Sunday, January 1, 2012

My conversation with Jason about rules

Jason is geting frustrated by the project of trying to come up with a set of rules that might facilitate a workable #ows living group at West-Park. The committed anarchists in the group are resisting. We’ll move in first and then make the rules, they say. No, you won’t. No rules, no move in. (That’s me.)
I say to Jason, So you guys have left Eden for good. You’re out of the garden now. And then, but let me use a metaphor from my line. I grew up as a Christian with the narrative line that Judaism was a religion of law and Christianity a religion of love. That was a lie. Christianity has made as many rules and oppressive laws that bind the human spirit. And do violence to others.  But more than that, it’s a misrepresentation.
Jews don’t feel burdened by the law. Every year, after the High Holy Days, there’s this celebration, Simchat Torah, Joy in the Torah. Why? Because jews believe that the Torah, the teaching, the law, was a gift from God. A gift that set us free to be human. It’s like how far can you drive with your eyes closed? It’s the law that put concern for the widow, the orphan, the stranger at your gates at the very center of community life.  And declared that every seven times seven plus one year there should be a Jubilee, all debts forgiven, property revert to the original owners. Why? Because they believed that society cannot sustain itself if any of its members are permanently on the margins, premanently dependent on the charity of others.  It’s the 99%, man, at the heart of the law.  
And I have few words about concensus as well. Not always so democratic. My polity mentor Marianne Wolfe taught me  that concensus models can put heavy emotional pressure on the minority to give in. There haas to be a way a way for people to hold onto their dissent without blocking the group. And as, well, concesus allows small, organized or not, groups to perpetually hamstring the movement, prevent any progress at all.  
Jason says, You have to come say that tonight, and say this,  it’s really important. And i say, if my family’s ok, I’ll be there.

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