“Power,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
For many men and women power is the desired end goal of life. Generally, people hope to gain power through the acquisition of material wealth or through their job of position. People want power for two reasons: First, is a rather defective and twisted reason is to obtain control, and that is the control of others. This control and oppression can occur in a job, where one has been invested with some power and control over others “below him” in rank, position, or role. The power can be that of a judge, the power of a CEO, or the more limited power of a middle-manager of bureaucrat. Be that as it may, many people want this control and might over others. This desire for power is embedded in human nature and is connected with finding a way or method of raising oneself above the “common herd.” I believe this desire for power is basically a form of human weakness.
But people also want power and control for another reason. The powerless are victimized. Those who acquire sufficient power are shielded from the oppression of those that might use their power to gain power against their powerless estate. People seek power because they are protected from attack, undermining, jealously, and vicious assault on the part of their competitive neighbors.
The Christian ethic does not include the desire for power and its attainment. Christians desire to serve others and to contribute to society in a positive way. Christians, however, have another kind of power and a far greater power. All power in the commonly understood sense of the word comes to an end. Oppressive communism had a short lived life; fascism in the persons of Hitler Mussolini came to an end in fifteen years. Imperialism gave way to independence because oppression only works so long.
Christians find power in the love of Christ and his sacrificial death for all humanity. I submit that love is a far greater power than any other kind of power. Other kinds of power are destructive, negative, and come to an end. The love of one another and the love of God and Christ, creates, builds, and binds together. The love of God and Christ brings people into an uplifted community, not based on dominance but based on equality and sharing. Perhaps it is ironic that the overwhelming cosmic love of Jesus Christ, creator and redeemer of mankind, raises up the poorest of the poor and those of little value in the world. They stand on their own as persons of great value in the eyes of the Ruler and ultimate judge of all men and women, regardless or race, economic status, class, and sex, whoever, whatever, and wherever they may be. Their poverty and insignificance raise them to greatness in the eyes of Jesus Christ who rules the world not by force or wealth, but by the power of his love. That love is the scandal of the gospel and is unacceptable and a scandal to the world.
The power of love, I argue, is the greatest power that can or ever will be. Most people spend their whole lives trying to find people to like them if not love them. They have scant success. When they do find that person, they are shocked and surprised. I posit the power of love is the greater power and I note that for 2,000 years the Church of Christ—however mistaken at times, however misguided at times, however incorrect at times, and however misdirected at times—has lasted and will outlast every empire and system built on hate, dominance, oppression, acquisitiveness grabbing, and getting.
This essay is taken, with alterations and modifications, from chapter 9 of the book Essays on the Christian Worldview and Others Political, Literary, and Philosophical, pp. 117 and 118, published by Hamilton Books, 2011.