I’ve been writing about power and its misuse in the church recently. Today I was sorting through my notes and came upon this from Henri Nouwen. He sums the whole topic up perfectly. No further comment necessary.

One of the greatest ironies of the history of Christianity is that its leaders constantly gave in to the temptation of power– political power, military power, economic power, or moral and spiritual power-even though they continued to speak in the name of Jesus, who did not cling to his divine power but emptied himself and became as we are.The temptation to consider power an apt instrument for the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest of all. We keep hearing from others, as well as saying to ourselves, that having power-provided it is used in the service of God and your fellow human beings-is a good thing. With this rationalization, crusades took place; inquisitions were organized; Indians were enslaved; positions of great influence were desired; episcopal palaces, splendid cathedrals, and opulent seminaries were built; and much moral manipulation of conscience was engaged in.

In the Name of Jesus (Page 76)