We gave our readers a one-word writing prompt: "power."
When I was assigned to fourth-grade safety patrol, I relished this first whiff of raw power. Of course, I had no authority whatsoever.
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet." In an election year, this passage from Deuteronomy makes me feel slightly sick to my stomach.
“Speak truth to power.” The phrase resonates with the biblical prophets and the courage it takes to challenge those preoccupied with maintaining their power at the expense of truth. The phrase rings true in Robert Mugabe’s rule over Zimbabwe, or in the stonewalling silence of a church in the wake of a sexual abuse crisis.Yet in American culture, and especially in mainline Protestantism, the phrase has become hackneyed. Pastors invoke the phrase in sermons; seminary professors use it in classroom lectures; groups organize around it. One person even suggested that the phrase is the very heart of the pastoral vocation. Is it really?