Dee's Blog
Thu 11/01/2007
When a Word Becomes a Roadblock
Topic: Power

Before I get to the topic, have an important media announcement, happening TODAY: 

Dr. Phil was on the CBS Morning Show today, giving a pre-show interview about his exposure of teacher-student abuse this afternoon.  I don't particularly like the format, hope these students are ready for this.  He is putting the teacher who has allegations from three students (and denies her guilt) up against the students on live TV!  From the clear way he laid out what he believes about the issues, I don't think he is going to have a problem doing a lot of teaching and exposing the issues, though.  Certainly a show worth watching.

 Now, on with the topic of power: 

If you logged in early yesterday morning for the blog, you found a simplified version.  I was inspired to add to it, rather than just expound on it.  So please go back and re-read anything that you haven't read since yesterday at 11:15 a.m.

Now, that leads me into a new topic that is very much related to what I wrote yesterday.  Power-that's the topic.  The single language that I once understood, when I only knew "one language" didn't accept what my "bilingual" world does today when using the word "power."

It used to be, in my youth, that to put the word "power" in any sentence without the word "God" or "Gospel" was considered total heresy.  Unless you were talking about some evil power.  If it was about people, it couldn't be a positive word.  The old fundamentalist theology of my history didn't allow that.   That theology is still very much around, and it's very important to understand a person's theology when talking about such matters as abuse and violence. 

If a nation, especially a "Christian" nation like the United States, has power of any kind, it is only because "God has blessed us."  The implication, often unspoken, is that we have found favor or have somehow earned that blessing.  Like Noah who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

People who were not raised in this theology of conservativism don't even seem to grasp what I mean when I say that using the word "power" can be counter-productive.   Fundamentalists understand "influence" and "authority" and "responsibility" and "obligation" and "duty"--all of these words do not have to be translated like the word "power."  Neither is a person who uses those words likely to have to prove her(him)self in order to not be immediately cast into the outsider role.

If "power" is considered to be a 4-letter word, then how do we talk more fluently with those on more fundamental levels about what we understand, without appearing arrogant, because we have dared to understand the concept more fully ourselves?  That's the challenge to think about as we examine the dynamics in depth.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thu 11/01/2007 8:02 AM CDT

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