#LentWithESC – Day 20

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 an effective leader, or to learn more about the faith that is so important to me.

1 Corinthians 1: 19. I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Let me direct you to a Ted talk that I watched in my Executive Leadership class last night. I highly suggest that you watch it. I, of course, related it to my faith. Because I seem to do that with everything. In the talk, Zinchy talks about how the most effective leaders and changemakers think from the inside out, which is counter-cultural. It turns our conventional question of what a person does into a question of why a person does it. In a time when most of the churches I visit participate in a ministry just because they are trying to get butts in the pews, their welcomes often sound like a sales pitch of what they do as a community. Instead, they should know why they do something as individuals and as a community. Because the answer to that question will come across as more authentic and powerful than any mark on a checklist.

John 2: 17. That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

Why do I keep going back to school? Because I am passionate about learning.

Why did I participate in a year of service? Because I was passionate about learning about my Christian faith and its tenant of serving others.

Why am I planning on working in ministry? Because I am passionate about forming deep relationships with all people.

1 Corinthians 1: 21. God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

None of these have anything to do with a desire for power. Sure, power sometimes arises from the way I live these passions out. And I still struggle with that. Because I’m not sure if I should have power or if I even want it. But when I’m really passionate about something, it just sort of wells up. I can’t help but proclaim what I’m feeling and thinking.

Jesus had no credentials at all. His power came from his passionate love of God and all humanity. He didn’t care about what he had to do or how. If he cared about either of those things, I think he would have quit long before he got on the cross.