1/15 Limerick: Agency from Powerlessness


If we’re to live life that is glorious
We must believe God is now One with us
When power I lose
I’m still free to choose
For I can align with His plan for us


I’ve started this year by focusing on what it means to declare Good News to the Poor. Last night I watched the new Puss in Boots with my daughter, which echoed similar hero’s journey themes I’d seen in Korean drama.

In particular — mild spoiler alert — I’ve been struck by the tension between power, identity, and relationship. We all want power in order to sustain our identity, and retain or increase our status within our community. That is a legitimate goal, as without that we devolve into sub-human lethargy. Yet paradoxically, that very grasping for power destroys the authentic relationships necesary to truly live.

The conclusion I am coming to is that power is necessary, but toxic. To live — to survive — requires we take and crowd out other lives, even if it is just to plants. That isn’t evil, but it does accumulate karma like heavy metals. The power we need to maintain our self-agency corrupts, and eventually destroys everything we hold dear — including ourselves.

The only cure is death. The Good News of the gospel is that death is not the end. It really is possible to die to our false self, and allow Jesus to pay that karmic debt on our behalf, so we can been reborn into (more) authentic relationships.

I don’t claim to fully understand this, much less to be able to explain. But I am starting to see why I am poor, and the Good News I so desperately need…

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