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A Christian Response to the OWS Protestors
Rating: 2.50


I am currently reading Eric Metaxas’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In it, he points out Bonhoeffer’s fascination with how the world worshiped success.

In his book Ethics, Bonhoeffer says, "The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done."

As Eric explains, Hitler was popular because he succeeded. He ended Germany's worst depression ever, caused by its defeat in World War I, and after France fell he completely eliminated the humiliation Germany felt from their loss in the last war. Hitler even went so far as to have the French sign the conditions of surrender in the same forest, the same railroad car, and even sitting on the same chair where the Germans signed their terms of surrender 23 years earlier. Or as Eric writes, "The old has passed away, and behold, he had made all things new." If there were polls taken at that time, Hitler would have had approval ratings in the 90 percentile. The German people were ignoring Hitler's slaughter of thousands of Germans and others because of his achievements. In the end "Hitler was destroying Germany through success."

Fast forward to today, and we see what happens when there is no "success." For decades now "The American Dream" has been promoted as the latest form of success: a college education, high-paying job, big house, fancy cars, etc., all under the slogan "You can have it all." For many of those decades it appeared that success was for anyone who wanted it, whether they applied themselves or not. Increased credit card debt, homeownership for those who couldn't afford it, more and more government entitlement programs, promotion of self-worth and entitlement to the "good things in life," all whitewashed the underlying destructive path America was on. In 2008 it all came tumbling down. The failures became apparent.

When failure hits, a scapegoat is needed. Surely it was because those rich people on Wall Street stole this dream and wanted it only for themselves. Now we have Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors demanding that the riches of the "haves" be taken and distributed to the "have-nots."

How should a Christian respond to all of this? Are the protestors right, and should we support them? Or does God call us in a different direction?

Eric Metaxas points us to how God defines success. He tells us how Bonhoeffer came to realize that "God was not interested in success, but in obedience. If one obeyed God and was willing to suffer defeat and whatever else came one's way, God would show a kind of success that the world couldn't imagine."

God is telling us that success is not based on what car we drive, or size of house we live in, or even how much wealth we have accumulated over our lives. It is based, rather, on our obedience to His Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

He shows us this through Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Jesus was always obedient to His Father's commands. By the world's standards Jesus was a failure and should be ignored, but through His obedience He attained the ultimate success and now sits at the right hand of the Father.

As Christians we should value obedience to Jesus over any worldly success. We should also recognize that every good thing we have comes from God, and not for our sole benefit but so that we can use it all to glorify Him.

Which leads me to my final point. What the protestors are promoting is what the Bible would call covetousness. There really isn't any such thing as "haves" and "have-nots." We all are "haves." If you read the parable of the talents, you will notice two things. First, each servant was given a different amount, not equally divided, and commanded to manage what they were given. God is not showing favorites. He gives us all different amounts of wealth, intelligence, creativity, and so forth, and commands us to manage what He has given us to His glory, not for our worldly success.

We also see that when the master returned and asked for an accounting from each, he didn't take from the two that were successful and give to the one that was lazy. Rather, he condemned the lazy one for not doing anything. He then took away the talents the lazy one had and gave it to the two that had much, and said: "For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:29-30)

Let none of us Christians be found, when Jesus returns, to be like the lazy one, not applying what we have been given. Let us not be among those who are demanding that we be given what God has given others. Instead let us be found content with what God has given us, actively obeying His Word and multiplying our talents for His glory.

Note: All quotes are taken from Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.

Dennis Babish is a Centurion and a blogger for the BreakPoint Blog.


Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Chuck Colson or BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.

Comments:

Define the "Occupy" issue(s) precisely
What are the SPECIFIC solutions the OCCUPY people want out of "Wall Street"??? Is "Wall Street" alone the only source to fix the issues causing their undefined rage?

Ah, for the days of Protestors with CLEAR ISSUES..and CLEAR SOLUTIONS .such as my cousin's grandma...who was a Sfufragette...lobbying about 1910 or so...for the right to VOTE...and other legal inequities against women which were (pretty much) addressed?
...........I say to any OCCUPY person...don't let your unfocused rage be channeled by the "users"...DEFINE your issues & your proposed SOLUTIONS first off...TELL news people your SPECIFIC Issues and Proposed Solutions!

And...miss a few semi blind Protest Rallies to do some QUALITY RESEARCH into how the US GOV has ALSO messed up the Economy.
.......... Start with those sloppy "Mixed Marriage (Government and Business) Siblings "Fannie and Freddie"...and how they messed up mortgage lending!!!

(PS any OCCUPY protestor who does not even know who Fannie and Freddie are...should remember Lenin's sardonic comment about
the Usefulness of those herds of people...with strong but undefined rage...)

PS if you DON"T know who Fannie and Freddie are, you don't know enough to real
Article Respects OWS Protesters
@Santosh Ninan

Be thankful that Dennis Babish is using grace and reason in disagreeing with OWS supporters like yourself. He could have used harsh language like describing all members of OWS as "a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness."

This is a quote from cartoonist Frank Miller, who thinks showing grace to those of an opposing view is for the birds:

http://frankmillerink.com/2011/11/anarchy

So, give credit to Babish for trying to start a dialogue instead of bluntly dismissing you as Miller does.
A Convenient Worldview
So let me get this straight. You are suggesting that the OWS protesters are simply lazy and covetous, that they are protesting their lack of big houses and fancy cars?!

You're in for a surprise if you visit one of these occupations for yourself, or even if you just spent a little time at this website: http://occupywallst.org/

How convenient that Christians needn't consider the poor and destitute: since they are already "haves," poverty, oppression and economic injustice are impossible! Silly Jesus, what was he thinking?
Great Article, bad comments
This is a great article. I have read and re-read the negative comments and I am not sure what they are talking about. We are in a major recession right now. It is long and deep. If you really want to get to the source you may need to take a good look at a book by Peter Schweizer called "Architects of Ruin" It shows how the problems we are having today stated back in the 1970's when government started telling banks and financial organizations how to lend money. Yes we have had greedy people in banks and homeowners that bought too much home for their income. If we do not learn from the past we will make the same mistakes again in the future.
Fantastic Article
The willful ignorance of the majority of the comments is not surprising. I've listened to and engaged with many protesters over the past year and they all seem to think they are being ripped off by the "rich". They can't even define the rich. They have a hard time explaining what they are protesting although they're pretty good at chanting mindless phrases. The article is a masterpiece at explaining the OWS protesters with a Christian perspective. Many protesters have little knowledge of who Jesus is yet they are pretty confident he would agree with their tactics.
Stealing from the Poor
So you are saying that Obama's bail out of Wall Street was God taking from the pawns (us) and giving it to those who have much!? I don't think that principal holds water. They for sure did not use there talents wisely. They should have lost theirs and the bail out been given to the little guys who are out working hard to make this country go, and who are being swindled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. God has a lot to say about stealing from the poor which is what Wall Street Banks did in my opinion. This doesn't seem to hold water for me!
The protestors are not protesting out of covetousness, but rather out of the fact that they have once again been robbed by the rich! The money Wall Street is hoarding away is our money, yours and mine! We have every right to protest and demand accountability just as God did in the parable of the talents. Greed is not found in the protestors, but rather in the hearts of the greedy Capitalists who would rather hedge their bets at the expense of the rest of us and then expect to be bailed out when it doesn't work out!
This has nothing to do with welfare or getting something for nothing. This has to do with working hard and doing everything they can to make this country grow and prosper only to have it stolen away through shady deals that eat up all the investment the little guy has saved.
There is something very wrong with the logic in this article in my opinion.
I couldn't have constructed a better rebuttle than
From Daily Kos: A Voice from the 1%:

One last observation. Many of the 53% crowd seem quite proud of their Christian faith. I am not religious myself, but I am reasonably certain that Jesus would not respond to the poor and unemployed with shouts of "Get a job!" I vividly remember what it was like to be poor. To be concise, it sucked, and my heartfelt sympathies automatically go out to anyone who has to experience it, especially children who are blameless for their circumstances. Whenever I meet someone who has not been as lucky as I have been, I recognize how easily our roles could have been reversed by the random forces of fate. And despite my lack of religion, I instinctively think "There but for the grace of God go I." If only those who actually believe in God would think the same thing more often they might not be so eager to cut my taxes
Originally posted to Gaius on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM PDT.
OWS
Powerful and quite thought provoking.
FR
You're Wrong
I disagree with this article completely. The protestors are not protesting because they don't have stuff, or they are not succesful. They are protesting at the gross injustices caused through the mis-use of Wall Street Investors, who gambled away people's money. This is a justice issue, not a covetousness issue. This is an article that is completely out of touch with the truth of the Occupy movement.