Speaking Truth To Power, Vaping and Masculinity
Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Speaking Truth to Power, Vaping and Masculinity
Monday 11th July 2022
Speaking Truth To Power
Think Moses, Jesus, The Apostle Peter, Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and William Wilberforce just eight very famous names of courageous people who spoke ‘truth to power’. Malala Yousafzai is an inspiring contemporary example of speaking truth to power. She was shot in the head in 2012 for her activism on behalf of women’s education in Pakistan. She survived, spoke truth to power by standing up to the oppressive Taliban in her country, and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at just 17 years of age.
“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”― Malala Yousafzai
What Are We Talking About?
“To stand up and speak out for what’s right and tell people in charge what’s what. That’s the idea behind the phrase speak truth to power, an expression for courageously confronting an authority, calling out injustices on their watch, and demanding change”. Source: Dictionary.com
Speaking Truth To Power is fundamentally different to Moralism. Moralism as I wrote last week is about telling non-Christians (and Christians for that matter), ‘how they should live’. Don’t do this, you must do that etc. Speaking Truth to Power is altogether different. It is speaking up about injustices in our world. It is about speaking up publicly and if needs be including peaceful protest against such things as racism, sexism, war, slavery (including modern day exploitative labour practices) abortion, the gradual stripping away of parental rights etc. We might refer to these things as ‘principalities and powers’.
Speaking Truth To Power has the idea of Jesus’ famous words, “Your Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Speaking Truth To Power is about showing a better way…..God’s way where the Hebrew idea of Shalom returns to a chaotic, confusing, unjust and even violent situation.
Here is a short interview that Religion News Service did with Walter Brueggeman back in 2014 and I quote:-
RNS: Some American Christians are now political and cultural power brokers. Is this dangerous?
WB: It is very seductive for all of us. And I suppose it has been the seduction of the Jesus movement since Constantine, when Christians gained access to power and have loved having it. I think the collusion of the church with political order in almost any society causes the church to lose its edge and have failure of nerve about the gospel that has been entrusted to it.
POV. I find all this very challenging. How do I as a committed Christian speak Truth to Power, and as importantly how de we as The Church do that? As NZ heads to another general election next year I fear that there is going to be a lot of shouting and name calling and finger pointing from both sides or perhaps better said ‘from all sides’. And I just don’t think it is going to change a thing for the better, not long term anyway. Has shouting and name calling changed anything to date, really? As a community of faith we are called to be counter-cultural, to be truth tellers and to ‘wrestle’ with principalities and powers. Let’s have some public discourse on how we might do that?
Vaping Amongst School Kids
The Sunday Programme last night did what I thought was an excellent expose into this whole new activity of vaping that is highly addictive of which we don’t know as yet the long term consequences that it will have. You will meet to academics who are ‘speaking truth to power’ on this issue especially Prof. Emily Banks. The vaping story starts at 14mins and goes for 27mins.
POV. I would strongly recommend that every youth group youngster in your church AND every young adult see this doco and also every parent. And then talk talk talk.
Perhaps my favourite writer (blogger) is David French, founder of the Dispatch. Here is another thought provoking and insightful reflection on masculinity entitled “Against the Extremism of the American Masculinity Debate-There is always a path to raising a boy to be his own version of a good man”.