The Fact of Power

More from the book quoted in my last post, Modern Heresies, this from the chapter “On Accepting the Universe,” subtitled “The Reality of Power:”

One of the fundamental facts of creation is the fact of power.  In accepting the universe, Christians are obliged to face the reality that nothing is done by wishing it were so or by deciding that it ought to be so; it is done by the exercise of power.  One of the most persistent heresies is the idea that power is something too indelicate for Christians to talk about, especially social and political power….

The phrase “power politics” illustrates with what suspicion we regard power, for that phrase is intended to describe the most ruthless and brutal kind of compulsion, wholly lacking in any ethical concern whatever.  But as Paul Tillich has pointed out, there is really no other kind of politics but a politics which is concerned with the development and exercise of power.  The most elementary observation of the way the world operates would save a good deal of Christian exhortation and admonition from the terrible curse of futility and irrelevance under which it so often operates.



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