Facing principalities and powers


I don’t know about you, but I have been struggling with sanity these past two weeks.  Self care is especially important in moments like these, and I need to get back to my Spiritual disciplines so I can remain conscious.  What we are facing is serious and will not be for the faint of heart. Interesting George’s sermon addressed power and principality this week as that is what I had planned to write about this week. It is in the air.

I am grateful to have listened to Jonathan Martin so closely the last two years putting in my head over and over the concept of Power and Principality.  Ephesians 6:12 is a verse I have put as an anthem in my heart so I will not dehumanize anyone.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Interesting anyone would use Paul as a prop for empire when you read a verse like this. Jonathan Martin reminded us over and over that we are talking to the principality that has a hold of the person. It’s important to say it’s name: White supremacy, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. White supremacy is a very old principality and is a tough beast. If you notice when you say one of the many names it encompasses, it gets really insecure. If you say racism – that is more offensive than the racist act itself. I mentioned in my last post Jesus got the name of Legion before he cast the demon to the wild pigs. We will not cast out the dark forces until we say it’s name. The principality trembles at its name.  Plus, we cannot see the source of darkness until we name it.  Why do we need so many nonprofits for justice?  Our systems are creating these injustices.  We need to know how we are participating in it.

Scripture has given me comfort in these days of lamentations. Our brothers and sisters before us know what we are going through.  This is what they were up against too. We have been blessed with ancient wisdom to guide us. We even get to see the error of their ways. The Bible is unique in the fact that it critiques itself. These were not people who had their stuff together all the time.  They got scared and did weird stuff too.  Saint Peter wasn’t perfect- he denied Jesus three times and was warned he would do that, but even though he screwed up royally because of fear – he was still faithful. We can completely fail, but our faith will hold up.  Notice there is confession and repentance from followers of Jesus- not just the outsiders.  They weep and feel deep grief.  Jacob wrestles all night with God. Jacob was not overpowered so the man, angel, or God (however you want to describe the Spirit) touches his hip and leaves him with a limp.  When we love we will be left with a limp.  Brian Zhand also said this, “We will wrestle with God, until we see the face of God in our own Esau.”

I have a suspicion (or knowing) the oppressors are in a lot of pain.  There is pain in letting go of a narrative that has kept one safe for so long, and feeling like the narrative was owned-not to be interpreted any other way.  Pain that has been bottled up for so long, because we were told not to trust our feelings.  I cannot tell you how many times I was told I was too emotional, or I would hear “passionate” in a mocking way.  When I got to Wilshire, my friend Emily told me I was a “conduit of pure emotion”.  That is the nicest way anyone has ever said that.  🙂  She was saying it in a good way.  While our feelings should not rule our decisions, we do need to pay attention to them and explore why we feel them.

Also, we need to discuss power.  In the words of Beth Moore, “There is no drink on this earth more intoxicating than power.” Go to the margins to stay sane.  The real power is always there.  If you gain influence – question it.  Wisdom is knowing we know very little.  Truth is of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.  If it doesn’t produce any of these attributes, then it is not true.  You will know when you are off.  You are off when you no longer feel life there.  Repent and get back on track.  Life really is that open and free, and grace really is scandalous.  It seems like a license to sin, but those who are free want no part of sin.  When you are free, you want everyone to be free.

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