Monday, June 30, 2008

Power to the people...?

We have a nice clean new outdoor mall. On Friday nights this summer there are free concerts. This past weekend we went with friends to hear Nelson Rangell (jazz sax) while our friends' junior high aged son hung out with his friends. There were lots of other teens walking around the area. And they had to keep walking because mall security was everywhere making sure they didn't loiter for more than 2 minutes! Will these threatening youth mess up the mall? Will they deal drugs or hook up for sex? Are they "bad" people? I don't know whose idea it is to make sure the teens cannot have a safe place to gather and be welcomed along with the rest of the public, but it strikes me funny. I am sure Johnny and his friends spend money at Pac Sun and other retailers that market to teens and they often see movies at the AMC theaters. Seems like it would be a good idea to purposely open coffee shops and pizza cafe's just for their population. Or would we rather have them go away and do their suspected dirty deeds in the dark? What message are they getting from the adult community? It has been on my mind since we were with Johnny and his parents. Fear of the unknown and fear of losing control can make us do things that do not bring the desired results. Why would the youth even want to be at a place where they could not sit and talk and laugh (like their parents are free to do?) Bigger and more serious questions are brought to light in the following quotes. The church is sometimes guilty of thinking backwards out of fear and it is no wonder that we do not obtain our desired results: to see people come into the kingdom and live freely. Maybe we have the idea of power upside down?
Traditionally in the mission of the church we go to God to try to find out WHAT to do and then the world to find out HOW to do it. The asking of beautiful questions reverses this order. The questions give us permission to go to the world asking WHAT to do and then in desperation we turn to God to find out HOW. At the essence of this shift is the transfer of power. God gave all the authority and power to Jesus and He in turn gave it all to the Holy Spirit, who then gave it all to the church. Who does the church give up power to? The sad answer is that we give it to no-one. We have disrupted the flow of power by in fact hoarding it for ourselves and giving it up to no one else. Instead, the church should be giving away its power to the most powerless in its community.
Read the entire article by Joel Van Dyke here. A challenging post on the shift of power (and thinking.)
eyes upward
Jesus didn’t want his community to ‘have’ a social ethic; he wanted it to ‘be’ a social ethic. Their very way of relating was to be an affront to the system of dominance and power; it was to name reality in a new way. They were to live in a new symbolic universe. This radical idea is given in a simple clue found throughout the New Testament: Jesus’ presence with others at table.
Richard Rohr, Jesus’ Plan for a New World
found at inward/


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