Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Kind of Protest

Some comments or thoughts simply "stick", eh. I've had this thought from Shane Claiborne camping in my head for some time now and I can't seem to exorcise it from my thinking:

"Protestors are everywhere, but I think the world is desperately in need of prophets, those little voices that can point us toward another future... Most people are aware that something is wrong. The real question is, What are the alternatives?"
(Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution)

I feel that this is the challenge, or at least its a challenge to me. I have spent too long defining myself and letting myself be defined by what I'm not. There is enough dooms-day prophets clamoring for the headlines with anxious complaints of what can't be done, what has to be managed, whining of scarcity. There is not enough of what Walter Brueggemann calls the practice of the prophetic imagination.... conversations, communities, creative experiments that shift the focus from what is to what could be... practices of renewal, practices of the resurrection... There is not enough hopeful, liberating speech... speech that embodies, energizes, and resources alternatives... or if there is, then, I have to say from where I sit there is definitely not enough sharing of stories.... it could be we're stuck in our own silos... desperately trying to engage with the noble cause of changing history with only what we have and what we know.... unwittingly repeating and reinforcing the same fragmented individualism and isolationism that has caused the mess we're in... is it time for something different... a new kind of protest... is there enough energy left to create some sort of forum that could energize alternatives... not a committee (good God that would simply be "hell on earth")... a movement of people who hang flesh on and speak of better ways... a network of people sharing and telling a different story .... what could you say to this? what do you think?


  1. Snap,

    think its easier to go with the flow and protest, rather than offer alternatives, protesting is trendy (perhaps even sexy) yet alternatives are hard work, people who present alternatives are at risk of being put down, and rubbished for their thinking. Where as protesters are almost glammerised as getting out their and making an impact.

    But then I guess Jesus was put down and his alternative soltions where rubbished as well, so if we where to do this we would be in good company :)

  2. Comment # 2

    "It's not enough to rage against the've got to replace it with the truth.” Bono

    used this quote today in a workshop i did at the local high school about fairtrade.

    What i love about young people, is that like do stuff, dont always spend lots of time thinking about, but action and rebellion against things comes naturally.

    Suspect the owners of the supermarket and the school canteen may not be as excited as i was with what they have planned.

    Anyway there is a huge challenge in what we do, and i guess for the work of the Social Policy unit especially when you present and educate people, we meed to offer real and practical alternatives to make a change. Theories and problems simply dont cut it.

  3. Amen and Amen. A purpose of the Unit (at least its a passion of mine) is to provide the fuel that'll light many little fires of activism.... that's what we hope and try to do... resource re-imagination, resource the righting of wrongs...