Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thine is the Kingdom and the Power

Thanks to my brother, Carl Grant for the following guest post:

I’m thankful to live in the Western world and to be the recipient of the many blessings entailed. But there are some things about me as an Anglo Christian that I’d rather ignore. 

I’d rather not think about the privilege and power that come with being an Anglo in this culture. I’d rather ignore that reality and pretend that my Hispanic, African-American, Filipino and Arabic (that’s just a small sample) sisters and brothers in this culture are full partakers in what privilege and power that I possess, ignoring the fact that my privilege and power are purely a function of the historical military and economic dominance of the Anglo race.

I’d rather not deal with the fact that in addition, my culture rewards my role as a Christian with privilege and power historically granted to no other faith. I’m more comfortable seeing Christianity as rightfully and even divinely ordained to be the dominant, controlling faith. That way I can feel justified in taking vehement umbrage whenever I fear that Christians are losing the upper hand in our culture. 

I easily forget that until Constantine, Christians had none of the privilege and power that I so blithely take for granted. Only when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire and was spread by the sword did Christians gain privilege and power. These prerogatives were bought at a terrible price; the marriage of Christianity and military/economic power was not a marriage of equals. Consequently Christianity has been in many ways co-opted, corrupted and prostituted. Its close alignment with political, social and economic power structures has blinded us to the force of Jesus’ repeated warnings against seeking power. 

So what do I do with the privilege and power I’ve been handed? Do I use it to exploit others or do I use it to empower others? Do I truly bring the Good News of Jesus to others, or is my message delivered in the wrapper of cultural imperialism? Will I perpetuate and confirm the stereotype of Christianity as a Western ideology, or will I die to my cultural pride and admit that my sense of privilege and power is an impediment, not a virtue? Will I allow God to cure my power addiction and allow God’s Spirit to invite others into the freedom of the people of God?

Dear God, 
help me to remember that all power is legitimately yours, not mine. 
Help my life to tell the truth about your Good News!
-Carl Grant

2 comments:

Kay @ The Church Cook said...

Amen and Amen, Carl! Thanks for this thought provoking post.

Carl G. said...

Thank you, Kay. These are hard things to think about since they seem so counter-cultural, but I'm finding the process crucial to my growth in Christ, humbling as they are.