Is God Behind Occupy Wall Street (and We’re Missing It)?

December 21, 2011

Jesus says Occupy Wall Street

Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Jesus Christ? A series of tweets and Facebook posts led me to a surprising discovery…

“If Jesus communicated kingdom stories/parables in our context today, what stories would he tell?” This is the question J.R. Briggs posed on Twitter. He followed it up with 11 surprising parables. Here’s my own tweeted contribution:

But things didn’t stop there, and this parable came back to haunt me. The kingdom of God is like… Occupy Wall Street?

From Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street

What if the Occupy movement is the hand of God at work?

I tweeted that 10 months ago. Who could have foreseen that the Arab Spring would continue to shake nations and topple rulers? Or that it would inspire other protests in the United States and across Europe to “speak truth to power”?

What if the Arab Spring is the hand of God at work? …So far, you might not have trouble accepting that. After all, these are corrupt, oppressive governments. People crying out for freedom sounds like God.

But let me stretch you further. What if the Occupy movement is the hand of God at work?

Prophecies of a youth movement

Back up. In modern prophetic circles, there have been prophecies for some time about God raising up a new generation. There were words about “a great shaking” and “going beyond church walls.”

Two of my friends from the Soliton Sessions discussed this on Facebook, and drew a connection to Occupy Wall Street that stunned me. Heather started it.

We’ve all been told a huge youth movement was coming. What, did we expect it would be all sanitized and churchified? God is moving in this generation, and religious hearts will fail to see His handiwork in the midst of it all.

Whoa. Then Mike Morrell jumped in and commented,


And I think, y’all, that Heather might be saying that #OccupyEverywhere is the big, messy youth movement. You might not like its politics but there’s no denying that 1.) It’s here/everywhere 2.) It’s about a rebellion from materialism to transcendent values being made concrete and 3.) There’s an undeniably spiritual hunger at the root of it all – one in which many followers of Jesus are rising to meet, but which many, many others are simply standing in judgement over.

Like Heather, I grew up in a milieu where charismatic & ‘prophetic’ ministries prophesied that the ‘Joshua Generation’ would raise up into some kind of ‘youth revival’ – the bravest among these prophets even suggested that it would be ‘unreligious’ and take place outside the four walls of a building.

Still. I’ll be amazingly impressed if any of the prophets who have prophesied this are seeing the signs that many others are seeing in OWS.

Again, the prophecies were about a youth-led movement that would go beyond church walls to shake the nations. Are you connecting the dots yet? This is huge.

Could it be God?

One objection people might have is that the Occupy movement is messy. “God is a God of order.” But folks who say this haven’t experienced renewal/revival, where the Holy Spirit worked on and through a large number of people over a period of time. I have, and trust me: it’s messy.

Not convinced? Brian McLaren wrote an article entitled OWS and the Holy Spirit: “There is a spiritual dimension to the Occupy movement that too few people understand. A first-hand report from Occupy D.C.”

Still not convinced? Martin Luff blogs at The Deliberate Disciple, where he wrote Occupy Wall St. – The Revolution Is Love. He shared this powerful video, along with his own thoughts:

What do you think? This wouldn’t be the first time God has chosen to go outside of religious authority structures, even in my lifetime. Is God behind Occupy Wall Street? How should we respond? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter to catch these ideas in their early stages before they become full-blown blog posts.

Update: I created a “word cloud” from this post. It looks like computer-generated prophetic poetry!

Photo by duncan (license)

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

9 responses to Is God Behind Occupy Wall Street (and We’re Missing It)?

  1. Thumbs up:
    I’m all in on being the gift you were made to be, and giving that gift. Also like his point about love accepting the other next to you.
    My favorite part of the video was the idea that we all know the current world system is failing. Its not even working for the 1%. Let’s envision a better one!
    Thumbs down:
    An economist would NOT say that more for you is less for me, as a rule. And the whole concept of the 99% makes an ‘other’ of the 1%.
    If you don’t have ‘demands’ at least have a coherent Message.
    If OWS is a prophetic movement, I dig it. We could use a bit of constructive criticism.
    I’m done looking for the One True Movement. As Rhymin Simon says, “Every generation throws a hero up the pop chart.”

    • Jor, I can always count on you for good perspective.
      Regarding coherent message: The press has repeated the murmurs that there is no coherent message. Certainly there’s been a mish-mash, as different people (like UC students) have taken up slightly different causes. But the base message seems clear enough: see this cartoon and video
      Nice statement on the One True Movement. We have the One, who will touch people in different ways at different times, and it’ll get mixed up with the “stuff” of those people.

  2. good words Jon
    have a blessed Christmas!

  3. So instead of a big tent revival this could be a revival with parks full of camping tents. Cool.

  4. Yes and Yes! If God and Bible are accurate than yes absolutely of course. That was my feeling hearing about the occupy movement in London-ouside of St Pauls. It all just mirrored the story of Jesus going in in the New Testament when he upsets the established church and tells them their corruption and ceremony were all hypocritical. Just like then the established church and state system they forgot to be human. John Merry Comradely Christmas to yourselves, Nicky x

    • Nicky, thanks for adding a non-America-centric perspective! Your comment reminded me of this humorous photo from London.

      • Everyone has been sharing that photo, it says it all! Its exactly what I remember from the day Jesus goes into the temple and he gets SO angry with the money lenders-with good reason and now we can ALL see why!
        Here is hoping that God is behind this movement and that it spreads like a plague to be a thunderbolt in the eyes of the corrupt. Merry Christmas everyone x