My Soapbox

The gospel at mass this weekend was Mark 1:21-28. In Mark 1:21 it says, “And they went into Capernaum and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” Verse 27 goes on to say, “And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ ”

Jesus spoke and acted with authority and as a result amazing things happened. People took note of him, they listened, they were moved. Even demons were driven out by his authority.

Imagine if we spoke and acted with authority in our discipleship. Would people listen to us? Would they be moved? Could we be agents of change in our world? Metaphorically speaking, could we drive out the demons in our world?

I tried it last week. It didn’t go very well. I was accused of being on my soapbox. That really struck a nerve with me until I thought about it and realized it wasn’t the message that was a turn off, it was the delivery.

The point I was trying to make was about how our out -of- control obsession with, and addiction to, social media is a big factor in the faith crisis we see in the world. Too much noise in our brains and not enough silence. There is no room for connection with God.

I forcefully tried to make my point by stating facts and trying to sound informed, like an authority on the subject. I should have just shared my own stories of how my obsession with my cell phone and Facebook and internet surfing had filled my brain with noise and left no room for God. And how much more peace I know when I curb my obsession and shift my priorities.

That would have been speaking from the kind of authority that people will more likely listen to and be moved by. The authority that comes from our own personal experiences, revelations, and knowledge of God.

No one can argue with a personal testimony of the power of God at work. They can roll their eyes, they can listen stone-faced, they can change the subject, but no one can tell you that your experiences are wrong. Our personal experiences of God, our faith story, become our jurisdiction. That is, the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised.

You might not be a trained theologian or a scripture scholar. You might not be well versed in church doctrine or a walking encyclopedia of who’s who in church history, but if you are on a path of discovery in your faith, if you sincerely are searching and are open to the movements of the Holy Spirit, you have a faith story.

A story that gives you authority. And when exercised, has the potential and power to do amazing things. To make a difference.

To avoid the soapbox, just tell your story. With authority.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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