Power: It's What Pastors, Politicians, Pundits, and Producers Crave

Before you freak out: not all pastors, politicians, pundits, and producers crave power. The prominent ones do, which is how they become prominent.

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It takes passionate desire for a person to build an empire with himself (or herself) at the center. It takes fortitude and discipline. It also requires a will to power: the desire to feel powerful, to exert power over others. 

When a megapastor like Bill Hybels is accused of being a harasser, we shouldn't be shocked if that turns out to be true. The will to have power over women (or staff and congregants, in Mark Driscoll's case) is exactly the same motivation that builds the mechanism of power that allows the harassment to happen.

Yes: if our churches (businesses, homes, clubs--insert your favorite collective here) were more accepting of flaws and supportive of recovery, there would be less harassment. That's because victims would be less inclined to tolerate it.

We admire and encourage empires and those who build them. Large churches. Electoral college wins. Network dynasties. Blockbuster movies. It takes a certain kind of drive, determination and desire to build them. 

The dirty secret is that it's the same drive that destroys others. You don't have to destroy others if you have a passionate will to power, I expect, but I'm not sure how exactly that works.

Many of us wrestle with success, or at least one of us does. I don't have the drive that builds empires. And: I sometimes wish I did. When I pray for God's strength and blessings upon my endeavors, I caution my heart against really wanting to build something great and glorious. Why monitor my motives?  Because if School For Seekers becomes "successful" that is in fact a result of my efforts as well as of God's, which would be great if my efforts were always commendable. If I take credit for my successes--and if I want success (which we have already established I do)--then I also have to take the blame for my failures. 

My behaviors, my desires, my tactics, my sins are my doing. They reflect my character, not God's. 

"What does it avail a man to gain the world and lose his soul?" Jesus famously asked. A prior question might be, "what kind of man wants to gain the world?"

I'm not afraid of success, or of accepting the kudos that come with it. I'm afraid of who I will turn out to be if I have it. Not what success will turn me into, but what it would say about the person I already was.