We are thrilled to invite you to our cumulative performance piece that is to take place on December 2nd and 3rd and West-Park Presbyterian Church at 8pm. Tickets are $8.00 at the door, and $5.00 in advance that can purchased through here!
Looking forward to see you there!
The Gala- West-Park is going through a transitional stage as it embarks on a period of restoration. The 5th’s event is a way to generate interest and money into the church and their non profit organization that functions alongside them The Center at West-Park. SIE embodies all of the characteristics of their mission and would like to feature bits of our piece as well as our ‘contributing artists’ at the event.
Techies! To enliven this performance, we need all hands on deck! If you have any experience in working a space- lighting/sound etc… we would love and appreciate your participation! Contact us on our web page:www.spiritconnectexperiment.weebly.com to find out how to join us.
Contributing Artists! A large part of this piece is featuring and collaborating with artists of all kinds, not only to contribute to the aesthetic of the piece but to also provide a way of connecting to these ideas through various mediums. We encourage you to look out our ‘contributing artists’ tab on the spiritconnect…website and to ‘contact us’ if you are interested in collaborating with us and presenting your art!
Preoccupations: Spirituality and the “Occupy Wall Street” MovementThursday October 6th, 2011by Courtney Bender reposted from http://uscmediareligion.org/
It has proved hard for reporters to get a handle on whatever is happening in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street and in other parks across the United States this week. Is it a movement? No, say many–despite the fact that the impulse that began in lower Manhattan has quickly spread across the country through social media networks. Without concrete demands and without an official leader or spokesperson, Occupy Wall Street is a challenging thing to cover. It doesn’t want to fit into the usual social and political categories, much less the categories that news media usually assign to social and political phenomena.
Given this confusion over terms–and the simultaneous public and journalistic question of whether Occupy Wall Street is the beginning of “something bigger” or merely a piece of minor political theater–it is perhaps not fair to complain about religion coverage. But complain I will, given what I see as two larger issues that Occupy Wall Street has exposed in broader reporting on American religious politics, particularly progressive politics.
While there has not been much media interest in probing the religious dimensions of Occupy Wall Street, the few article that have ventured in this direction generally rely on one of two well-worn storylines. The first looks for the involvement of mainstream liberal religious groups and finds it lacking. Raising the “where are the clergy?” question should not stand in for asking “where are the religious people?” but it does. Harking back to coverage of the civil rights era and other religiously inspired political movements, this angle suggests that without the involvement of institutional religious organizations, there is no “real” religion at the occupation.
The second storyline calls attention to things that are often depicted as “pseudo-religion” or “inauthentic religion,” including drum circles, group meditation and “Burning Man”-type ritual performances. These representations of unorthodox practice, often picked up in passing by conservative media, frame Wall Street occupiers as flighty new-agers who like their spirituality depoliticized and radically personal.
This pair of reportorial strategies provides familiar but unhelpful ways to consider the religious dimensions of the occupation. In fact makes it possible to overlook the varieties of spiritual symbols, performance, actions and discourse–not to mention religious and spiritual networks and communication webs–that energize events in Zuccotti Park and elsewhere.
How to recognize these kinds of actions and performances? Journalists could see for themselves, if they would set aside their assumptions about what religion is supposed to look like. Asking whether Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping are authentic, whether Cornel West is acting opportunistically, whether the participants in the meditation circle “flash mob” or the marchers whose signs read “Jesus was the 99%” are acting independently or as “religious” adherents are wrongheaded questions. Both Reverend Billy and the flash mob meditators revel in the complicated interplay of sincerity and parody, of identification and non-identification, to make their points.
We could even say that occupiers’ refusal to give uncomplicated answers to the question of whether their motivations are rooted mainly in religious, secular, economic or political identities holds up a useful mirror to the very messy, complicated social and economic morass that they critique. This is another way of saying that sussing out religion in Occupy Wall Street might be easier through attention to the origins and effects of the impulses playing out in groups that identify with the phenomenon. To the ways that they draw upon or resonate with atmospheric connections among religion, capitalism andAmerican identity.
If Wall Street is an “abstraction,” as one astute observer has put it, and the question of “how to occupy an abstraction” is being worked out as we watch, then we should ask how spirituality, one of the greatest American abstractions, is present in this working-out. It is reasonable to expect that occupiers will turn to the largely uncategorized trove of practice, theology and identity that we have often dismissed as the “spiritual”–and which might turn out to have deeper political dimensions than anyone knew.
Courtney Bender is an associate professor of religion at Columbia University. She is the author ofThe New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (Chicago, 2010) and Heaven’s Kitchen: Living Religion at God’s Love We Deliver (Chicago, 2003) as well as the co-editor (with Pamela Klassen) of After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagements (Columbia, 2010).