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The Calculus of Power

John 11:45-56

“If we allow,” the powers declare. They boom with doom, “If this continues, then other powers will come and take away what’s ours.” They wrap it in the garb of allegiance to state and faith. But at its heart, the reason is quite clear. Their supreme leaders seem to rise above the anxious fray, “It is expedient for us!” And there you have it; the calculus of power will always choose the convenient and practical, even if immoral; even if it requires the sacrifice of someone or something vulnerable because from its perspective, “It is better for me and my kind.” Better for who?

Fall Creek Abbey, where we live and work is located in an urban neighborhood that is quickly being regentrified. It pains us to see original families lose their homes due to increased property taxes. It saddens us to see the racial and economic diversity disappear. And simultaneously we feel more secure and comfortable with the shift. Unconsciously, we have become part of the problem of a power structure that cannot think beyond expediency. “It’s better,” we say. Better for who?

The calculus of power and the calculus of heaven will always drop us smack down in the middle of a disruptive and costly tension. If we don’t carry the conflict in our chests, we have likely aligned with the power structures that most benefit us and our kind. Will you prayerfully consider any areas of expediency the Lord may be asking you to cease alignment with or stop paying allegiance to?

  • Who am I willing to sacrifice for the so-called good of the nation? Immigrants? Those without healthcare? The viability of our earth? Its vulnerable non-human beings? The poor?

  • Where might I be blind to my expediency? Who do I cause to suffer that I might benefit? What corners do I cut without considering the cost to others?

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