Who will hold the power?" is the pressing question of our age. We live in a country that is frantically clinging to the values and structures that have made it the most powerful nation among nations. Power that has reached its peak by imposing its will on other peoples does not easily learn how to cooperate as a peer among equals.
All of us have been schooled in the top-down method of exercising power. To be anybody in this culture means being better than somebody else. Success means being the smartest or the most attractive, having the biggest, the most expensive, the most comfortable.
But our desire for superiority is not only a result of enculturation. It is an innate part of being human; it is sin. Inborn self-centeredness coupled with the values we have absorbed growing up in this country produce people in need of some major re-creation if we are serious about conforming our lives to the way of Christ.
The vision of Sojourners community grew from people who were aware both of the misuse of power in our society as it related to sex, race, and class, and of the reversal of power which Jesus taught and modeled. Three theological points were key to the shaping of our perspective on the leadership of women and men in the church: Jesus' relationship to women, the evidence of women leaders in the early church, and Paul's Galatians teaching that in Christ there is "neither male nor female."
We shared a struggle common to many of being well-steeped in academics and articulation of our vision, but less practiced at conforming the flesh and blood of our lives to it. We were clearer on the principles involved in the kingdom of God than on how to live out those principles.