Archive for September, 2007

On Authority – Part 3

Monday, September 17th, 2007

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on my thinking about the subject of spiritual authority. If you are just beginning to read on the subject and are interested, check out part 1 and part 2. In the final installment of this series, I will attempt to determine what ideal spiritual authority is.

After surveying the disaster of spiritual authority that I saw all around me, I set about trying to understand what good authority might look like. I began at once to wonder if spiritual anarchy was the way to govern a religious movement. I quickly dismissed this after a small amount of thought – in my experience, it was a humble leader, whose authority came only from his/her adherence to a moral/scholarly standard external to themselves that got things moving. Any movement gains momentum though a charismatic champion devoted to some cause external to themselves. This seems true of a religious movement as well.

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On Authority – Part 2

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Last week, I talked about the dangerous of a spiritual community with unaccountable authorities and blindly obedient followers. I also mentioned that I attended a church like this and had to wrangle with this problem. So in this second of a three part post, I will continue to discuss these issues and my responses.

After leaving the first of many churches with bad leadership, I remember facing the struggle of thinking of religion as an evil thing- a tool for corrupt men to control the emotional and relational lives of the people under them. But in the end, even though the pain of loosing friends and a time of intense anger, the only thing that I decided was hopelessly flawed was church, not God.

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On Authority

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Two months ago, I decided to write on the topic of spiritual authority. As soon as I decided to do this, I realized that I have never talked to a single person who did not have a strong opinion about it in either a negative or positive sense. Because of this, I apologize in advance if this is something that has been beaten to death in the the course of your readings on the internet. My intention in this post is not to rant on about how much I dislike spiritual authority, or how badly it has been abused throughout history, but just to voice my honest attempt to understand it from my experiences. In addition to this warning, if you have never had problems with church or other religious authority, what I am going to say will probably not make sense, or worse make me sound like a person who hates authority because he is selfish. You would probably be better off not reading on because it will not be productive. But to everyone else, hopefully you’ll find my musings interesting, and if you are willing, to leave your own thoughts in the comments.

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