“We sometimes fear ‘If you have more power, I will have less.’ That may be true in the world’s economy of power, but God’s unconditional love, new liberating life in Christ, and the power-filled Spirit transform our very concepts of power and partnership.” (From Norma Cook Everist and Craig Nessan, Transforming Leadership, Fortress Press, 2008)
I believe that when you learn more, I will not become ignorant, but together we can increase our knowledge, and our curiosity for more learning. I believe that when you grow in ability, I will not be less skilled, but, rather the potential for ministry is multiplied. I believe that when you are empowered, I will not have less power, but, together, we will have the power to work together to care for the earth and its people.
That concept is being tested today in the midst of economic recession. But perhaps it is true in new ways. We are learning, painfully, that when my neighbor has less power economically, I also have less, even if I have paid my mortgage on time and have some money in the bank.
In all of the recent conversations, people who are poor have been mentioned very little. Yes, we understand: talking about the middle class is necessary for Congressional votes. However, we need to never forget that in a global economic recession it is the poorest of the poor who suffer the most and the longest.
In not forgetting those in most need, we increase our capacity to see the whole picture. We need each other all the time. Will we learn that now? Will we remember that?
United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking March 4 to a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C. said “Let us not forget the poorest. As we strive to spread the values of peace, political liberty, and the hope for better lives across the world, perhaps the greatest gift our generation could give to the future…would be for every child in every country of the world [to have] the chance millions do not have today; the chance to go to school...
“At their best, our values tell us that we cannot be wholly content while others go without, cannot be fully comfortable while millions go without comfort, cannot be truly happy, while others grieve alone.
“And this too is true. All of us know that in a recession the wealthiest, the most powerful and the most privileged can find a way through for themselves.
“We do not value the wealthy less when we say that our first duty is to help the not so wealthy. We do not value the powerful less when we say that our first responsibility is to help the powerless. And we do not value those who are secure less when we say that our first priority must be to the insecure.
“….I keep returning to something I first learned in my father’s church as a child. In the most modern of crises I am drawn to the most ancient of truths; wherever there is hardship, wherever there is suffering, we cannot, we will not, pass by on the other side.”