The Occupy London camp is a wonderful place. I went down for a Sermon on the Steps event which involved several people from different faiths or none each talking for about five minutes. But one of the things I love about London is its occasional chaoticness -- people selling poems on the streets, that sort of thing -- and the camp is like that but all mixed in with a huge earnestness about getting things right. There are systems for dealing with rubbish, and all sorts of organised structures for signing in and out of tents, and on top of that just people being a bit odd -- people being people freely. A free hugs station, a Christian meditation tent, a little library, lots of posters of varying degrees of craziness, big signs saying "The Beginning is Nigh" and "Root Out Usury", and all sorts of things. I loved it.
And just to get it out of the way, they really don't seem to me to be blocking anything, all the tents are all off to the side and densely packed in rows, and I just don't get the Health and Safety thing. Based on my experience of being a fellow at Cambridge, I would guess that the higher-ups at St Paul's have made the mistake of talking to lawyers. It is basically impossible for anything to retain a shred of humanity and decency and mutual respect once lawyers have been asked for their opinion -- after that it's all them versus us. Here's a picture I took from the steps of St Paul's during the sermon event -- we the congregation might be congesting the paths a bit, though there were still lots of tourists going in and out, but you can hardly see the tents, they're all off to the right.
Another sermon picture: oh no, puppets!
Here's James Lawson talking. You can see some people in front doing the jazz hands thing which they use instead of clapping while people are talking so as not to interrupt their flow.
And here's St Paul's after dark. So much of what the camp is saying and doing is so completely what the church should be saying and doing, the conflict makes me sad.