What Our Congregation Can Learn About Power and Privilege

Tali Hairston, Director of the John Perkins Center for Reconciliation at Seattle Pacific University, was back in class on Sunday, 12/6, teaching about power and privilege in the Christian Education class called Pressing Issues of Our Time. Below are a couple of key points he made as he addressed what he would like our congregation to know about poverty and privilege.

Tali described poverty as not just the lack of economic resources, but the lack of family or community support as well. Some people may have plenty of economic resources, but lack a family or community to support them. These people are also poor.

As we become aware of our privilege, our awareness should create a willingness to be advocates for those who are left out. Being ashamed of our privilege is not helpful because it is debilitating. Instead, we should find ways to empower those who are “under-privileged.” This is the work of a congregation like ours as we seek to be agents of reconciliation in the world. Or, put more simply, to be a follower of Jesus.

It is right to lament that things are the way they are in the world, its injustice to those who have no power or voice or community. It is right to lament the things that break God’s heart. And out of our lament may come a love for all people, a desire for them to lead a full and whole life, which is what God wants for them as well. And out of that love, will come action that leads to empowerment.