American worship music bows to the imperialist theology of our day.
For instance, John Mark McMillan, popular American Christian worship leader, debuted a new album entitled “Economy” on November 1. Key words in the title track include “war,” “tyranny,” “arrested” and “foreclose.” McMillan does not use these words in a concrete manner, such as to speak about the U.S. economic status, but metaphorically portrays an individual Christian life in relation to God.
Using jargon similar to that of the Occupy movement, this album is ironic, since it does not intend to speak of politics. Instead, these lyrics only reinforce the listener’s ideology.
This ideology insists that God will take care of the economy without our help. Secondly, it implies that divine providence is veiled behind these systems of power.
I believe that this is what Marx is referring to when he calls religion “the opium of the masses.” Those who commit to a religion sometimes ignore the problems in the world and focus solely on their faith. In this way, religion can hold the same role as drugs, making a person unaware of reality.
The Occupy Movement awakens us to the reality of injustice and political corruption. Therefore, it can be a good way for us to detoxify ourselves from only using our words to love God so that, instead, we can also use our hands and feet.
Throughout the Christian Scriptures, several leaders arose to speak out for justice and to deconstruct society. The prophet Amos spoke against societies and the ways that they oppressed the poor. In addition, the prophet Isaiah roared against his fellow Israelites, saying, “Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Now, the Occupy Movement is not inherently religious or even Christian, but it does stand for the same issues, such as aiding the poor, feeding the hungry and listening to those who have no voice. So, even if we do not agree with the 99% slogan, maybe we can still fight alongside those who hold the same goals.
The use of consensus demonstrates another positive note in the Occupy Movement. Although the style and method varies according to context, the main goal is to have all voices heard.
Consensus is valuable for justice-pursuing Christians because how can justice be performed without understanding of others’ needs? Consensus does not negate our commitment to Christ, but it is an aid to loving our neighbors, because we can love them more fully when we know them more completely. The Occupy Movement does not take the place of Christianity, but assists it to help make the world more just.