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You’ve no doubt heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement, a movement of protests and demonstrations by people who want to “take back” the U.S. economy for average Americans. The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked other Occupy movements by people wanting to “take back” other aspects of life that seem to have been cooped from their original purpose. One of the newest of these Occupy movements is Occupy Advent, an effort to take back the pre-Christmas season for its original purpose using social media.
I’m a participate in the weekly church social media #ChSocM twitter chat with Rev. David Hansen, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Prairie Hill, TX and founder of Occupy Advent. I interviewed David about Occupy Advent via email.
David: The best statement of the purpose that I’ve come up with yet is “to help churches and Christians use social media tools to talk about the meaning & mystery of Advent.” To expand on that a little, what I would like to see is Christians using the power of social media to change the conversation of the “holiday season” – away from the shallow commercialism and toward the power of waiting and watching.
Paul: What motivated you to start this initiative?
David: It all started with a question from @MeredithGould, while getting a topic and questions ready for the Tuesday night chat. We were talking about using social media to help congregations observe Advent. I got to thinking about the tension in the holiday season – that the meaning of the season has largely been defined by expensive, well funded branding and messaging. It occurred to me a) Messaging is sort of what churches do, and b) social media makes funding irrelevant. With social media, we had the ability to change the message in November/December.
Paul: What specifically are you going to be doing during Advent on Facebook, Twitter, etc in an effort to accomplish OccupyAdvent’s purpose?
David: I will be using facebook & twitter in a number of ways during December. (a) Sharing / Proclaiming the season of waiting and watching, and encouraging people to slow down and simplify. (b) Providing resources, ideas, and hints to help congregations and individuals observe Advent.
Paul: What can others do to help and join you in this movement?
David: Join the conversation! Use social media to talk about your holy waiting, and invite others to join you. Share your ideas for individuals and congregations on twitter or on our Facebook page.
Another, further way to help change the message this year: I am not going to participate in the commercialized conversation on social media – I am not going to talk about purchases, sales, etc on social media. And I certainly invite others to join me in that, as well. At the end of the day, I think it is pretty clear what happens to the conversation about the commercialized “holiday season” if we all refuse to participate in it.
Paul: Thanks David!
I encourage you all to “like” Occupy Advent on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. During the Advent season, reflect on the thoughts posted there. Share and retweet the posts with your friends and followers as way of spreading the movement of peace and reflection this Advent.
For more ways to Occupy Advent, see yesterday’s post 10 Ideas for Using Social Media in the Epic Battle for Advent
What are your thoughts on Occupy Advent? Are you going to join the movement?