Religion, church and power.

August 27, 2007

One of the things I most remember about Lord of the Rings is the need to get rid of the Ring! Seems to me to stand for Power, power over other people.

When Jesus said, “You will receive power” (Acts 1:8), I don’t think he meant the Ring. Rather he was releasing us from intimidation so we could bear witness to the Truth which is Jesus himself., even when the powers were opposing and persecuting us!

But today we are still locked into power struggles, even in churches. And this makes us religious rather than relational, if you can allow some alliteration. It drives people away from churches and often towards some kind of “new spirituality” (new age) where they feel free from control, church politics, abuse etc.

Abuse is a power act by one human being over another and many of us have been guilty of it.  We can see it clearly when someone is doing it to us (though not always, even then) or when someone else is doing it to another person we care about. But can we see it when we are doing the Power thing?

Power is inevitable, but how do we use it? The Bible calls for justice and mercy and a humble walk with God (Mic.6:8).  It speaks of God overturning the power relations in the world (Luke 1:51-53; Mary said that!!). God judges us by how we treat those who are dependent on us, those we have power over. Hence the blockages to prayer when we mistreat them (cf 1 Pet.3:7; Is.58:3). (sorry about all those Scriptures, but they’re good!)

God deliver us from church politics or, for that matter, family politics, school politics, company politics!

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