Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem on Sunday and by Friday is hanging on a Roman cross. What on earth happened in those days in between?
According to Mark, on the Monday before he executed Jesus walked into the Jerusalem Temple and literally turned over a bunch of tables where moneychangers were set up (money changers were sort of like street level representatives of the banking system). According to Biblical scholar Ched Myers, the Temple was the economic center of Jerusalem and the ruling class– a mix of political, economic, and religious elites– dominated its operations. Jesus targeted the symbolic power centers of his time and place for enriching the powerful and exploiting the poor and marginalized.
Table Turning Monday is a holiday for people inspired by the creative and liberating work of Jesus to engage in coordinated actions that shed light on injustices and offer positive alternatives. It is not meant to be the one time per year when churches participate in direct action. Rather it is meant to build a counter-narrative about religion and politics, and Christianity in particular. It’s a challenge to a faith that has been seduced by incarnate capitalist brutality to recenter itself on incarnate liberating love.
2016 Actions that we know about:
(1) The action that my congregation, Valley & Mountain, helped organize is focused on the foreclosure crisis, big banks, and affordable housing. We will be accompanying a local woman who we have been working with for the past couple months and who is facing foreclosure on her home to deliver letters to City Hall, the City Recorder’s Office, and Chase Bank– three institutions that have ignored, misled, or exploited her. In a metaphorical act of turning the tables, we will also be posting foreclosure notices on the front doors of these three institutions. This action starts outside City Hall at 3:30pm on Monday.
(2) Another action taking place this Monday will focus on racism, youth, and the criminal justice system. A constellation of organizations and churches will confront management at Howard S. Wright, the developer who received a $210,000,000 contract to build a new youth jail in Seattle. They will deliver letters demanding a halt to construction of the jail and an investment in alternatives to youth incarceration, especially in light of the vast overrepresentation of Black youth incarcerated in King County. While recognizing that many of the people in the protest are complicit in the racist system they are challenging, the demonstrators will set up and literally overturn a table in the lobby. This action starts at 12:30pm in the Seattle Center.
(3) have an action you want to tell us about? email firstname.lastname@example.org