One of my obsessions is power. I need to know who is in charge and why they are in charge. Is their power derived from position—president, moderator, pastor—or does it come relationally? So, when I walk into a room one of the first things I do is try to understand the power structure. Doing this helps me to understand my position and the role I will need to play.
For the most part, I have not viewed this need to understand power as something bad or evil. But that is changing. I am finding that my obsession with power also creates a desire to be the one with the power.
And power is intoxicating.
Power leads to control and control has too much potential to be abusive.
Is it possible that the Christian faith works better if we (the Christians) are the ones who lack power?
Wasn’t it Jesus who emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave (Phil 2:7)?
Emptying does not sound like power; as a matter of fact, it sounds more like the opposite of power.
Terms like “slave” and “servant” are used throughout the New Testament as descriptors for the followers of Jesus.
The Anabaptists argue that the church started a backwards slide once it became the official religion of the Roman world. Or to put it another way – the church started to lose its prophetic voice once Christianity became the powerful religion.
When we gain power, we also gain things to lose. It then becomes important to protect the assets. The assets can be anything from our reputation to the stuff that our power has allowed us to accumulate.
When you are not concerned about reputation or stuff, there is a freedom that emerges. This freedom gives permission to care and love with reckless abandon. That, my friends, sounds a whole lot like the kind of Christianity Jesus envisioned.