Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandpa Norman!

There was a tweet this morning from someone @sillygilly0, that her grandfather went to Occupy Wall Street in New York City for his 83rd birthday today. “How awesome,” I thought.  Grandpa Norman’s participation is more significant than he probably realizes.  Grandpa Norman helps to dispel the myths and the purposeful disinformation that is attempting to discredit and dismiss the Occupy movement worldwide.  

The Occupy is about the common people rising up and saying, “No More.”  Are there things to criticize?  Sure.  The poorest of the poor have been saying this stuff for years, but until it hit the “middle class” no one listened.  And when you get tens of thousands of people together anywhere, those who don’t care about the movement will filter in - stealing, instigating, advocating violence, working right into the hands of those who would like the movement to disappear.  But have you listened to a General Assembly?  Not like our General Assemblies in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where everything is scripted down to the inhaling and exhaling of breath, I swear.  The GAs of the Occupy are this sometimes aggravating, always messy, way of coming to consensus  in a large group.  Mic Check is brilliant.  It signals a new thread of thought, a new person speaking.  Phrases are said and then repeated back so that everyone hears and everyone has heard as accurately as possible.  It takes time!  How different than church board meetings that take time, leave no one in consensus, and follow Robert’s Rules  as it was a book of the New Testament.  
Information is shared at lightning speed through tweets and the internet.  Occupies around the world know what the other is doing, support each other, strengthen each other.  Hmm.  I thought that was what “church” was supposed to be.  A world wide movement for peace and fundamental change in how we conduct our lives based on some rabble rouser named Jesus.

Grandpa Sebastian
My friends this is a post-modern movement and those who are still steeped in the modern time cannot make sense of it.  It frightens them.  It doesn’t look like organization as they know it, “organization” is loose.  Various sub-groups are given space and time to be.  It reflects thinking that says there is more than one way to do things, there are multiple truths, and there is no box big enough to put anyone, any belief system, or any movement into no matter how hard the corporate media tries. The movement is pluralistic and is exemplified in many ways including creating sacred space for all forms of spirituality.  I mean did you know that there are things like inter-faith services such as the one my husband is participating in this afternoon at Occupy Portland.  And a Christian communion service this morning. 

The Immigrant Family:
Peter, Nicholas, Anthony, Elizabeth
I just want to go hug Grandpa Norman and tell him happy today!  I want to tell him that I remember my grandfather at age 83.  He didn’t walk, he shuffled.  He made wine that would clean the corrosion off of any battery.  He spoke with a thick German accent which was “interesting” to follow when his teeth weren’t in. And Grandpa Nicholas Sebastian, born 1885 in Eastern Europe, rioted on the streets of Chicago in the 1910s for the right of workers to organize.  Grandpa is why I don’t cross a picket line if I am aware of it.  Grandpa is why I support labor unions and their importance.  I know that Grandpa literally risked his life to say, “No More.”  Workers have a right to be treated fairly and have a share of the wealth that they are creating. Grandpa would be one of these pesky Occupiers today, fighting for many of the same things he fought for 100 years ago.  Grandpas are totally awesome.  

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