Back to something more serious.
Today the Dean of St Pauls also resigned, bringing the tally to three. Far from toppling the tax evaders and obscenely wealthy, the Occupy protest seems to have precipitated a huge crisis of conscience at St Pauls, centred around this one critical question ‘What would Jesus do?’
It’s impossible to answer that question, since none of us actually ARE Jesus. What we know is that he welcomed both the poor and the marginalised. In this instance, the 99 per cent are the poor, but perhaps it’s the one per cent who are on the margins. As someone tweeted last week, in a story Jesus told, the Good Shepherd left the 99 to seek and to save the one.
So what are the clergy at St Pauls to do? To balance their service to their parish, which is the wealth of the City, with the calling of Christ to go to the least, the last and the lost. Especially since in some ways we’re all of us least, last and lost. How can the church possibly take sides? Surely its calling is to all people – the campers in the tents, the tourists in the queues, the bankers in the Stock Exchange?
Where normally the established church is in the media for its interminable squabbles about sexuality and women, it’s refreshing to see Christians publicly wrestling with the issues of poverty and inequality and economic morality. It’s a public version of a tension lots of Christians feel trying to live in a culture where economics is everything, while attempting to demonstrate a way of life that turns economics on its head, where the last are the first and the first are the last.
Resignations in politics and business seem to count for very little these days. But these resignations feel more significant and meaningful. Perhaps because, in all the muddle and mayhem about what should or shouldn’t be done, they send at least one clear message – more than the gays or the women or the aborters or the paedophiles – our economic situation and its impact on ordinary people is absolutely the one thing we can agree is important enough to be worthy of a crisis of conscience.