Thank You, Anarchy: Part 1, The People's Microphone

I recently read Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse by Nathan Schneider, his first-hand account of the Occupy Wall Street movement that took up residence in Zuccotti Park in September 2011 inspiring similar protests across the country and world. Here's the book description from Amazon:
Thank You, Anarchy is an up-close, inside account of Occupy Wall Street’s first year in New York City, written by one of the first reporters to cover the phenomenon. Nathan Schneider chronicles the origins and explosive development of the Occupy movement through the eyes of the organizers who tried to give shape to an uprising always just beyond their control. Capturing the voices, encounters, and beliefs that powered the movement, Schneider brings to life the General Assembly meetings, the chaotic marches, the split-second decisions, and the moments of doubt as Occupy swelled from a hashtag online into a global phenomenon.

A compelling study of the spirit that drove this watershed movement, Thank You, Anarchy vividly documents how the Occupy experience opened new social and political possibilities and registered a chilling indictment of the status quo. It was the movement’s most radical impulses, this account shows, that shook millions out of a failed tedium and into imagining, and fighting for, a better kind of future.
I enjoy being a student of resistance movements and anarchist communities because I think the church is a similar type of community and movement. Consequently, reading about these sorts of movements and communities expands your imagination for the church.

For example, Occupy famously used the Human or People's Microphone rather than electrical amplification during their large, outdoor General Assemblies. Click to read how it works, and here's a video example. The basic idea is that the speaker would speak from the stage and those within hearing distance would turn and repeat what was said to those behind them, who would then turn to repeat it to those behind them, a cascade until the message was communicated to those on the edges of the assembly.

I'm not suggesting that churches use the Human Mic, but the Human Mic does challenge the unthinking, default assumption at work in most churches that we MUST have electrical amplification to do church. Pondering the Human Mic exposes how the default in our churches is to turn to technological and material infrastructure rather than to the community itself.

Sadly, our infrastructure requires money rather than love.

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