This post was featured on jacobswell.me.
I have found the occupy protests of the last few months to be very interesting on a number of different fronts. I have read just about everything there is to read on these protests and listened to all the commentary, and I have come to the conclusion that this protest is less about the 99% vs the 1%, and more about a clash in worldviews.
No matter your political persuasion or even your opinion of these protests, it seems to me, that at the core of the issue is one of entitlements and rights. What are we entitled to? As Americans? As Humans?
A scary new frontier:
We are living in a culture that is in massive transition. The students I work with have a world view that is completely egocentric and expect to have certain things given to them. What is amazing to me, is that there used to be a time when people had desires and dreams and then worked hard to get there. But now, no matter the amount of effort put in, the dreams are expected to be fulfilled.
The political and social implications for this are great and many others will wrestle with them. What I am wrestling with is, can grace still be grace if it is an entitlement.
Grace in its very nature is a gift that isn't deserved. Back in the old skool days of theology there was an understanding that we are sinful, depraved, broken, and the only thing we deserved was wrath and punishment. Now there is no sin or brokenness. These things that used to be classified this way are simply parts of our life that add character and personality.
Set up for disappointment:
We are now entitled to God's love, God's blessing, God's never ending goodness and fortune. And when God doesn't show up the way we expect him to, we protest! For we are the 99%, the entitled class. This explains some of the fickleness we see in our students and in their understanding of life and faith.
Because so many in this new worldview expect goodness, blessing and fortune as the starting point, as an entitlement, the only place to go from here is envy and disappointment. Envy, traditionally, one of the seven deadly sins, is now seen as a virtue. The remedy for envy is thanksgiving. But we can only get to a place of thanksgiving if we flip our understanding of entitalment.
Thanksgiving is the remedy for Envy:
We are entitled to nothing. We are lost people, trapped in sin and selfishness. And it is at just the right time that Jesus came and rescued us, extended grace towards us and blesses us with salvation, identity, and purpose. These are not entitlements, but gifts. And when we can understand that for ourselves, and help our students understand that, we will be living once again in an orthodox faith, a faith that is centered on the grace of God through Jesus Christ, not on the selfish protests of an entitled people.
With an entitlement worldview taking over at such a rapid pace, it is even that much more important for us to communicate the gospel clearly, to hold on to our orthodox theology, and be as creative as possible to help a generation understand what they are truly entitled to, and the unexpected grace that was extended to them and us.