Thursday, January 6, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

In some circles of life and thought self-empowerment is all the rage. What do you see as self-empowerment and is there any place for it in the Christian life?


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Autonomy especially of God. If one understands it this way, there is no place for it.

Interesting that there is another solution for it. Empowerment by God. See some Bible verses...

Still not to sure how it *really* works.

Tamra Larter said...

This issue comes up a lot in some of the circles in which I run - in the holistic community, mom's groups and in the birthing community especially. I am currently struggling with how to interact with the language of self-empowerment.

I believe that because of Christ I have been given enormous power and many possibilities that otherwise would not exist.

The power to choose being the biggest of them all... the power to choose to live differently, in ways that honor God. I want to say the power of forgiveness, the power to forgive, the power to live as one forgiven...

I wish I had more time to engage this conversation at this precise moment because I think I may need some tweaking in my thinking about this. I will be coming back to this subject and this place to discuss more... jut may not happen today.

Greg said...

Thanks. True. Yes, maybe there would be a way of encouraging a Godly self-empowerment.

Greg said...

Thanks. It is a big issue for many reasons, but I'll just mention the fact that so many (women) are oppressed and feel the only solution is to be empowered to fend off the victimizer. I think that Christ would approve of this, at least in some sense.

Sharon Kirkwood said...

Well, having dominion is important -- but for Christians I think that would mean being appropriately "creaturely" before God -- that is, exercising our creative powers for God's glory, instead of in some self-exalting way. So when a human creature exercises his/her gifts and freedom in a way that builds up and blesses he/she is rightly empowered, empowers others and glorifies the Creator. For example, John Donne wrote powerful poetry about the relation of the soul to God and in expressing this relation puts into words the redemptive experience -- this must have been empowering for him, to exercise his gifts in this way, but it's empowering for us too, because it gives us a rich vocabulary to describe and understand that experience. At the same time, he is also glorifying God, by taking his experience of God's love and offering it back in the form of beautiful poetry. In the midst of all that, I doubt that self-empowerment was his goal, but I'll bet he experienced it as a by-product of his exercise of right dominion.

Greg said...

Thanks. Good thoughts and insights. Right dominion is an interesting perspective in the light of being appropriately creaturely before God.

Valid empowering, if I understand you, is a by product of glorifying God. What of the human creature who uses creative powers for the sake of creative power? I wonder if Christians would want to endorse this type of empowerment. That is, if we do something for ourselves and not per se for God's glory, would this make it an invalid empowering? Perhaps, it depends on the broader context in which this take place.

Angela Foltz said...

In response to Sharon and Greg's last comment,
I would say that creativity of all kinds should
be celebrated as a reflection of God's creativity,
whether directly giving God the glory or not.

For the Christian, I would assume that this would
include checking in with God for guidance as to
where and what to use this creativity for, and
praising him with our lives as a whole.

For the non-Christian, I would say we should still
celebrate the creativity in that person's life,
thoughthey may not know the Creator they reflect.

The pattern I often see is a non-believer using
their creativity extensively, meeting God and
dropping it for service or ministry, or some other
more spiritual ambition. I don't know if this is
always good.

Greg said...

Thanks. Helpful comments.The last point you mention all too often takes place.

While Christians don't want to be enamored with their own being empowered or creativity, neither do they want to ignore these aspects of being human.

We could also think of those dis-empowered and rightly hope that they are re-empowered to be human and then to become followers of the crucified and risen One.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

At the end/beginning of the new year we get a lot of "encouragement emails" from our bosses. (I work for a big stock company...)

One sentence made me smile:

"You are empowered."

"To ensure your growth, success and career steps" seems to be my responsability. And as they turn it, I have the power to do it! ;)

Not sure, if I like this kind of self-empowerment, though.

Greg said...

I remember well such subversive power rhetoric while working with Prudential years ago.

This kind of subterfuge is all over, especially in advertising. Not the kind of self-empowerment that leads to life.