I think it’s true that Christians, clergy included, can too easily retreat from the world. Not many of us do (or maybe can), but it is a clear and present danger that we can use the Gospel to step away from the painful truths of our society. I’m glad that there’s not much that shocks me. I’m sometimes surprised, often saddened and regularly horrified by the world’s pain, misbehavior, and trouble, but not really shocked.
That unshockability shattered recently.
I was attending two-day training about racism and how to dismantle it. Near the end of the second day, the leader had each of us name something over which we had power, power to affect a change for the good. For whatever reason, he singled me out (from a group of about 40 folks) and asked if I was willing to use all my power. I said yes. He moved on but I was shocked by my own internal reactions.
My shock came from the fact that I don’t always use all my power. I am willing to use the power God gives me to do good but not always as quick to ask others to use all their own power. My shock came from the fact that I can too easily excuse silence and complicity in the name of politeness and “maintaining relationships” which really code for going-along to get-along.
I want good relationships with people but I want good authentic relationships with people. That means I may sometimes have to use my own power to disrupt ease and comfort whether it be to challenge racism or some other evil Jesus calls us to confront.
Let me ask you the question I was asked and the questions I have been asking myself:
Are you willing to use all your power?
Are you using it?
And the King said, “Whatever you do for one of the least of these, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
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