Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy as an act of prophecy

Yesterday I heard the Occupy movement described as an act of prophecy. I think this makes a lot of sense. The biblical prophets did not typically lay out a list of demands, nor did anyone expect them to. They merely cried out, "Repent!" In some cases (Jonah, for instance, although his story is fictional), people listened.

Now, prophecy should never be confused with mere fortune-telling. Prophets are those who speak God's truth to the powers-that-be, whether anyone wants to hear them or not. If you Google "Occupy" and "Prophecy" together, you'll find all sorts of stuff about the "End Times," the Mayan calendar, etc. That's not what I'm talking about. When prophets are really on the ball, yes, they might well predict a coming disaster. But that's not their primary purpose. Their purpose is to help the people avert disaster. A prophet is one who wakes up the sleeping driver, not one who wrestles the wheel out of the driver's hands.

Prophecy is a lens through which to look at a broken world. When we hear a prophet speak, we are called to act. It may well lead to positive change in society, but it's not up to the Occupy protesters to fix the situation. Indeed, the movement's very existence is an emotional outburst that stems from the feeling that they can't possibly fix the situation. But they can drag the situation into the spotlight and unmask it for all to see ... and that's exactly what's happening.

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