Reviews > Q&A

Strong for a purpose

"Strong for a purpose" Continued...

Issue: "Inside the wire," March 22, 2014

As in the early history of Christianity ... On the day of Pentecost, 120 people in the whole world are attached to this crucified Messiah, Jesus. Even 100 years later, maybe 20,000 out of the whole Roman Empire, but 400 years later more than half the Roman Empire has come to faith. 

Is power-seeking like a drug? The initial hit is exciting, but it takes more and more to get less and less? Our modern concept of addiction maps very closely onto how idols work. Diminishing returns, accelerating or increasing demands. That’s the pattern of all idols, whether political, religious, or substances we worship as if they were God.

How about an analogy to writing: If it comes too easily, it’s probably not very good? Yes, which is why when people find out I’m a writer and say, “Oh, I love writing,” I think, “Oh, you’re not a writer.” If it’s that easy for you, I don’t think you’re really a writer, and I probably don’t want to read what you write, because it hasn’t been suffered enough.

God says, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Should leaders use power to say, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the spaces of this organization with your own creativity”? I experienced this in a very vivid way as the executive producer of documentary films, very involved at the vision and often the resource provision stages. But on an actual shoot, I’m the least important person in the whole endeavor: I can’t run the camera, I can’t frame the shot, I can’t run the sound. These other people are flourishing, and I’m watching and celebrating and saying, like God, “This is very good.”

You’ve created the environment ... I’m trying to reframe our understanding of power from the imperative mood, which just gives commands. In limited domains the imperative mood is important, but other moods of the verb in Genesis 1 aren’t the imperative. It’s let there be this, and let’s make this together, and now you guys go make something. Very different from just commanding and controlling.

You write, “More and more resources of time and money go into the appearance of power, while less and less go into its actual exercise in ways that would create opportunity and true wealth.” How do you start changing that? Some institutions do not serve any ongoing good, and those need to be eliminated. We need prophets who are able to say, while everyone else is trying to avoid the issue, “This institution is not working.”

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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