Jesus' whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God's love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.
Our love for children is so immediate in part because we feel their powerlessness immediately; conversely, part of the way we deny our love for men is by denying men's powerlessness. Too often we have confused love for men with respect for them, especially for their power to take care of us---which is really just love for ourselves.
As I looked more carefully at the listening matrix I saw that during the past twenty years we had taken a magnifying glass to the first of these four quadrants, the female experience of powerlessness. I saw I was subconsciously making a false assumption: The more deeply I understood women's experience of powerlessness, the more I assumed men had the power women did not have. In fact, what I was understanding was the female experience of male power.
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