Most spiritual communities require electrical power. We like our coffee makers and AC. But spiritual communities also require the kind of power that makes transformation happen.
Community organizers teach us that the power to change things comes when we:
- Organize people towards a common focus.
- Organize money towards a common mission.
Many wonderful organizations haven’t yet learned that Power Is A Good Thing, and we get more of it when we organize people and money. Charlene Mack, Director of National Organizing Initiatives at Leadership for Educational Equity points out that the National Rifle Organization has done an excellent job organizing both people and money. And some of our finest affordable housing organizations, homeless shelters, and feeding programs have inspiring goals but are not organized well enough to make anywhere near the same impact as the NRA. Some of us believe that homeless and hungry people need at least as much protection as gun owners.
This is one of the reasons I believe that Community Organizing Training is one of the skills 21st Century leaders need.
Our power tools in the Church are indeed Organized Money and Organized People. But we also have access to a third power tool: The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not magical. The Spirit of God is not like voodoo or karma or superstition. I have experienced God’s Spirit in both everyday revelations and broad strokes of history. As the Rev. Denise Anderson preached at the Charlotte Presbytery gathering Tuesday, this is the Spirit that can separate waters and revive dead bones. This Spirit is the ultimate Power tool, but we cannot control it. We cannot buy it. We cannot organize it. We can only pray for it.
This Sunday the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Spirit of God transformed the lives of “devout Jews from every nation.” This is a good day to pray that the Spirit transforms us so that we might work with God for a world as it should be – according to what Jesus said – and not stand for the world the way it is.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Jesus in The Gospel of Luke 4:14-21
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