#0005 A cultural rift in the Church (part V)
So far in this series on the cultural rift in the church, we have been giving a lot of air time to a group on just one side of the rift. Members of this group are ones who whole-heartedly embrace religious doctrines and view their God through the lens of this doctrine. In the last post we observed that their doctrinally-framed God has become so solidified in their collective religious psyches that they are unable to differentiate the image of the Father of Jesus from the mutant God of the Mosaic Law. They have discovered a way, or found some special welder’s goggles they can wear which enable them to see past the blinding light of Jesus and His teachings about love. With these they can peer way back into the distant past and single out from everything there, just a few Old Testament scriptures; the most vivid and notable of these is Leviticus 20:13. So effective are the goggles at screening out bright light, the wearers are in danger of losing their ability to see light altogether. But it’s those on the other side of the rift, in the other group I wish to talk about today.
In Part III of this series I began to describe the type of people who would be included in this group. From a group standpoint they are harder to spot because they don’t often (if ever) run in the same circles and don’t brandish any particular sort of identification or label. They aren’t subscribers of creeds and codes like the denominational types from the other group; they are a ragtag bunch in this regard. In the Part III posting I said they might never meet one another except at such events relating to peace and justice issues or the like. These are people who don’t rely on laws and doctrines to get a sense for the way of things—they have a nose for right and wrong. When a pro-action occurs such as the SCOTUS ruling to legalize gay marriages nationwide; these folks not only are okay with it they are jubilant at the prospect. Those from this group know empathy and they know it’s a 2-way street. They don’t have to evaluate a thing that happens to/for someone else by first vetting it against how it’s going to affect them. They can be happy for and supportive of others—just because it feels good to do. This feeling, this intuition is their compass. And in the event they do come into proximity with others like themselves; there is a divine energy that is generated. It’s inside this energy where God gets manifested. I am going to be talking a lot more about this divine manifestation in future posts.
At this point, some of you readers may be wondering about the logic in the series name: Today there is a cultural rift developing through the middle of the Church…; because on this side of the rift, it doesn’t look like church per se. It’s wasn’t a mistake or an intentional deception on my part—I am using the term Church in the way Jesus referenced it and not in the conventional way church is viewed in modern-day culture. In the larger/Jesus version of the Church all of humanity is included within the body. It’s only in this larger all-inclusive concept of the church do we begin to see what has become skewed within the traditional church. The traditional church is hung on the bones of hierarchy; and no amount of good and sound doctrine can fix an inherent flaw like that. It’s only if and when people perceive and internalize the convolutedness of using a hierarchical frame inside a Jesus skin can we even begin to see where the actual problems are. And as long as the existing Christian culture continues to view everything through the doctrinal lens, humanity will remain gridlocked on the important social issues like gay rights. Hierarchal systems of governance are so commonplace in today’s world; and this very same system or framework has been used for organizing and operating religious denominational groups for centuries. We see a tiered priesthood in the Catholic Church and other facsimiles of same in all the other denominations as well. This arrangement is hierarchy. Doctrine has even splayed God into a hierarchy in its doctrinally-skewed teachings about the Trinity. The Father is at the top and in descending order of importance comes the Son, and in last place, The Holy Ghost. The Catholics have added to this list with the likes of Mother Mary, Peter and the other saints. On the surface the concept of hierarchy seems pretty innocuous; but when you gaze into the past and see its history, it begins to show its true colors. The feudal system and slavery are two primitive, yet fairly recent forms of hierarchy. The basic hierarchical layout is: one person on top and a tiered arrangement of middle managing subordinates sitting under him; and finally sitting on the bottom are those who must be managed. The specific reason why the people on the bottom tier need to be managed differs; but the incentive is always the same: money and or power for those above. The higher one rises in a hierarchy, the more money and power they get.
In the more rudimentary hierarchies, such as the ones just mentioned, the methods of inducement used to manage the underlings are basic things like fear, pain, loss and death. Today more sophisticated and less obvious inducements are used; these involve a variety of coercions and indoctrinations that are carefully crafted and put into place by those sitting in top-tiered positions. The most affective of this type of inducement is the one dressed up like something everyone involved with it want to be a part of—even those at the bottom. There is something going on that keeps everyone engaged, productive and motivated to make the enterprise bigger and stronger. Meanwhile, out of sight we see a carnival barker pumping levers, throwing switches and speaking into a microphone in a grocery store PA announcement tone of voice…“Never mind that man behind the curtain!” In this version, Dorothy and company take his advice—he grows richer and more powerful, Lion remains a coward…and Dorothy never makes it back to Kansas.