Christmas: He has scattered the proud!

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This Christmas we share a chapter from Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock) first aired on MPR’s “All Things Considered” during the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Today there is no Occupy Wall Street. There are no tents. No camps. No protests. But Mary, and the hope she sings in her Magnificat, will never goes away.

Mary of Occupy

He has shown strength with his arm; 
 he has scattered the proud 
 in the thoughts of their hearts.
 He has brought down the powerful 
 from their thrones,and lifted up the lowly; 
 he has filled the hungry with good things, 
 and sent the rich away empty.
 - Gospel of Luke 1:53-55
 

in other cultures, and other times, the young woman would be called a peasant. But here and now, she is a protester, one of a dwindling number of ragged young people on the government plaza. She moves among the occupier sleeping bags and protest signs in the cold of winter, singing her song of hope and joy.

She makes no demands, which is confusing to some. Hers is a different way: a bold announcement that the old order, symbolized by Wall Street, is already finished. Her purity and her message are impervious to the game of demand-and-response that serves only to tweak and tinker with the old system of greed and financial violence.

She simply affirms the great new thing that will come to pass. to her it is more real than much of what she sees.

A song like hers is being sung this season in churches through- out the world. The song rejoices in a new world order about to be born. The “same old, same old” world, the one defined by who’s up and who’s down, by social pride and social humiliation, by the overfed and underfed, by extremes of extravagant wealth and pov- erty—that world is over. The mountains of greed are brought down and the pits of desperation are raised up to the plain.

The song celebrated in churches is the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, a composition of the Gospel of luke. it has special meaning to Christians who believe that Mary bore in her womb the savior of us all. But the Luke story also serves as a metaphor for the compassionate character of a new society about to be born.

“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” sings this peasant girl living in the time of the Roman empire’s foreign occupation. She is full of the One who “has scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts,” who “has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of low degree,” the leveling God of mercy and justice.

Imagine for a moment an opera house. At one end of the stage stands Mary, the voice of prophetic madness, her tender voice softly rejoicing in the hope growing inside her. At the other end stands a massive chorus, in tuxedos and gowns, thundering its hymn of praise for the market, for its grandeur, for the preservation of the status quo.

“He has filled the hungry with good things,” the girl sings, “and the rich he has sent empty away.” Her voice cannot compete in volume. But in its clarity, it drowns out the mighty chorus.

As Mary’s song is read in churches this Sunday, some anonymous girl will slip unnoticed into the back pew. She will listen to the reading of luke’s Magnificat, and she will hope, like Mary, that the world will hear the message.

Merry Christmas from Views from the Edge.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska MN, Dec. 25, 2019

Mic check? MIKE CHECK!

What a difference six years make.

In 2011 “Mic check?” was the call and “MIC CHECK!” the response in the Occupy Wall Street camps. Electronic amplification was against the law. Only the human voice remained to protest crony Capitalism. The Nation’s  We Are All Human Microphones Now reminds us how it was in the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011.

How quickly things change. The “mic check?” call goes unanswered in the spaces that once attracted national attention. Instead the news is of a man named Mike whose voice was electronically recorded by U.S. intelligence while Mr. Flynn had a curious conversation with the Russian Ambassador during the presidential transition, and of another Mike, the Vice President-Elect, whom the first Mike “was not entirely forthcoming” about the contents of the conversation.

Some things don’t change.

In 2007-2008 Wall Street was big news. Time magazine and other media were asking “Is Capitalism Dead?” In 2011 Wall Street was back in charge, but Occupy Wall Street  continued to point the finger at crony capitalism, the deep tie between Wall Street and the Congressional Representatives and Senators whose elections depend upon the flow of capital into their campaign coffers. They do it without using microphones; they do it quietly through SuperPacs. No one has to tell them to turn off their microphones. they do it out of sight, very quietly. In the 2016 presidential campaign Wall Street was again the target of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both held the microphones. One was a phony. The one who was elected President appointed Wall Street billionaires to fill his cabinet, appointed a previously fired General named Mike his National Security Advisor, and loosened the Obama Administration regulations of Wall Street.

The one Mike misled the other Mike and the media are using their mics to amplify the story of the two Mikes. Now it falls to the people to use our voices. “Mic check?” “MIC CHECK!” “Mike check?” “MIKE CHECK!”

Many years before, following the Nixon Administration Watergate break-in of Democratic headquarters, the question was “Who knew what, and when did they know it?” “Trump check?”

Some things do not change.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 15, 2017.

 

 

Mary of Occupy

The Mary of Occupy – All Things Considered commentary on the Song of Mary in the Gospel of Luke. Gordon C. Stewart.

In other cultures and other times, the young woman would be called a peasant. But here and now she is a protester, one of the dwindling numbers of ragged young people on the government plaza. She moves among the Occupier sleeping bags and protest signs in the cold of winter, singing her song of hope and joy.

 

She makes no demands, which is confusing to some. Hers is a different way: a bold announcement that the old order, symbolized by Wall Street, is already finished. Her purity and her message are impervious to the games of demand-and-response that serve only to tweak and tinker with the old systems of greed and financial violence….