Power Greater than Ourselves . . .


Only those who go through something of Calvary and of the descent into hell, not alone but in solidarity with Christ who has been there, can find that life which comes through deliverance from the captivity of the false self.

Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified, p. 83, Cowley Publications.

The above is a quote I have remembered for a long time.  Kenneth Leech is a radical Anglican priest of sorts who writes a lot of theology that I don’t understand – and I am not really certain I understand the above quote, but here is how I take it –

I have posted before about my very poorly defined concept of religion/God.  I recollect well the night I checked myself into detox instead of going out after work and getting wasted.  It was a complete surrender to Step One of AA “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.”  Coupled with a prayer/petition on the evening to be relieved of my drug obsession as I began down the road of Step Two “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

After all these years, I still rebel at folks who want to tell me what that “power greater than ourselves” is.  For me today, that “power greater than ourselves” is best defined as a “power greater than ourselves” and I leave it pretty much at that.  As someone raised in the Christian tradition, I am comfortable with a lot of the mechanics, ritual, and moral philosophy ascribed as such, but wear that like a pretty loose garment.  My relationship to Christianity is more a byproduct of where I was born and my cultural background.

But what I get most from the Leech quote above has little relevance to the brand of religion that one practices.  Rather quote speaks of the true and visceral understanding of the need for surrender to the false self and the resurrection of the true self, made in God’s image.  One of my favorite rabbinic sayings is that when a child walks down the street angels walk before and after saying “Make way for the image of God” – that to me is discovery and living into the true self in recovery.

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