I watched the eviction of the Occupy St. Paul’s camp live on TV and have followed the coverage of it today. The words ‘Go Figure’, in American parlance, came to me.
The people who were praying and seeking the guardianship of
’s during the eviction were the protesters. People who are pleased that the protesters have gone described their glee in terms of St. Paul’s being a ‘magnificent Wren building’, as a ‘historical building’ or ‘as tourist site’ that was not allowed to be touristed (I made this word up). So the situation is as follows. The lovers of architecture and tourists had been deprived all these months of visiting a building while, in the meantime, the people who were camped right outside waited and waited and waited for Christian charity. The building in question is a church. ‘Go figure’. See what I mean? St. Paul
Somewhere along the continuum line of protest and authority lies the difference between the message of Jesus and the means by which the message is conveyed (nice building). The church had the authority to be master of its’ actions. The resignations that happened were as a result of internal conduct towards an external situation. The protesters did not call for resignations to occur. I know of Christians who have blamed the Occupy movement for the resignations that happened at St.Paul’s and, seemingly, what they are saying is that the church ought not to be sullied by contemporary issues. Yesterday was another opportunity to put things right. ‘Go figure’.
Symon Hill and Jonathan Bartley from Ekklesia, the Christian think tank, were present last night at the eviction and were praying when they were told to move on by the police. Mr Bartley alleges that St.Paul’s was complicit in all this. You can read his account here and watch the video above.
Here’s my answer to‘Go Figure'. The Anglican Church as represented by St.Paul’s missed another opportunity to demonstrate a sense of Christian purpose. They could have been bold and exerted some authority to ensure that nothing happened on their steps or on their roofs. They didn’t. For a faith that claims to represent everyone, well, it didn't.