The Politics of Privilege

I’ve just guest-posted over on the Political Theology blog, on the subject of the politics of privilege:

Privilege is a powerful reality in our social, civic, and political life. As our eyes are opened to its dynamics (a good sign of being privileged is that we generally don’t have to think about it), we can see the effects of privilege and the perspectives that typically accompany it in every area of our existence. Whether the privileges in question arise from race, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, class, education, age, physical ability, or some other factor or combination of factors, we need to become aware of the advantages that we enjoy over others, often merely by virtue of the accident of birth. These are all ways in which we habitually take confidence in the flesh, being assured that we will be given a hearing, that we will fit in, that we will enjoy security and safety, that we won’t suffer lack.

Reading Paul’s account is a challenge to the privileged—a challenge to us. It is a challenge to discover what it might mean for us to conform our relationship to our privilege to that of Christ. As in the case of Paul and Christ, our privilege may not be something that we can simply give up—Paul never ceased to have a privileged Jewish background and Christ never ceased to have the privilege of equality with God. However, being conformed to Christ entails a radical transformation in our attitude towards and exercise of our privilege.

Like Paul, we are called to recognize our privilege, the ways that we are accustomed to taking confidence in the flesh. And then, rather than boasting in and pursuing this confidence, we are to become servants like our Master, taking the path of the cross. What does being conformed to Christ look like for someone possessing our privilege? Living out the answer to this question is our Christian vocation.

Read the whole thing here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Culture, Ethics, Guest Post, NT, Philippians, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

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