November 17, 2011 marked a ‘day of action’ for thousands of protesters across the nation, resulting in violent demonstrations and hundreds of subsequent arrests. A disgruntled conglomeration of fired-up Americans converged in New York after a march in hopes to shut down Wall Street that day. Undeterred by this failed goal, many of this hodgepodge group are hopeful that their voices will be heard by the “99%” of Americans who are being lorded over by the top 1% of Americans who hold ⅓ of the nation’s wealth.
A common goal?
Many reporters have asked various members of the protest what they are protesting. With no clear organization, leader, or cohesive unity, many people will often give quite varied responses. Supporters and participants of this movement have been affiliated with the communist party, the KKK, Neo Nazi groups and from many Christians, Atheists, Jews, and Muslims! Could this be true post-modern transcendental unity? Or a passing common enemy?
Unity in groups, nations, and between people can last for a while. While empowered by a common goal, people can accomplish great endeavors, and devastating destruction. But as soon as that one common thread starts to unravel, this unity is proven to be temporary. The Apostle Paul tells us about a sense of unity that will join people of different walks of life, permanently, through God’s spirit, when we strive to “…maintain the unity of the Spirit by means of the bond of peace”. Ephesians 4:3
Fight for your rights?
Many observers of this movement would agree that the mob mentality has gotten out of control on a number of occasions. Some feel it is futile and foolish to go against the system and fight this losing battle. However others – while not totally agreeing with all of the actions – commend the willingness, passion, and zeal demonstrated by people willing to risk loss for the sake of what they believe in. They protest against oppression and fight for their territory, families, and livelihood. This would seem an inherently noble battle.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, the system around him was flawed and corrupt. Many debate what this should mean for Christians today, but God’s word points out that His people, who obey His Word, do have a battle to fight – not against “flesh and blood” or Wall Street, but against the spiritual forces controlled by Satan. When asked why he did not have his people “fight back,”Jesus commented, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight.. But now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36.
Pursuit of peace?
Peace is not merely the absence of violence – but rather something deeper that produces hope, comfort, and happiness. It is natural for us to long for peace, fairness, happiness, and unity! Man was not designed to live in a world of war, inequalities, broken hearts, and broken lives.
Class warfare is not a new concept to humanity. Part of the tension we face springs from this inequality. It would seem counter-intuitive for the government to borrow more money in an attempt to reduce debt, yet, ironically, protesters in turn counter-intuitively loot and vandalize stores in the name of fairness. Like this unstable unity that we see in the protestors, our ways of creating peace seem far from stable. But, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is lasting peace!
The happy ending
Though it doesn’t seem like it now, there is a happy ending to the struggles we face in this age. Neither justice nor peace will be achieved by protesting, fighting, or revolting. In fact, even the best form of government we could devise would not produce true fairness, unity and peace. Jesus’ message, the gospel, focused on the one answer: the Kingdom of God. That is not of this world… yet. But we can fight for it! The body of believers are to be unified by God’s spirit, protest and reject man’s godless systems and actions (within some boundaries), and long for the peace and justice that will flow out from God’s Kingdom when Christ returns!