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Power and the People of God

If you peel back the layers of our most common cultural conflicts you will discover one underlying issue lurking in the shadows: our assumptions about power. A fundamental shift has emerged in what many today believe about power. To them, power has become a language game. There’s an unconscious assumption that all knowledge is essentially constructed by those in power. This doesn’t mean that this knowledge is true. It does mean that the powerful and privileged have used language and knowledge to create systems of power, systems that favour them. This has led to a radical skepticism toward objective truth. After all, if knowledge is constructed by those who most benefit from it, how can we trust that it’s true? It’s hard to ignore this undercurrent of cynicism, in classrooms and corporate offices, from superstar platforms to social policies. It has brought us to a place where we understand human relationships primarily in terms of power dynamics, by dividing society into either dominant or marginalized identities. In simple terms, there are those who have power (and abuse it), and those who don’t have power (and are abused). But is it necessary or even helpful to see human relationships solely through the lens of power? Are there other qualities of human relationships that are important? And in the middle of this maelstrom, we hear horror stories of narcissistic religious leaders misusing their power by creating cultures of fear, hidden behind walls of secrecy. Worst yet, their actions have included downright meanness, coercion, misogyny, and even sexual misconduct. It seems that the church is not immune to the lure of power and may need to have some of its power interrupted. So what does the Bible teach us about power? Is power always such a bad thing? And what should we do about power? This is a thinking series. We’re going to be taking a deep dive and looking at some of the more prevalent assumptions about power. We’re also going to be looking closely at what the Bible has to say in response to these assumptions. We might be surprised by what we discover.

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