The Paradox of Power: From Control to Compassion


Drawing from real-life examples as well as theory, this treatise explores the potential for inspiration and wisdom that resides in power and demonstrates how the creative energy of power can heal and invigorate  relationships, marriages, and families, and benefit larger organizations such as corporations, churches, and even nations. For the citizens of a political economy and country like the United States, or members of the faith community of the Roman Catholic Church, issues related to ...

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Drawing from real-life examples as well as theory, this treatise explores the potential for inspiration and wisdom that resides in power and demonstrates how the creative energy of power can heal and invigorate  relationships, marriages, and families, and benefit larger organizations such as corporations, churches, and even nations. For the citizens of a political economy and country like the United States, or members of the faith community of the Roman Catholic Church, issues related to the negative use of power, such as control and repression, have dominated the discussion. The destructive manifestations and consequences of power are critiqued in the early chapters of this book. In subsequent chapters the forgotten aspects of power—its positive influences on families, communities and organizations—are discussed. In addition, the guide presents a vision of a Trinitarian God that can be applied to all relationships, whether personal, communal, or collective.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824524708
  • Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,160,927
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael H. Crosby belongs to the Midwest Province of the Capuchin Franciscans and holds a masters in economics, an STL, and a PhD in theology. He writes and speaks about biblical spirituality, and he actively participates in the corporate responsibility movement. He is the author several books, including the Catholic Press Award-winning Can Religious Life Be Prophetic? and Finding Francis, Following Christ. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Table of Contents

The Power Chart 8 Preface 11 The Origin of This Book 11 How to Read This Book 13
1 Power as the Force of Energy at the Heart of All That Is 17 Power as Relational Energy 19 Power as Relational Energy Connecting Us to All in the Universe 22 Power as the Ability to Influence Others in Our Relationships 24 The Interconnectedness of Power at All Levels 25
2 God's Power at the Heart of the World: The Gospel of Power 28 Mark's Gospel: The Confrontation of Jesus' Power with That of the Authorities 29 Matthew's Gospel: The Empowering of Jesus' Disciples for "the Whole World" 31 Paul's Letters: Grace as God's Empowering Energy at Work in the World 33 The Letter to the Galatians Offering Scriptural Insights for the Power Chart 35
3 The Positive and Negative Constituents of Power 38 The Human Condition as the Conflict over Power as Control or Power as Care 38 Energizing and Empowering Power 41 De-Energizing and Overpowering Power 42 The Nonneutrality of Power 44
4 The Dynamics of Control 46 The Role of Fear 48 The Manipulability of Our Fears 49 The Role of Intimidation 52 The Role of "Control Freaks" 53
5 Why More of Us Are Abusers Than We'd Like to Admit 55 The Overpowering Quality of Some Personalities 56
"The Wounds of Words" 57 The Overpowering Effect of Some Social Arrangements 59 The Role of Denial and Delusion in Sustaining Abuse 61
6 Destructive Dynamics Fueled by Anger 63 The Causes of Anger 63 Anger as Rage 65 Anger as Revenge 66 Anger as Resentment 67 Anger as Passive-Aggressiveness 68 Whose "Problem" Is the Problem? 69
7 Conflict: Its Sources and Debilitating Dynamics 71 The First Source of Conflict: The Need to Control 73 A Second Sourceof Conflict: Misunderstandings 74 A Key Source of Conflict among Groups: Unequal Power Relationships 75
8 Violence in Our Lives, Groups, and World 77 Cultural Violence 78 Institutionalized Violence 80 Violence as Unjustifiable 80 Violence as Sinful 81 Religiously Sanctioned Violence 84
9 Recognizing the Need to Change Our Way of Relating in Our Use of Power 87 The Decision to Change the Way We Use Power in Our Personal Relationships 88 Correction without Care Is Control 91 What Adult Have You Ever Changed? 92 The Dynamics That Lead Us to Change the Way We Use Power 93
10 The Constituents of Care 96 Who/What Can Care? 96 Acknowledging the Overpowering Role of Fear in Our Relationships 97 Care: The Minimum Requirement of All Constructive Relationships 99 Grounding All Power Relationships in Care via Mutual Affirmation and Correction 100 The Freedom to Be and to Grow in Trust 102 The Connection between Care and Justice 107
11 Signs of Healthy Relationships 109 Addressing the Main Obstacles to a Healthy Society 109 The Connection between Healthy Individuals and Groups and Their Wider World 111 Becoming Self-Defined and Self-Directed 112 Healthy Relationships as Energized by Care 113 Healthy Relationships with Self and Others Creating Wellness 115
12 Constructing Relationships That Channel Anger in Positive Ways 118 The Practice of Mindfulness 119 The Practice of Patience 121 The Practice of Passion 122 The Practice of Zeal 125
13 Moving from Conflicts to Collaboration 126 Collaboration: The Antidote of Competition 127 Collaborate or Die 128 Conflict Management or Conflict Resolution? 130 The Steps to Conflict Resolution 131 The Steps to Collaboration 133 Collaboration between Parents and Children and Other Traditionally Unequal Power Groups 135 Collaboration: The Empowering Care of a Successful Leader 137
14 The Power of Nonviolence 138 The Bad Rap about Nonviolence 138 Becoming Convinced That Nonviolence Is a More Effective Way of Using Power 139 Nonviolence and the Power of Gentleness 140 Nonviolent Truth-Telling 143 Other Ways of Nonviolence 145
15 The Recipe for Making Peace 148 Making Peace with Ourselves 149 Making Peace in Our Groups and Families 152 Recipes for Peace amid Cultural Differences 153 Justice in Our Structures: No Peace without Right Relations 155
16 Growing in Love 159 The Nature of Love 160 Nurturing Self-Love 161 Creating Relationships That Nurture Love 163
"Where There Is Hatred, Let Me Sow Love" 165 The "Canticle of Love" as a Commitment Not Just for Newlyweds 166 Are We "Wired" for Love? 167
17 Universal Compassion: The Consequence of a Commitment to Care 169 Compassion: The Consequence of Living a Life of Genuine Care 170 The Objects of Compassion 172 The Components of a Compassionate Life 173 Removing the Obstacles to Authentic Compassion 175 The Goal of Compassion: Universal Care for All in the Universe 177 Notes 179
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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Affirming and challenging!

    This book challenged me to look at myself and my own use of power, both negatively and positively. At the same time, it articulated & affirmed my own thoughts about abuses of power in government, business, interpersonal relationships and most especially in the Roman Catholic Church. As a vowed and ordained religious in the the Catholic Church, Crosby speaks as an insider - one who clearly loves the Church enough to speak the Truth and challenge us to be more authentically the "I am" that is each of us, and the "I am" we are collectively.
    Crosby assumes the reader is at least somewhat familiar with Catholic biblical interpretation, but other than that, the book is very clear and understandable.
    His is a prophetic voice, and one that all of us can benefit from hearing.

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