relinquishing power

It seems pretty clear to me that God calls those with power to take intentional steps to be responsible with that power - often, relinquishing it to accomplish justice.

Why is it so shocking to so many straight, white, Christian men that they are the people of power in America and Godly equity demands that they take intentional steps toward justice - which will most definitely call them step aside to lift up the other.

11 Responses to “relinquishing power”

  1. on 30 Apr 2008 at 8:03 pmsonja

    Because they are following a religion and are not men of faith … no matter what else they say.

  2. on 01 May 2008 at 7:14 amgrace

    We haven’t been raised in a culture of empowering others. To not even see the possibilities to empower is deep-seated in our way of being in the world.

    For any of us, to first recognize when we have power and to then recognize when we have opportunities to use that power to lift up another, requires an intentional vigilance because it is human nature and the nature of our culture to consider ourselves first.

  3. on 01 May 2008 at 7:39 amMak

    I agree grace.

    and to be clear - as a white, lower-middle class person, I have power as well. And I am very cognizant of this.

  4. on 01 May 2008 at 10:00 amGrace

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and would be interested in a post sometime, when you have time, regarding the power you see yourself as holding and what being congnizant of it means in your daily walk.

    (and by the way - clove ciggys!? Ugh. :) I have always despised the smell. But the nose ring alone would be enough to send many MOPS my way running from the room! I never even tried MOPS, so I already know you are much braver than I!)

  5. on 01 May 2008 at 10:11 amdavid

    Instead of learning to empower each other we have leaned on charity and aid as a way to help those that are less able. But these methods are really good at maintaining our social structures and making the more fortunate feel good about themselves in the process. Truly learning to empower will mean that society gets jostled. Scary!

    I’ve been learning to not downplay the power I have in the last few years. It may not seem like much to me, but you’re right, as a middle-class white there is much that I hold over and against other groups. I’m really thankful for the multitude of feminist friends i’ve had the pleasure to know and learn from.

  6. on 01 May 2008 at 11:48 amgrace

    You probably already know this, but I am not the second grace that posted on this comment thread.

    Speaking only for me, I am quick to notice when I am disempowered and slow to recognize my opportunities to empower others. It’s something I’m working on.

    Great point about defaulting to structures rather than putting ourselves out there.

  7. on 01 May 2008 at 10:27 pmGeoff

    I also think that there’s got to be something in the way that so much of our preaching revolves around God having a great plan for your life and God wanting to do such great things through you. So we end up believing that for great things to happen, we should be using the power we have for God, rather than recognising that we’re really called first not to power, but to servanthood.

  8. on 02 May 2008 at 10:33 amdavid

    i think that’s pretty huge for christians, geoff. although individualism isn’t just rampant in christian circles we do have a pretty huge example set for us on how to not fall for it. I hate how we take a bible almost exclusively written to groups of people and interpret it in personal terms. our sermon ‘take home’ is almost always “how can today’s message affect you as an individual” instead of us as a people.

  9. on 02 May 2008 at 11:08 amMak

    david and geoff - really good stuff guys, thanks for the great dialog

  10. on 02 May 2008 at 1:44 pmed cyzewski

    Your series of posts on power and minorities are a great reminder that even if our country has come a long way, we’re still woefully behind. Christians themselves are still working through issues of gender, sexual orientation, and race, among others. Ruth Padilla wrote a great article for the Christian Vision project about the need for those in power to use their power in service of those without power. In other words people such as myself who have enjoyed some advantages need to do some humbling, serving, and listening. It’s a challenge, but in a sense it gives me hope for some ways I can support justice.

    I did a post a little while back on how Jesus really is the only hope for our world because he humbled himself and took punches without hitting back. Quite the tough act to follow.

  11. on 05 May 2008 at 5:10 amRavine of Light » All Things Crash Together For Good

    [...] Isn’t Enough.  You can also find some excellent words on power sharing by Makeesha here and here and  Change, Power, Access by Rose Madrid-Swetman.  I think Kathy Escobar may have [...]

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