Seminarian leaves the power struggles of academia for a life of service in community

Charles Moore

Charles Moore 1956 –

Charles was studying and teaching philosophy and theology at Denver Seminary when it dawned on him that a lot of what goes on in academia has less to do with the attainment of truth than with the desire for power. 

One of the things I often pondered as a young Christian was that no matter the setting – politics, business, the academy, wherever – people seemed driven by the need to be in control and to exercise authority. In the secular world, that’s a given. But what alarmed me was how this mentality had infiltrated the religious groups and fellowships I was part of. How did this square with Jesus, I wondered? The Jesus who said he came to serve, who washed his disciples’ feet and told us to wash one another’s feet?

He eventually left the seminary and, in 1982, he and his wife, Leslie, founded an inner-city community in Denver, where they lived in solidarity with the poor. But they were still not satisfied. A decade later, they discovered and joined the Bruderhof. As Charles explains:

At the Bruderhof, I found a society where relationships are not based on power and privilege, but on love. Leslie and I found people who talked about the importance of dismantling personal power, and treated one another as brothers and sisters. 

Human nature is human nature. A drive for personal power can reappear in community life. We are not immune from that, so we have to keep reminding ourselves that to be a servant to others in a spirit of love is freedom. Power enslaves us. It separates us and keeps us from being who we truly are.

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