It seems to me that power must be understood in the first instance as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization; as the process which, through ceaseless struggles and confrontations, transforms, strengthens, or reverses; as the support which these force relations find in one another, thus forming a chain or system;… and lastly, as the strategies in which they take effect, whose general design or institutional crystallization is embodied in the state apparatus, in the formulation of the law, in the various social hegemonies.

Michel Foucault

Or in other words, power is not encased in a formal pyramid hierarchy structure. The abuse in the Irish Catholic Church of the 20th Century didn’t emanate from the Pope or even the Archbishop of Dublin. Equally, simply because evangelical Christianity doesn’t have a structure that binds it together, that doesn’t mean it is not one of the most potent forces in the western world (HT: Cian). The State is the most obvious expression of power in our world. But even it rests on top of chains and systems of self-organising power players. Power is emergent. It is a force that arises out of systems that are not (always) consciously designed to exercise the power they have. Often, the power is a by-product. And all these chains and systems, from the local bridge club’s control of the social centre out to the influence of the Licensed Vintners Association are collected and organised but never fully controlled by the state.

Christians are right to be suspicious of power structures and hierarchies. But the lack of a formal control system from the top down does not mean that we are immune to the corrupting influence of power.

Your Correspondent, The trouble with him is the trouble with you, got two good eyes, but he still don’t see

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