Our older son has given up church and God although he values his Christian heritage. Church that was empowering for him in early adulthood became disempowering. Thru our discussion I understood that Empowerment is a theme in which Jesus and Paul are united. Do you feel your faith empowers you?
The gospels tell of many people set free from illness or alienation and empowered to grow and flourish. One such was the woman who only touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Jesus sensed the empowerment that she received from him. Id like to be that Jesus
Writing to the Ephesians Paul wants them to experience divine power in three ways: inwardly, in understanding, and in action. He prays that “God will give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves.” (3:16); “power to understand how deep is the love of Christ” (3:18); “how great is God’s power working in us who believe” (3:20).
The Greek word for power – dunamis- gives us the English ‘dynamite’. This is inherent power, like that of a hand grenade, not the power of anything external like status, wealth or armed force. So Paul says in benediction that ‘God by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than
Paul Tonson, Habitat Trinity 30 May 2021
we ever ask for, or even imagine.’ We are invited to expect great things from the divine resources within us.
Paul makes concrete his vision by taking the model of “the full stature of Jesus”. There is
all the difference between
telling a child what to do,
and setting an example that invites the child to have a go. Let us take the life of Jesus as a model of empowerment , to make decisions about shaping our lives and empowering others.
Around age 16 I began to read the New Testament with new eyes and new questions. I met Jesus in an empowering way, as a person with deep insight, calling me on a path of personal growth and wisdom seeking. I wanted to be like him.
About age 20, I read A Question of Conscience by the leading UK theologian Fr Charles Davis. He announced in December 1966 that he was leaving the Roman Catholic Church that had shaped his entire life. The Observer described his actions as leaving a "crisis of authority" in the Church. He asserted that the Church had become too powerful and too dehumanising and that orthodoxy had limited his intellectual horizons.
What struck me were his words: ‘I decided to make my becoming my own’. These words became my guide. Along my path I have had to rise above disempowering experiences in ministry and disempowering traditional ideas of God and salvation. Not one of us needs to accept being disempowered. Let us be a community empowering each other.