An inevitable way for a disempowered population to physically scream their rejection of the oppressive and unjust structures that are preventing them achieving happiness/productivity? The stuff of Marxist revolution in the 1970s, and of punk bands and civil disobedience?
Or (in 2011): dead-eyed, mob-like and opportunistic.
Liberation theology spilled out of the former - Christ as proto-Marxist, armed priests, Gutierrez, Moltmann getting a drubbing for being white and affluent. Exciting stuff, that has morphed into Christian Aid (Life before death), Tear Fund and all sorts of muscular amillenial Christian movements.
What will spill out of the latter? National Service returns (todays press)? What?? Really?? Other movements and initiatives to mend 'broken Britain'? Tough love and bigger batons?
What liberation theology might spill out of last week? I found myself preaching on Bute about God's love for ALL humanity - even rioters and politicians - but without an answer about how to make it work. God loves us all - but how can the lives be transformed, the caring, mutually supporting communities (dare one call them churches) be grown and nurtured to embrace and heal a broken society. Why should the vilified ones, whoever they are, even care?
One can see why the old 'end-times' - 'God will fix it' card is tempting.
How did I end, to my lovely small church on a riot-free Scottish island?
"That," I said, "is where WE come in."