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Domestic Violence and Abuse

When Human Progress Harms Relationships (Bruderhof Minute)

I heard Andy Crouch speak last week at Q
Ideas in Nashville and he was talking about how human progress over the past
centuries has been a trade of personhood for power. He was talking specifically
about the revolution in banking practices that the Medicis
introduced in the 15th century, then the Industrial Revolution of the 18th
century, and now the digital revolution of the late 20th century. And he was
talking about how each of these changes or advances, if you will, have brought
opportunities but have also changed the way that people relate to one another. Now, granted, for many people the promise of this power, the ability to travel
around the world, to order goods and services at the click of a button, to eat
what you want when you want, to access an endless variety of entertainment options.
You know, these things are often more a dream than a reality, but they can
nevertheless take hold of a person’s imagination. Now I’m not against nice
things, I actually quite like them. The problem is that, because it’s so easy,
this power can take the place of what it means to be a person, and it’s a poor
substitute for personhood – really knowing others and being known by them. So what
would it look like to trade power back for personhood? How would you even do
that? One way to start would be to start using more of our time doing the
difficult work of cultivating real human relationships. Here on the Bruderhof
we’re fortunate enough to live in a way that we run into each other as we go
about our days, and it’s important that we use each of these encounters to build the love and the trust between us. Because the truth is,
these relationships are the most valuable resources we possess. Forget
about money, financial security, it’s not even close. Another more radical take
comes from Eberhard Arnold, who founded the Bruderhof in Germany in the late 1920s.
Toward the end of his life he started to talk about
how human power actually needs to be actively dismantled. He came to believe
that the only way God can use any of us in his service is if we come to know
that we are, in ourselves, powerless. I’m going to put a link to the the whole essay
he wrote on that topic in the description, because it’s
counter-intuitive and it’s kind of mind-blowing. And I guess in that way
it’s similar to to what we read in the in the New Testament where all our ideas
about how things work get turned upside down. Thanks for watching, check out our
website, — we have a ton of resources there that I think you’ll find
interesting — and then of course please subscribe to this YouTube channel.

Cesar Sullivan

2 thoughts on “When Human Progress Harms Relationships (Bruderhof Minute)

  1. It’s so true that our „powers“ block human relationships! Take google-maps on a smartphone: yes, you do find places much quicker, but you also miss all the sweet encounters with new people you would usually ask for the way!
    There obviously so many good things to modern development, but there also a lot of dangers!

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