Faith in the 99%

This Interfaith working group for the Occupy movement exists to bring people together: to find common ground, to stand together on moral principles of justice & fairness, and to communicate the strong and powerful positions & convictions of our respective faiths, centred on peace & community spirit.

Location: Worldwide
Members: 13
Latest Activity: Nov 10, 2012

Discussion Forum

Help Imagine, Design and Organize an "Occupy Interfaith" Dialogue

Started by Ben Roberts. Last reply by KellyAngelPdx Nov 10, 2012. 21 Replies

The Interfaith theme has been showing up in a number of places for me lately, and I have become inspired to convene a conversation on the subject, and perhaps even a deep inquiry if the collective…Continue


Started by Occupy Cafe Stewards Nov 8, 2011. 0 Replies

From OC Member Rev. David Miller:AN IDEA!!! OCCU-PIE DAY!Some day Thanksgiving week, a day chosen locally, a short…Continue

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Comment by Gildas ApCaw Sapiens on November 16, 2011 at 3:24pm


"observe your duty" means, in an Islamic context, trying to live one's life in accordance with what God has indicated is "good", & trying to avoid doing what God has indicated is "bad".

In terms of "oneness", the Islamic perspective is clear:

  • One God;
  • One Message;
  • One human family;
  • One life.


Comment by Robert Riversong on November 16, 2011 at 3:05pm


Non-religious Utilitarians would disagree with your statement. "Do unto others" is also the behavioral precept with the greatest utility. There are innumerable ethical atheists who base their morality on reason and/or practicality.

Comment by Robert Riversong on November 16, 2011 at 2:09pm


David Whyte



Those who will not slip

beneath the still surface

on the well of grief,


turning down

through its black water

to the place we cannot breathe,


will never know the source

from which we drink

the secret water

cold and clear


nor find

in the darkness glimmering

the small round coins thrown

by those who wished

for something else.


Comment by Bruce Schuman on November 16, 2011 at 1:09pm

Dear Gildas -- Dear All --

From my point of view -- the world would do well to listen to something like "the collective voice of religion" -- if there really was something like that.  Islam would contribute its perspective -- Buddhism would contribute its perspective -- all other religious and spiritual traditions would contribute -- and we would work together towards common ground and a shared/universal ethic.

I'd like to see a framework like this:


Comment by Gildas ApCaw Sapiens on November 16, 2011 at 12:52pm

With respect to this Group's Mission Statement, I offer a few quotations from my faith:

"be righteous and observe your duty and make peace among people." Qur'an, 2:224

"he who enjoins charitable giving and kindness and peace making among the people shall have a vast reward." 4:114

"Be staunch in justice, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man. So follow not passion lest you lapse (from justice)". 4:135

"Be steadfast witnesses in fairness, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that you deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty." 5:8

"Devour not usury, doubling and quadrupling (the sum lent)." 3:130

"God has blighted usury and made charitable giving fruitful." 2:276

"And whoever is saved from his own greed, such are the successful." 64:16

From Prophet Muhammad's last sermon:
"Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners.
Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.
God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived.
You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve: an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white - except by piety and good action."

Peace be upon you.

Comment by Bruce Schuman on November 16, 2011 at 12:06pm

Good morning, from Santa Barbara. 

I'm feeling a connection between this group on "Faith in the 99%" and the discussion promoted by Sharif Abdullah, as Ben described it to me, on creating a "compelling and positive" vision.  I've been considering the issues and tensions cited in the "Vision" discussion - - and how those issues relate to the stated intention of this Working Group:

This Interfaith working group for the Occupy movement exists to bring people together: to find common ground, to stand together on moral principles of justice & fairness, and to communicate the strong and powerful positions & convictions of our respective faiths, centered on peace & community spirit.

This mission statement is also a call for shared vision, for common ground.  I've been involved with interfaith issues for a long time, and I'm very attracted to this concept of "community spirit" -- and the question of how the great "diversity" within a community can be fused into unity and common ground without crushing or ignoring the valuable creative insights inherent in the differences.  We need "bio-diversity" within our communities -- and we also need common ground.  We need both.

And for me, the most compelling vision, the strongest perspective that seems to be emerging, is a call to "oneness" -- arising from many points of view -- whether ecological, or spiritual, or religious, or political -- or even scientific.

I see a global "oneness movement" taking form -- and yes, it does demand some sophisticated interpretation to be authentic at all these levels -- but maybe this kind of framework could be the guiding or holistic container that could frame our "collective visioning" process.

Maybe the ecology/environmental/gaia perspective -- the "universal web of life" idea -- also fits into this framework.


 On October 24, "Global Oneness Day", this statement was released by a group of "Evolutionary Leaders".  I think it's pointing in the right direction:


The Evolutionary Voice

Our intention is to transcend superficial differences that divide us – race, religion, politics, beliefs, culture – to acknowledge, experience and honor the essential bond that unites us all as one interdependent organism. We also intend to evolve in both consciousness and action so that each of us learns to perceive the whole, relate to others in wholeness, widen our definition of ‘we’ to be all inclusive and become evolutionary leaders for a peaceful, holistic, sustainable world.


Comment by Robert Riversong on November 14, 2011 at 11:23pm

The Spiritual Heritage of the Occupy Movement

by Daniel McKanan, the first Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, and the author of Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition


Comment by Robert Riversong on November 13, 2011 at 1:38pm

Happiness, joy, and other feelings of intense well-being, are generally categorized as "euphoria", and can be induced by sex, psychoactive drugs, psychosis, disease states as well as spiritual practices. And I suspect that hedge-fund traders on a good day feel something similar, even though they're doing nothing to help the world.

We tend to believe that only what we consider "positive" emotions or affective states can be spiritual or spiritually opening. I had a great teacher (a channeled spirit called Eon) who spoke of the three fundamental human emotions and their divine counterparts.

Anger, Sadness, & Fear are human emotions that point to an object and cause bodily tension and a shutting down of the spirit. Their divine counterparts – Rage, Grief, & Terror – are have no object, are infinite and opening. 

Fear is clenching, closes the throat and dampens life energy. Terror opens the throat and inflames life energy. Terror is a state of complete relaxation into God, a state of complete union with the whole world. It is surrender.  Imagine floating completely alone in the vastness of space – that is terror. 

Sadness is a self-indulgent feeling of victimization, isolating and self-reinforcing, creating a downward spiral into depression – it pulls the person inward into their bodies. Grief is a divine comfort, constant and reassuring, resides in the throat and is expressed through the voice – it is doorway to hope. Grief is the easiest way to clear the mind so you can assess the situation clearly.  Crying is best done in the presence of another person – it sustains the grief.  It is alright to get to grief through sadness, but then quickly let go of the object and feel grief.  Grief has no object.  It is a blissful floating oneness with the Universe.  Imagine floating on warm water in a dark well with no bottom – that is grief. 

Anger is directed at an object, causes a tightening of the muscles – is a form of resentment. Rage has no object, causes a release of tension and results in forgiveness. Rage lasts the shortest time of the three, so we miss it most.  Once we go into it, it is gone.  To experience rage, go into the woods, pick up a stout stick, and smash it into large trees as hard as you can  (they understand and can absorb the energy). 

The mind's grip is like a cat's claws.  If you pull away, you will be torn; but if you push into the beast, it will release its hold.  Enter fully (surrender) into the divine emotions and you will know peace.

Comment by Ben Roberts on November 13, 2011 at 8:25am
a member of our UU congregation was talking about Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now last night--he leads a weekly group that puts Tolle's ideas into practice. He also eschews "happiness" as too fleeting and shallow a goal. there is a deeper layer of "joy" that he suggests is accessible to us at all times with effective spiritual practice.
Comment by Robert Riversong on November 13, 2011 at 3:43am


Buddhism is not so much about "compassion and emptiness" as about sunyata karuna garbham (the Jewel Tree of Tibet by Nagarjuna), which might be best translated as "voidness with the essence of compassion". The teaching is that, from the emptiness, compassion naturally arises.

And I think we should be cautious with the term "happiness", which is far too vague to be useful and typically conveys a strong positive emotional state - which is just another form of attachment.

What we should be aiming for is equanimity - being in that place of perfect balance in which nothing positive or negative can attach to us.

There's a wonderful tale of a young disciple who comes running to his master, shouting "I think I finally achieved it. I have followed all your lessons diligently, and sat endlessly emptying my mind of distraction, and finally all the inner voices went quiet and I forgot the pain in my legs, and was suddenly filled with the most unimaginable bliss and expansiveness, as if I and the Universe were one."

The master listened thoughtfully and responded, "That's all right, just keep meditating and this, too, shall pass."


Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT

"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

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