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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Entries in power (2)

Thursday
Nov152018

The anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's ordination - Christians and power relations

Today is the anniversary of the Ordination of German pastor, theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (15 November 1931).

I spoke to Bradley Kirsten on 729 Cape Pulpit this morning about how Christians engage with 'power' - power in our nations, power in our communities, power in our families, power in our workplaces.

I chose this theme in reflection upon the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And then, in my morning devotional reading, this reflection by the South African theologian John Van De Laar challenged me deeply! It is well worth reading. I will place a link to John's daily devotions at the end of this post.

How do we respond to the ways of power and dominance in our world? The most natural response is to retaliate, using force to overcome force and violence to deal with violence. It’s tempting to place our faith in bigger guns, more money, and better power plays, but there is no peace or security to be found in that course. It doesn’t matter whether it’s conflict between nations or conflict between individuals, when we allow violence to beget more violence, we bring nothing but greater destruction, pain, and death into our world. It may feel good to dominate another, or to get revenge on an antagonist, but ultimately, when we make the quest for power the guiding force in our lives, we lose our souls.

Jesus had a very different way of living. When his disciples admired the grandeur of the temple, which had come to represent both political and spiritual power and wealth, Jesus warned them that such human power systems would not survive. The temple, and those who enjoyed power because of it, would be destroyed. Human attempts to claim power – whether through war or pretending to be great spiritual leaders (messiahs) – would ultimately bring nothing but destruction. What lasts is the way of powerless peace that Jesus lived and preached. As powerful as the Roman Empire was when it destroyed the temple (as Jesus had predicted), it could not withstand the power of the Gospel. It took a few hundred years, but ultimately love and peace remained and the Empire collapsed.

Most of us will have little to do with the power plays of governments and nations, except as we use our vote or our voice to engage in political processes. But, we all have to face power dynamics in our lives, our families, and our communities every day. Here is where we need to make the choice either to embrace the power games of the world, or to embody the “powerless” peace of Jesus, refusing to retaliate, being quick to forgive, and quick to share whatever power we have with others. This is the theme we will explore this week.


See John's daily worship resources at: http://sacredise.com/category/daily-worship/

 

Wednesday
Oct312007

The power of money! What hold does it have on you?

Money is a very powerful thing.  People die, and kill, for it (or the lack of it) each and every day...

Most people are unaware how much hold their money has over them.  We live as if we are truly free, yet for so many of us our decisions and lives are shaped by the decisions we make about money:

- what career will I follow?
- where do I choose to live?
- will I make it to the end of the month before the end of the money?

If you want to see how powerful money is, simply ask someone to tell you how much they earn... If they're silenced by your question, it is likely that they, like most of us, have been overpowered by money.

I am quite skeptical of pastors and churches that 'force' their members to tithe on their income (i.e., give a 10% of their earnings) by promising them that this sacrifice will bring blessing.  However, there is a faith principle contained in this practice...  The principle is not that God will bless you for giving God (the one who has no need for money) 10% of your income...  Sadly most of those Churches and Pastors are not using the money they get for the work of God!
However, the value of the principle of generous giving is that it forces me give away something that has a hold over me, without the hope of receiving anything in return.  Each time I give I find a bit more freedom.

And, of course, anything that has that much power over me must be subjected to the rule and authority of Christ - after all, he is not only my Saviour, he is my Lord!

As a minister I have had to make many choices that would seem counterintuitive in a consumer society... Today I was faced with a choice to earn more money to do something different to what I am doing now...  When my first thoughts turned to what I could get out of it I realised that this choice could not be made without prayer, and careful discernment.  Today I was reminded that I am controlled by money.  I don't want to be - I want only to be controlled by what will help to achieve God's mission of healing and transformation in the world.

Please pray for me.