About a week ago, my wife, a couple friends, and I went into L.A. to eat some authentic ramen in Little Tokyo. It was delicious and if you’re ever in L.A. make sure you visit Orochon Ramen. You won’t regret it. I digress. As we pulled off the freeway and headed toward our destination, we just happened to pass by City Hall and the encampment for Occupy L.A.
1.) Nonviolence. It always blows my mind that people think we can achieve peace by fighting in wars. World War 1 was meant to be the war to end all wars, but it ended up ushering in an era of perpetual war. We just go from one war to the next, all in the name of justice and with the ultimate goal of peace. Human life isn’t sacred. It’s truly sad. I once heard a quote that really stuck out to me and I think it illustrates my point in a very vivid way: F*cking for chastity is like killing for peace.
2.) Socially Conscious Living. We as Americans are so greedy and selfish that we fail to think where our products come from or who they’re hurting. Our house doesn’t buy any chocolate that isn’t Fair Trade because we know that most chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast where they steal children from their families and force them into slavery. All of that just for a Hersey’s bar or a Kit-Kat. Is my not eating chocolate going to change the industry? Probably not. Yet, if enough of us speak out, we will be able to incite change. We need to open our eyes and consider our actions. I am horrible at this. I just don’t see these things and in the past I haven’t cared. It requires something of me to make these changes in my life. I also keep people around me who open my eyes.
3.) Passion. Why are Christians some of the most passionless people in America? As I look at the life of Jesus, I see nothing but passion. Passion for people. Passion for the sick and dying. Passion for justice. Passion for holiness. So many times, the only passion I see in the church is the passion people put into condemning other churches or ministries. It’s easy to sit on your butt and condemn everyone from the comfort of your living room. It requires something to get out there, join the body of Christ, and work for unity. We have to have passion for the things Jesus had passion for. He loves his church, but we are so splintered it breaks his heart. The occupy movement isn’t always about one thing specifically, but they still work together. What would happen if a Catholic, a Pentecostal, a Lutheran, and an Emergent church got together, put aside their differences, jointly praised their Savior, and did something to affect their community for the good? Would the world really end if we agree to disagree, but still chase after the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost together? I think it might bless God and actually affect our world for the good.
I was truly amazed by Occupy L.A. The art, the willingness to sleep in tents and forgo comforts, the feeding of one another, the place to pray, the sharing of resources, it was all pretty breathtaking. It made me realize how much I really like my comfort and my stuff. I only hope that if the time comes when Jesus asks me to do something like occupy that I have the cojones to do it. Without each other we will fail. I implore anyone who isn’t in fellowship with the larger body of Christ be it a church or a small group where you can be built up, where there’s accountability, where you can join your voice and actions with others, and where you can use your gifts and giftings to bless others to please, please, please join one. No one was meant to be alone or isolated. And no just meeting with your immediate family doesn’t count. I know I’m only one man, but I hope for the day we will work together and change this world. We all have such amazing gifts to offer. All we need to do is offer our lives.
All photos where taken with my iPhone 4s.