Power-Sharing, or the Story of a Control Freak in Community Written by Erica Kadel The Julian Year alum and ESC national staff member
In August 2013, mere months after graduating from Fordham University, I moved into a house with six perfect strangers in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the far north side of Chicago to begin serving with the Julian Year.
In the first weeks, I admit that I came off pretty intense. I made sure to let my new community know that I was controlling and forceful and loud and that, given the choice, I always take charge. But, to give myself some credit, I also told them that I already was beginning to feel nuggets of appreciation and loyalty beginning to grow, and that, given time, I knew I would deeply and fiercely love them.
I had done some serious soul searching in the months and years before that moment, and I felt like I knew what my strengths and weaknesses were (many of my core personality traits really fit into both categories). I saw this move to Chicago for what it could be: a chance for me to create a “new” me with some of my rougher edges
Reflection on Power Written by Winnie Verghese EUIP Alum and ESC board member
The Decalogue begins with this commandment: I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other God, than the God of your liberation. Okay, slight paraphrase.
You’ve probably seen this definition: racism = prejudice + power. It works for all kinds of “isms.” This formula of words illustrates the idea that the “power over” that some institutions and individuals have over the lives of others is the making of systems that seem to lock us into perpetual injustice no matter what we do with our personal power to act ethically.
Understanding our history, the contexts of our communities, and our power to bear witness and be a part of the transformation that is the Good News of Jesus is at the heart of the Episcopal Service Corps.
The church is an institution, historically, a powerful one. The social service networks in our communities are institutions, some of them also quite powerful. The dynamics of our cities and how they are organized speak to how power works in our communities. We have choices as individuals to stand alongside those who are vulnerable
From the Inside Out Written by Johnna Dominguez EUIP alum
In the readings from this week in Lent, I think Scripture models how God really expects power to work. Let’s take a look, shall we?
John 2: 19. What credentials can you present to justify this?
I’m kind of an over-achiever. I will officially graduate in August with a MA in Anthropology. Next May, if everything goes well, I will graduate with a MBA in Nonprofit Management. And since I am in the discernment process for ordained ministry (God willing), I will also most likely be getting a M. Div. at some point in my life. Despite this, I was very surprised when an average of four people’s responses revealed that my highest competency in an Emotional Intelligence survey was Achievement Orientation. Why was I surprised? Because despite the letters I am starting to collect behind my name, enrollment in these programs has never been from a conscious decision to get some credential to wave in front of other people’s faces. I just love learning. Classwork is just something that I do to get better at something, whether that’s to broaden my cultural awareness, to learn the skills to be
Qadr Written by Saadia Ahmad Sycamore House Service Corps member
I recall experiencing a great deal of powerlessness during my last semester at Providence College, sending one job application after another to what seemed to be a vortex of no return. Sharing my frustrations and anxieties with a past professor and dear mentor of mine still today, he asked, “do you know the best way to deal with feeling like you have no control?” I shook my head no, and he answered, “Remember that you never really had any.”
There’s a fair amount of wisdom in that. Each of the major world religions reminds its followers of this powerlessness, in one way or another. Christianity emphasizes the importance and necessity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, as only the Messiah possesses the power to redeem humankind from sin. My own religion, Islam, agrees with this tenant in a different way by emphasizing the idea of Qadr as one of the six major beliefs of Islam. It is an Arabic term that roughly translates to God possessing ultimate power and decree over good and evil.
I suspect, though, that neither of these beliefs intend to suggest that we not put forth
To Love, Heal, and Transform: Sharing our Power with the World Written by Solita A. Denard Johnson Service Corps former staff member and ESC Consultant
I have received many valuable gifts through my engagement with this community, both locally and nationally. When demonstrated in a life-giving way, our personal and collective power can bring about the healing and support our souls long for. Over the years, I have had the privilege of witnessing many of us discover our abilities as we walk alongside one another. Whether influencing a positive difference for society or struggling with difficult change at various private levels, there is power in our words, being and action.
In community, we are continuously learning to allow ourselves to trust. To be powerful without controlling outcomes and people. To be seen when we are weak, vulnerable and confused without fear of losing our dignity. Some of us are learning how to own and fully operate in the magnificent strengths we bring to community, and that journey can be awkward and unsure. The healing connections and support we are developing empower us to continue to put one foot in front of the other. To keep breathing. Trying again. Living.
Reflection on Power Written by Tyler Crabe Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network (LEVN) former program director
For a long time, reading the Ten Commandments reminds me of being scolded as child. Don’t do this, and don’t do that, or you will end up in the principal’s office yet again. It felt like an all-powerful God using God’s power to tell me what to do.
Yet, I do not think this is what the Triune God had in mind when creating the Ten Commandments.
In the narrative of Exodus, God calls together a people and frees them from the slavery and tyranny of the Pharaoh. God’s divine power inspires leaders and delivers the Hebrews from their plight. After freeing the Hebrews, God outlines how intentional community might look in a covenantal relationship in the Ten Commandments and other laws, so that they might be free to live justly and in harmony with one another and their God. Rather than using God’s power to control, God uses God’s power to create and free the Hebrew people. In Egypt, God freed the Hebrews from tyranny. In creating a covenatal relationship, God uses God’s power to free the Hebrew people from isolation.
In some ways,