Saturday, March 17, 2012

Drafting Over 65 for OWS

I feel my age when these OWS rallies tumble out onto the streets as yesterday in front of the New York Stock Exchange. This was a rally right out of spring break with calisthenics, cheers and a "people's gong." It was timed--as it will be every Friday until May 1st--for the closing bell of trading at the NYSE. Old knees had trouble keeping up but my spirit was right in synch. I know some of my peers are itching for a fight too but other than "Jerry", they were AWOL.

There were a hundred or so demonstrators and an equal number taking pictures of the event on cell phones as we passed by. This is not generational distress--other than feeling like I'm everybody's Dad--as much as my age group should be in the front lines of this protest. So where are they? Ironically, the Baby Boomers and Millenials have a lot in common: fixed income. The former from retirement; the latter because any job's relevance is drained away by student debt. 

Earlier in the day I lunched with a friend in his late 70's. He uses a walker but despite challenges he remains indomitable in spirit and limb. I guessed the answer to my question about the whereabouts of older folk lay in our chat over salad in this uptown restaurant. "Don't burn any bridges with the Church!" He counseled. I'd left that port a long time ago; this voyage was well into new seas. 

Theologians Marion Grau and Catherine Keller write about the polydoxical origins of Christianity. That is, it can't be refined to the one, true faith since the sources are multitudinous. Birthed from that perspective, now when Christianity encounters an indigenous spirituality (OWS?) rather swaggering alongside in a posture of provision to the new perspective a more humble "circumambulation" around the concept should be the tact. See what  "Christness" is revealed before you off load the Jesus package as a "cargo cult" to eager natives wanting to gobble up goodies that come with signing onto the gospel. This was a totally new idea to my elderly friend, as are perpetual horizontal conversations of Occupy Wall Street with no list of grievances.

For him, everything is done as a reference to the old order. I had a feeling of panic as he voiced this opposition. He was trapped. Older generations are walled off from this realization and indoctrinated but, I believe, secretly, they want to give it the finger. Their years can grant them a special and occasional pass on security as they flirt with risk. It does mean that they have come to some peace with their own finitude, though. I got the impression that Fr. Paul Mayer carried that wisdom into his arrest on December 17th.

When I directed senior centers it fascinated me that older men who were unprepared for the sedentary ways of retirement--which easily housed their wives--created synthetic places for a buzz. Poker and crap games, pool, as well as bets on every conceivable sports contest reignited the stress of a workplace they'd left behind. I wonder if that's one solution: send out a clarion call of Wall Street as a contest. It sounds like the plot line for Marvel Comics and it would be entertaining if not for the woeful loss of seniors in our ranks.

1 comment:

  1. George, I'd be out there with you, if the youngsters would led me pass on the calisthenics. And when I get tired and my knees give out, if they could provide a little cart or rickshaw for me. And if I lived closer.