As we plan for the Global Gathering 2017, one of our goals is to create conversations that will allow us to discuss our positions of "privilege", whether it be racial, economic, political, academic, etc. We have developed the theme “Create Justice: Sacrifice Privilege” based on the thinking that our privileges are not meant for us to use for our own good. They are not meant for the furthering and development of our own resumes, portfolios, or egos while we live in a world where certain privileges belong to some and not to others. Instead, we must find ways to sacrifice privileges for the sake of the Kingdom of God where they can be used, and in the end, those privileges may need to be completely done away with for the sake of others.
We believe this sacrificing privilege to be an essential part of the life of those who follow Jesus.
In Jesus, we find a man - completely human - that is God, but in becoming a human being, he sacrificed his privilege for the sake of the mission of God. Philippians 2: 5-11 says it best:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus sacrificed the greatest of all privileges and in doing so, was able to live the most amazing human life ever recorded in history - healing the sick, feeding the hungry, giving sight to the blind, releasing the captives, and proclaiming the largest cancellation of debt the world has ever seen.
Paul was arguably the greatest sharer of the good news recorded in history, a man of great privilege - he was well educated, a citizen of Rome, Greek, and was held in the highest esteem in his religion. After an encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, this same Paul, that had been Saul, immediately sacrificed his privilege of high esteem within his religion. He became the “enemy of the state” of the religious institution to which he had dedicated his entire life.
"In Jesus, we find a man - completely human - that is God, but in becoming a human being, he sacrificed his privilege for the sake of the mission of God."
In the following years of his life, he would do the same with his other privileges, but in a very different manner. He sacrificed the privilege of his education - no longer using it for his gain or for the development of his religion or the upward mobility within a power structure - but using it to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. And when faced with death, he utilized his Roman citizenship, leading to his journey to Rome. In sacrificing privilege, Paul gave up his life.
Thus, in the context of serving and building alongside families in the Yucatan Peninsula, we will seek to find answers about what it means for us to follow the ways of Jesus, like Paul and Mother Theresa and William Wilberforce and Ella Baker and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez have. To “Sacrifice Privilege” and utilize everything about us - not for our own good - but for the good others.
How will you sacrifice your privileges?