takes courage, community, solidarity - and, we think - all the spiritual resources we have. Let's share, collaborate, meditate, and hope -- together. We will go further together. We are all different, and we all need each other.
We're going to take all that we hear and learn from our brothers and sisters - pagans, atheists, Buddhists, spiritual-but-not-religious folk, fellow Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc etc etc etc - and develop a collection of songs, chants, prayers, blessings, and meditations to use in Washington DC and everywhere. We're going to experiment with strategies for group work that may help your affinity group, reading group, or collective hold together in times of stress. We're going to develop tactics ways of working with frustration, disappointment, excitement, and hope that don't just get us through an agenda, but bring us more to life. US Day of Rage has been saying that this is a "fight for the soul of our nation." We want to help.
That's it. We want to help. Tell us the shape of YOUR hope.
All peace, love, joy and light be with you - now and Saturday!
The Protest Chaplains