Power On Board

Just a few reflections today on power. I’ve been thinking particularly of humility as an instance of power. What does it do? I am having to reflect on this from a distance because it’s not my long suit. (did that sound humble?). But I know humble people and so have experienced their power.

Humility is primarily relational power, the most effective kind of power in most of life’s interactions. It creates an open field, room for the other. The humble person is not so full of himself that there’s no room for anyone else. Humility is hospitable. And it’s hospitality that allows people with differences to continue to hear one another. It allows the room for people to turn or change or accept a new outcome.

Humility does not create a field of resistance. As Paul says of the fruit of the Spirit, against these things there is no law. So, it is not only a defensive or protective kind of power. It projects or extends fields of influence and potential accomplishment.

This is the opposite of pride (the kind the bible says is bad–Avett bros reference). Pride creates resistance. While pride projects a certain kind of power, it needs other, more coercive forms of power to effectively maintain itself. Moreover, pride requires constant vigilance. Others are a threat to our pride and the constant attention to image and perception with others is consuming.

Humility requires none of this. It’s power comes on board. It is located in an authentic self and can be distinguished easily from false-modesty or self-debasement.

Because of this authenticity, I don’t think humility is something you can produce or affect. Rather, humility comes through the recognition that what and who we are and have has been given. Humility may be the manifestation of receiving life thankfully as a gift, and therefore of not being anxious about life. And this comes from the Sprint of the one who gave us life.

What would you add?

About Mark Love

I am the Dean for the School of Theology and Ministry and Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who is a practicing new monastic in Abilene, TX. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and two amazing granddaughters.
This entry was posted in Christian practice, missional leadership, theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Power On Board

  1. Grace says:

    “Listen to what the Lord Himself tells us: ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls’ (Mt. 11:29). There you have it in a nutshell: He has taught us the root and cause of all evils and also the remedy for it, leading to all good. He shows us that pretensions to superiority cast us down and that it is impossible to obtain mercy except by the contrary, that is to say, by humility. Self-elevation begets contempt and disobedience begets perdition whereas humility begets obedience and the saving of souls. And I call that real humility which is not humble in word and outward appearance but is deeply planted in the heart; for this is what He meant when He said that ‘I am meek and humble of heart.'”

    ~ St. Dorotheos of Gaza

    ——————————————————————————–

  2. Cheryl says:

    “Humility is primarily relational power, the most effective kind of power in most of life’s interactions. It creates an open field, room for the other. The humble person is not so full of himself that there’s no room for anyone else. Humility is hospitable. And it’s hospitality that allows people with differences to continue to hear one another. It allows the room for people to turn or change or accept a new outcome.”

    Seriously, so good. Thank you for that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s