Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good Power

Thread 1: There's a TV show I like called The Unit on CBS (can't believe the show is still going!) about the lives and missions of a secret, elite military team. During the latest episode ("Side Angle Side"), one of the team's wives helps "save" a gal from her suicide attempt. In talking with her husband she says, "When you're out on a mission ... I feel so helpless. But with this, I really felt (pause) powerful. I know, it's wrong to want power..."

Thread 2: I read a bit of business literature/theory, especially Jim Collins and Hamel & Prahalad. One thing they all key in on is what Collins calls a "Level 5 Leader" - the leader who leads on behalf of the organization, not him/herself. Example: CEO of CostCo makes ~$350,000 (as of 2006), "I figured that if I was making something like 12 times more than the typical person working on the floor, that that was a fair salary," he said. (ABC News interview) I'm sure he has nice bonuses and other benefits, but $350k?

Thread 3: I fear my own pride and strength of relationships. I fear what I might do with such . . . power. In an old Tuesday Night conversation (which we used to host in ~2004) it came out that Relationship can be measured in Power (persuasion). I REALLY didn't like that. But it seemed accurate.

Thread 4: I always - always - think there is a better or even perfect expression for everything. Call it perfectionism. Call it control. Call it "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Call it bringing the future into the now. Call it the Reign of Christ. I long for the ultimate expression of any/everything. Whatever is perfect for a given time/circumstance, that's what I want to think about, to pursue.

After weaving these threads (and I'm sure others), I have concluded that Power does not corrupt. Self-gaining use of power is an expression of corruption-already-existent. Two leaders I work with (a.k.a. my kids) often hear, "Leading is always for those being led - you never use leadership or power for yourself."

Yet I find that most Christians I talk to, read, or work with see Power as something toxic.

Like the wife in that episode of The Unit. Power is bad, only God can handle power. And is this not one of the messages just under the surface in The Lord of the Rings trilogy - those who want power are enslaved by it (power == ring). In the books, this is made even more clear by the character of Tom Bombadil.

It seams we humans either run away from power for fear of wanting it, abuse it, or try to develop a series of controls for (against?) those who have it (Elder boards, denominations, policies, etc.). But we never seem to develop power "skills."

1 comment:

BAB said...

I agree. We can't say power is bad. God is the ultimate in power. Let the greatest be servants.