An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
The Power of Powerlessness
"Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins...
Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bands of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them; and not hide yourself from your own kin?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard." - Isaiah, 57_414-58:14
The question that cuts to the core of the current Christian debate is only this: "What is power?" If power is the ability to have our way, glut ourselves on the goods of this world, and stay safe from those who would challenge our gluttony or try to share in it, then seeing God as the ultimate power means placating that which guarantees our dominance. Was that the power revealed on the cross? Or is the cross the most absolute renounciation of what we call power ever perpetrated? We find safety not in the power to hurt, but in the power to be wounded and so made whole. We glut ourselves not with ever more lovely and efficient chains, but with works of love for those who hate us. We rejoice not in our own will, but in the will of Him who allowed himself to be led to the cross.
"Is there any doubt the paradox of vulnerability, just like the paradox of powerlessness, is at work here, and our very willingness to accept risk in the name of justice, is what makes us stronger than any enemy who denies justice to us?" Adventus, Oct. 4
"Power only and ever and always serves the ends of power. If God is not about the power of powerlessness, then Paul and I are agreed that the crucifixion was pointless, and all we're really waiting for is for God to get around to making us all believers, whether we like it or not.
But if God is about the power of powerlessness, then even taking up power in God's name is contrary to God's purpose. And a basiliea tou theou where the first are always last, and the last first, is a place with no political power at all." - Adventus, Oct. 6, 2006.