I’ve been thinking a lot about power lately.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about power for years, because I think it’s so central to our spiritual path.
Power is the number one addiction of our unredeemed egos, and as such it has enormous potential for danger and abuse.
But lately I’ve been starting to wonder if it has a good side as well.
As I look back over just the last two weeks in my own life, I see a lot of instances of men, women, and power, and how the three forces interact for better or for worse. And as I make these observations, I’ve started to question some of my beliefs about power.
I have long believed that Jesus teaches downward mobility.
“Blessed are the poor,” Jesus says. “Blessed are the meek, those who mourn, the peacemakers…he who would be greatest among you must be the servant of all.”
I still believe that.
Many of the most formative theologians in my life have also taught about giving up control and power—St. Francis, John of the Cross, Gerald May, Richard Rohr. I find their teachings incredibly important.
There is still a lot I can learn about giving up power, because I know that my basest desires and fears can and will drive me to exert it destructively if I don’t submit myself humbly to the work of God in my soul.
But here’s what else I’ve finally noticed: all of these theologians who teach about giving up power are men.
And many of Jesus’ teachings in the gospel—while certainly applying to men and women alike—were originally directed, in the moment, to men.
Presumably the crowds he preached to had both men and women, but many of his most pithy and pointed teachings about giving up power were directed to the disciples and the scribes and Pharisees, all men.
Almost all of Jesus’ most intimate, one-on-one interactions with women were either 1. healings, or 2. telling them to take up power. Continue reading