Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blogging through The Orthodox Heretic day 25

Overthrowing the Emperor examines power. The emperor rules over a huge empire with an army that inspires fear in the entire world and then he has a dream where he sees his empire in ruins and army destroyed and hears God speak, "There is a power that transcends your earthly power."
He visits the cathedrals and temples. He seeks out all of the leaders of the religions in his empire. He engages in the spiritual practices of the various traditions but experiences nothing. Finally he learns of a holy man who is dying but may have something to teach him. On his death bed, the holy man tells the emperor that the power he seeks is found in the face of the orphan, the poor, the illegal alien, the starving man. God's power is seen in weakness."

God's power is so often misunderstood. Even the scripture that tells us that God's weakness is more powerful than human power is seen as an affirmation that God's weakness is still a power of the same sort humans wield and that the verse is only telling us that the range of God's power is so much above ours that even the lowest edge of it is higher than the highest edge of ours... Pete is telling us that God's power is an entirely different category than ours and truly is found in that which we see as weak. A baby overthrows the principalities and powers of the universe. Peace overcomes violence. The absence of force allows revolutionary change.

I'm currently listening to Jeremy Scahill's book on Blackwater which tells the story of the rise to prominence of his mercenary army but also some of the story of the theocon movement and their quest for power. These are folk who, for the most part, call themselves Christians. As I think of their expression of discipleship, I cannot recognize the Jesus I know. Certainly their lust for power stands at odds with the mission and ministry of Jesus as I understand it.

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