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Monday, May 12, 2014

Theologian Speaks to One of the Worst Abuses of Power

Theologian Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), in his book Finding My Way Home, speaks powerfully and angrily of what he considers to be the worst abuse of power. Sadly, that abuse continues today. He states: 


God looks at us and weeps because wherever we use power to give us a sense of ourselves, we separate ourselves from God and each other, and our lives become diabolic, in literal meaning of the word: divisive.  … But there is something worse than our exercise of economic and political power. It is religious power. When God looks at our world, God not only must weep but must also be angry—angry because many of us who pray, offer praise, and call out to God, “Lord, Lord!” are also corrupted by power.  … The most insidious, divisive, and wounding power is the power used in the service of God. … An unfriendly or judgmental word by a minister or priest, a critical remark in church about a certain lifestyle, a refusal to welcome people at the table, … and countless other hurts often remain longer in people’s memories than other more world-like rejections. Thousands … have turned away from God because they experienced the use of power when they expected an expression of love. 

The italics are mine. Henri Nouwen goes on to speak of the power of love, which "liberates, reconciles, and heals" instead. What say you? 

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