Christianity’s uniqueness lies in its ambivalent relationship with power.
“Christianity’s really unusual insight is into the use of power – or rather its lack of it, as we see in the life of Christ. This Christ forsook the path of the revolutionary zealot and rejected the role of both politician and jurist.
“Weakness and humility are the values chiefly in the foreground – although lurking in the background lies considerable power to redeem and change the world.” (Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, from "Christians are under pressure to keep quiet about their faith, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey" by Ian Johnston in The Independent, December 24, 2013, below)
"Ambivalent relationship with power....rejecting revolutionary, politician and jurist" seems to point to a focus on one-on-one relationships, in which the power of love, forgiveness, compassion and empathy (agape) transforms a hardened heart to one of equal, if not surpassing love, forgiveness, compassion and empathy. It is the ambivalence that makes the application of personal, individual, discipleship both complicated and often abortive. The Anglican church, for centuries, has been the church of the "establishment" of the political power of the realm. In fact, the Queen of England is also the Head of the Church of England, and there is no one more "powerful" than that single person in the political life of both the country and the church. Political correctness has too often, if not completely, obliterated the expressions of love, forgiveness, compassion and empathy (agape) preferring to "appear" correct, rather than to forsake appearances and let the truth out: the truth of one's faith, of one's confusions, of one's doubts, of one's deepest passions, of one's most creative urges, including those of art, poetry, dance, design and music.
One is prompted to challenge the former Archbishop's word ambivalence, since for the last century at least, the church has practiced a kind of politics of marketing, moral superiority, disdaining as it must any hint of conflict or disagreement over the tenets of its foundation....and institutionally preferring a highly conservative and exclusionary position on first women clergy, then gays and lesbians first from the pews and then from the pulpit, and clearly disdaining any political posture that would seriously challenge the power of the corporations, the plutocrats, the terrorists, and the environmental deniers...preferring instead the cover of both upper class snobbery and mediocrity as role models for those who call themselves 'cradle Anglicans'.....and this has been both a scurge on the culture's need to reform its political structure as well as a ceiling on what is considered both practical and worthy of institutional commitment.
Christians are under pressure to keep quiet about their faith, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey
By Ian Johnston, The Independent, December 24, 2013
Christians are under pressure to be “silent about their faith” and display “increasing timidity” about admitting they have a faith at work, according to Lord Carey.