Cascade Church Portland

Power Dynamics:: So What?

October 8, 2018

The Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It's a big phrase that can carry a lot of weight for people familiar with Christianity.

The origins of the word "Gospel" is a lot of fun to unpack. The earliest followers of Jesus took it from the more common usage of "The Gospel of Caesar". Whenever someone would come into power in Rome a story would develop to validate the power of the incoming caesar. Usually these stories would use divine powers, abilities or events that justified the Caesars ability to hold onto their position. 

There's a lot of parallels in our culture today. Almost every superhero movie has an origin story. It's the reason why you can trust their future actions. Spiderman needs the radioactive spider bite to be Spiderman. Superman needs to be an alien to be Superman. Batman needs tragedy and a billion dollars to be Batman. 

This extends to our politicians and business leaders. The Gospel of Apple involves Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a garage in Los Altos, CA building incredible technology with limited resources. The Gospel of Donald Trump involves building a real estate empire from a 1 million dollar loan from his father

These stories are all meant to support the narrative of doing incredible things in the past to support the idea that they will continue to doing incredible things. 

What's really interesting about the gospel of Jesus Christ is how subversive the whole concept was. The parallels between the gospel of caesar and the gospel of Jesus was intentional to demonstrate the power of a better story. What if power wasn't used to hold and protect greater levels of power? What if the point of the origin story was to share a new kind of worldview where power was given to the powerless and a misuse of power is held accountable? 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a wink at the audience because it's using a format we've seen repeated for several thousand years to tell a very different story. It's a good news for all people, not just some of the people at the top. I hope you'll celebrate and join this good news that turns the lights on power dynamics in our world then and now. 

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