Power & the Church

I might blog more about this later but I thought I would at least put down these 4 ideas. As I have mentioned before I am reading (actually I’ll finish it tonight) Daniel Migliore’s book “The Power of God and the gods of Power” and I am really enjoying it. As you can probably guess from the title the book is about the difference between God’s powers and the other powers. All of us are actors with power and subjects of power. For those of us who are followers of Jesus our relation to how we use power and are affected by the use of power on us should be shaped by our faith in Christ.

One of the things that Migliore discusses is power in the church. He quotes Karl Barth in saying that nature of the life, structure, and preaching of the church should be a reminder and promise “that there is already on earth a community who order is based on that great alteration of the human situation.”1 In other words when those outside view the church they should see an example of the One Whose “power is made perfect in weakness,” rather than an organization that functions with the same power dynamics as any other organization around it. So Migliore asked what the use of power in the church should look like. He suggests these four examples of the the church using power in a manner that points to the kingdom of God.2

  1. It would be a church of participants rather than a church made up of passive observers.
  2. It would be a church in which leadership would be a matter of service rather than prerogative.
  3. It would be a church whose mission centered not on itself but on God’s coming reign inaugurated in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ.
  4. It would be a church that knew it was called to deal differently and noncoercively with the issues of the exercise of power in the community.

I don’t really have time to write my thoughts on each of these right now (I have to change the alternator in Fred, run, map out replacing an outside step, and prepare to go see the Mid-State Sisters of Skate with Noah tonight) but I will say two things. First, I was and am amazed by these four statements considering power in the church. When I read them all I could think was “Dang It!” Second, I think Tapestry would rate pretty good based on those four statements. The key is to make sure we always do. That will take trust and discipline.

SIDE NOTE – Yep I just found a WP plugin that will footnote things for me. I am a big fan of footnotes. Especially content notes. I love content footnotes. I probably should have footnoted this side note. That would have been fun.

  1. Karl Barth, “The Strange New World within the Bible,” in The Word of God and the Word of Man, 28-50. []
  2. Migliore, The Power of God and the gods of Power, 69. []

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