I love the phrase, "Speak truth to power!" As a Christian and as a Christian leader, there is a strong linage for Christ followers to leverage their spheres of influence to stand up for the poor, oppressed and marginalized.
In fact, all throughout the scriptures, we have stories of the prophets standing up and calling out the people in power. Beginning with Moses who confronted Pharaoh himself, throughout the rest of the Old Testament witness as prophet after prophet confronted the religious and political leaders on their evil ways that have corrupted the religious practices, and have oppressed the weak and marginalized.
Jesus continued this tradition as he rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, stood up for the outcasts, the marginalized, the sinners and tax collectors. Jesus leveraged all of his personal power for the sake of the poor and oppressed.
Since the time of Christ, there were seasons where Christians continued this tradition and did this in incredible ways, and seasons where we have totally dropped the ball.
The real question is, "What season are we currently in?"
According to my progressive friends, this is the exact moment for Christians to stand up to the powers that be, to let their voices be heard, and to speak truth to power. For we live in a moment where there is so much corruption and systemic oppression from the people in power.
I too agree that we are in a moment where there is too much corruption and systemic oppression from people in power. But, I think I disagree with who the oppressors are. Each context has different issues and different players, which means that each context has their own people and groups who occupy power and people who abuse their power and people who need to have "Truth spoken to power."
But the truth is that as a Christian and as a Christian leader, I am scared out of my gourd to open my mouth and "Speak truth to power." The people in power have a monopoly on power and influence and I live in a context where people want to keep the status quo. Even worse, we go along with the corruption and abuse of power because we are distracted by other shiny objects that we are told have more power and are more oppressive.
You see, I live in a dark blue state, and in a dark blue county within in that dark blue state. In my world, the Republicans, lead by Trump are the people in power, and it is our duty to speak truth to them. In fact, it costs me absolutely nothing to bash Trump and shake my fist at him. In fact, in my congregation, I would probably get a standing ovation. But if I am honest, Trump has very little power in my context.
Here is who has power in my context: The Democrat party has unrivaled power in our state, and for sure in our county. What is taught at school all comes from a left of center perspective. All of the shows I watch and that are top rated are all left of center in their worldview. And all of the colleges and universities in my area and that the people from my context attend are all far left of center. The left has all the power in my context.
I long to be a Christian leader who follows the example of Christ and longs to stand up to those who abuse their power, to the people who are oppressed and marginalized. But I am afraid. For those who would agree with this tradition might find themselves on the wrong side of the equation.
For now, this silly little blog post is all the courage I can muster. But, who knows, maybe as more and more Christ followers step back from loyalty to a political party and repent of making politics a false idol, the church can once again find their voice as an advocate for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. And although we may speak truth to power, we will continue to practice selfless and sacrificial love, even to our enemies.