"Use power for common good," Dr. Lindsay urges
August 28, 2008
Evangelicals in the past 20 years have moved into positions of power in government, business, academics, and entertainment, raising questions that need to be addressed in a Godly manner, Bryan’s convocation speaker said as the college celebrated the opening of its 79th academic year.
Dr. D. Michael Lindsay, assistant professor of sociology and associate director of the Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life at Rice University, spoke on the findings from his research that led to publication of his book Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite. “Worldly power is a complicated thing,” he said. "Is it something followers of Christ should seek or shun? If you have power—and all of us, by the world’s standards, have power—use it for good.” He pointed out that the Bible has examples of individuals who achieved powerful positions, but added, “Most of the people of faith don’t have lots of power.”
Reflecting on the Prophet Jeremiah’s advice to the Jews taken in captivity to Babylon, he said, “I think Jeremiah would say to Christians with power, ‘You ought to be a counterculture for the common good.’ I think worldly power honors God the most when it is put into practice for the common good.”
Evangelicals in powerful positions have helped change corporate culture to allow Bible studies on company property, have produced faith-friendly films such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and have made scientific advances such as the human genome project. “Our lives will be changed because people of faith are doing things for the common good. The real calling for us is to follow the admonition of Jeremiah to be a counterculture that works for the common good. This is our calling; this is our blessing.”