Richard Rohr: Bias from the Bottom

Growing numbers of us are acknowledging with grief that many forms of supremacy—Christian, white, male, heterosexual, and human—are deeply embedded not just in Christian history, but also in Christian theology. We are coming to see that in hallowed words like almighty, sovereignty, kingdom, dominion, supreme, elect, chosen, clean, remnant, sacrifice, lord,and even God, dangerous vices often lie hidden. . . . We are coming to see in the life and teaching of Christ, and especially in the cross and resurrection of Christ, a radical rejection of dominating supremacy in all its forms.

The theological term for [this] is kenosis, which means self-emptying. . . . Rather than seizing, hoarding, and exercising power in the domineering ways of typical kings, conquistadors, and religious leaders, Jesus was consistently empowering others. He descended the ladders and pyramids of influence instead of climbing them upwards, released power instead of grasping at it, and served instead of dominating.

He ultimately overturned all conventional understandings of . . . power by purging [it] of violence—to the point where he himself chose to be killed rather than kill. [1]

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).