Friday, June 3, 2011

Relinquishing Power

I just finished reading White Privilege by Paula Rothenberg for my American Church History class. My prof asked us to pick something that stood out to us and write a brief essay on it. This is what I came up with.

On page 123 Peggy McIntosh writes, "[Men] may say that they will work to improve women's status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's." I thought about two books that have been very influential in my understanding of the church: Body Politics and The Dangerous Act of Worship. This quote and these books talk about the power struggle in humanity. We know that in Christ there is no male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free (Gal. 3:28). The Christian baptism should create a new social reality where power is not used to abuse, manipulate, control or force. In this reality, power is used to empower. And the only way those in power can allow for those who do not have power to be empowered is for those without power to have the ability to empower themselves. This only can come with creating space by having those in power relinquish power. Relinquishing power is the ultimate act of selflessness.


Adrian said...

Coby, I just happened upon this post yesterday. Very interesting. As you/the author points out, power is so paradoxical because it's almost impossible to elevate another group to the same "power status" as the dominant group. Power is relative, so what really is happening is that the dominant group is losing its power (voluntarily or involuntarily) so that the playing field levels or shifts.

We give others power by relinquishing our own.

Coby said...

Adrian, well said my friend. I love the way you are thinking! So what does this look like on an individual level? What doest this look like on a community level?