Thursday, November 12, 2009

Power and Freedom

So I’m reading about Michael Foot as you know and it’s just one of a number of books of a political flavour. A good question to ask is what is it with all the politics? I find it interesting that some cultural traditions have it that around the dinner table or in the home two subjects are not discussed, religion and politics. Two of the most important issues of life are not to be discussed over the most intimate setting of family. Interesting, that. We never had that rule at home because politics wasn’t talked about anyway. Dad wasn’t one to talk about politics, because it never appeared to bother him. I think he voted, but he never made a big deal of it. Stuff would happen and he wouldn’t comment on it. Likewise my mother, vociferous on issues as she was, never made that much of a big deal about politics. I got into it through my interest in books.

This is not a bit about how I love politics. It is a bit, however, about how politics is about power and the problem we have with power. The saying power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is interesting because no one ever has absolute power, but the desire for power continues to corrupt everyone. When we were younger so much younger than today and perhaps never needed anybody’s help in anyway there was that eager excitement about being an adult. There was something exciting about being able to do whatever we wanted and to practice all the adult stuff that we looked at – expressions of the will, expressions of power to do whatever it is we wanted to do without recourse to restrictive parental … power. The power would be ours. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with wanting to grow up and stuff, but the allure wasn’t responsibility – too much hard work – the allure was that little bit of power.

The problem then comes in with how that power is meant to be exercised and how it’s actually exercised. Whatever the culture, whatever the philosophy there is something running in it that promises some level of control and power. You don’t have to be religious to buy into it, the thing works through family, sports and is blatant in the business world and other areas of the world of work. We tolerate restrictions to power only in as much as it allows us to express that power for self-satisfaction elsewhere. So far, apparently nothing wrong with that. Then we meet Jesus and discover there’s plenty wrong with that. Plenty in the sense that it’s all for the glory of man, whereas doing things for another’s glory would require giving up that power, leaving it to be used by someone else for their glory. Almost as if we revert back to that position where we aspire to something we would never experience.

The funny thing about it is, that in giving up all that we desired so much, it is in the light of this that real freedom is experienced. It is only when the quest for power and control is yielded to a desire to find love from its true Source that all that has ever been desired is made possible.

For His Name's Sake



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