There are all kinds of power in the world – there is influence or authority. Those are types of personal and corporate power. And then there is the “higher” power, aka God which is a kind of omniscient power. The month we are going to be exploring all types of power – personal, corporate and divine.
As religious liberals, we have a kind of dysfunctional relationship with power. On the one hand, we come from fairly privileged households. Privilege is a kind of unspoken and silent type of power. And there are all types: Power by virtue of our race, education, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, income, etc. We don’t talk much about these types of power, but they exist inside each of us.
On the other hand, we are highly suspicious of power – of any form. We feel that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (quote by Lord Acton). So here we are people of power and that can make us suspicious of one another. I’ve seen it in the way that we Unitarian Universalists can sometimes point out someone’s privilege with mean spirited finger pointing and even name calling (without acknowledging the log in our own eye!).
But power in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s ultimately how we use that power that is for good or for bad. Our job as Unitarian Universalists is to own our power and use it for good. Sometimes we stumble and our power can leave a bruise. But we acknowledge our harm, ask for forgiveness, and move forward. It’s the only way we grow. This is not easy work, but it is necessary. Our nation, our world, needs us. And I feel so blessed we are doing this hard work together!