Something I've Never Noticed in the State of the Union

Kara Powell | Jan 27, 2011

At FYI, we more or less stay clear of politics. But I personally try to stay informed about the political scene, and as appropriate, bring my kids into the loop.

A few nights ago, Dave and I decided to make the State of the Union a family event. After dinner, we lit a fire and put on the State of the Union (yes, we are kinda dorky) and watched about 30 minutes of it with our kids. We paused it multiple times to explain various folks on camera. The kids especially enjoyed learning about the teleprompters and seeing them in the corners of the TV screen.

I try to watch the State of the Union every year, but I noticed something new this time. When President Obama enters and exits the floor, the Congressional leaders extend their hands toward the aisle, trying to get him to shake their hand. Some even were asking for autographs. One even offered a picture and asked the President to sign it.

Here the leaders of our government are treating the President like a rock star.

Power so often brings hierarchy. Jesus’ power is a different sort, but in political power, there’s almost always someone “higher up” than you. And we so often just want to get a taste of power from someone higher up.

As leaders, how can we use our power well? How can we help folks understand that power is not something limited, something scarce. That there can be an abundance of power because we serve an abundant God.

How is power handled in your church? Do people tend to view you, or other leaders, as a bit of a rock star? What (if anything) is good about that? What (if anything) is problematic about that?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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