AnonymousDeleted UserNovember 4, 2020 at 4:15 pm
Harper’s definition of dominion is new to me. In my experience, more progressive Christians tend to shy away from the concept of exercising dominion over the earth found in Genesis because it has been used by more conservative Christians as a justification for exploiting the earth’s resources and being bad stewards of the environment. However, Harper turns this on its head by claiming that dominion “equalizes power.” It reminds me of a distinction that the witch Starhawk makes – there is power-over, which is used to to control and exploit others, and there is power-with, which is used to support and empower others.
There are countless negative examples of exercising dominion in our world. An apt example is the religious or cult leader who uses their power to manipulate and control others. This is a perversion of dominion which uses people’s desire to be a part of something good – community, charity, self-improvement – and manipulates them to become tools of evil instead. On the other hand, we have the examples of good leaders of faith communities who take people’s desire to be a part of something good and empowers them to be able to do more good together than they could apart. For me one of the important distinctions between these negative and positive uses of dominion is the willingness to share power with others. Exclusively hoarding power goes against Harper’s definition of dominion. I think this is a good lesson for those of us who aspire to be faith leaders and exercise dominion in a good and healthy way – we must always be willing to share power with others.