AnonymousDeleted UserNovember 4, 2020 at 9:29 am
Throughout all of human history, humans have used their God given call to exercise dominion in negative, destructive ways. From colonization of lands and people, forcing them into uniformity of values and lifestyles, and the enslavement of an entire people group based on race, robbing them from their human dignity and God given value, to American police brutalizing individuals and demonstrating their power given by man in racist practices and our treatment and stigmatizing of the unhoused. All of these examples in history and current day practices must be called out and addressed, there must be work done to abolish systems that perpetuate the dehumanization of people and the destruction of our environment. But, I also am challenged to look inward and call out ways in which I actively participate in these systems and how I too actively demonstrate negative examples of exercising dominion in my world.
Recognizing that systems and societies are made up of individuals, I believe it’s critical that we don’t stop at seeing history truthfully, but we can’t stop there. I can’t allow myself to go unexamined and this is much more challenging than calling out the behaviors of others. When I look inward I immediately think of the ways I may have manipulated people in my life, the way I have had resentment towards the people around me when I have extended my time and energy and emotional capacity to them without anything in return. (I’m very much a 2!!). I also look at my children and how I want to control their behavior and make sure that they APPEAR to be well behaved, instead of loving and embracing who they are and guiding them to who God is inviting them to be. I also think of how I’ve treated my body, demonstrating hate for it and not treating it with the love and kindness our physical bodies need to be nourished and whole. While these demonstrations of dominion might not be as systemically harmful, I do think individual demonstrations of harmful dominion perpetuate systems and societies that are harmful and destructive.
In many ways, 2020 and the restrictions of COVID have helped illuminate to me ways in which I can exercise dominion in more meaningful ways, although I wouldn’t have used those words to describe what I’ve learned until now. I see myself and our family making decisions with a greater community in mind. We often find ourselves asking “who does this impact and how?”, it’s a much more common aspect of our daily lives. If I can etch this question into my heart and pause to practice it with every decision I make, expanding it’s application to nearly every area of my life, I think I would be closer to practicing the “radah” that God intended.