Kathy says this, which required me to do some research on power differentials, but even I understood her point once I read the entire paragraph: “Cultivating a community requires breaking down power differentials. That’s what I love about deep community, brothers and sisters of all walks of life really in the trenches together. It’s also why I appreciate Jean Vanier’s book Community and Growth and the path of descent. Real community crosses gender, socioeconomics, education, and other great divides that tend to typically separate us. In community, relationships aren’t “to” or “for” but they are truly “with” and everyone can play and participate, not just the pretty, popular, or powerful.”
Oh gosh. That is good. But think about applying it.
I mean really think about this.
I have a kid who is currently a barista in a local coffee shop. He understands power differentials and does not need to google the concept. It turns out that baristas are fairly low on the power scale. People talk to him like he is an idiot. For the record, he is not. And, in case you might find this information useful – many bright, talented, creative people work a job in a service industry so they can pursue their passion for free. It’s called having more than one hustle and a bunch of millennials are choosing this out of a deep, profound conviction that they don’t want to do it the way their parental units did. Not because they are lazy. Not because they “don’t get it”. Oh they get it. The question is – do we?
My boy knows what it is like to watch his dad work tirelessly for a company for decades that told him one day, “Yeah, it might be good for you to look for something else. Your salary is a burden.” This had a profound impact on a kid who knew that his dad’s loyalty often came at great personal cost. Now, before you whip out the hanky, my husband had a job twenty minutes after he realized his boss was serious. But that’s beside the point. The point is that the power differential concept has not been lost on the next generation and I am praying they will fix some of our messes.
In our world today we have TREMENDOUS POWER DIFFERENTIALS that, if you happen to have a little power, YOU MAY BE UNAWARE OF. In church, there ought not be a power differential.
One of my favorite parts of our community is our men’s group, where we regularly have CEO types sitting with and learning from guys who have no power but do have a couple decades of clean time. I love that so much.
Do you have any places in your life where you see power differentials at work? How could you make a difference?