#0082 The Holy Ghost needs lots and lots of elbow room
Link relevant to today’s posting…
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Luke 6: 37-42 (NIV)
Today’s posting is an excerpt from the book I am currently working on. This article looks at the difference between an hierarchy-based community and a community which is NOT hierarchy-based; this type of community would utilize concepts and principals of egalitarianism. The reason I wanted to talk about this is because, although Jesus’s message was filled with elements of the egalitarian principal, the Church continues to operate within the well-worn hierarchical structure, embracing and pushing its principles. Theoretically and practically speaking these two concepts are in no small way polar opposites. So at the end of the day, the message of hierarchy runs against the grain of the message of egalitarianism—in other words the Church is poised to and does operate in opposition to the message of Jesus.
Hierarchy v. egalitarian-based communities
Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning “equal”)—or, rarely, equalitarianismor equalism—is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English: either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights; or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Egalitarianism)
GIn the above definition of the term “egalitarianism” I would also like to include spiritual rights to the above (emboldened) list. To describe a group or community who’s able to function within parameters as described above (with some level of success) I’ve coined the term “egalitariate” and have included it in the glossary. The reason I feel it’s necessary to add spiritual rights to the list of rights for individuals is because that right or freedom within the confines of congregations has been, for the most part, overlooked under the existing Christian paradigm. The function of the doctrine and priesthood essentially overshadows even the notion of the individual’s freedom to explore and exercise their own spirituality. By spirituality I’m not referring to the catalogued belief environment in which od is placed; I’m talking about an intuitive conceptualization or relationship with Him. In place of this potential for openings of intimate channels between the worshiper and God there exists a prevalence of doctrines and practices affiliated with each of the different denominations. These doctrines and practices are little more than cut-n-paste applications designed to create the illusion that something of a high spiritual significance is actually happening between the auspicious officials of the Church on the one side and God on the other. The priest/minister’s role in this paradigm is to interpret for the parishioners/congregants what that something is and what meaning it holds for them as passive members of the church. The more devout or dedicated to the church parishioners/congregants become the greater the likelihood is that they’ve immersed themselves in the system to the extent where they have given up their right to pursue a meaningful personal journey towards God. Although they believe their devotion is towards God their ability to perceive Him, apart from the church and its doctrines and practices, evades them; their reality is they’ve become assimilated into the Church’s hierarchical structure. When they are witnessing to people outside of their own denominational circle about God—how much He means to them and so on—they are actually presenting mostly the Church’s denominational image of Him rather than an accurate representation of their own views and walk with Him. Like it or not; this is the natural ramification of a community that operates within a hierarchical structure. The natural flow of the Holy Ghost is dramatically impacted as it gets diverted or choked off altogether.
Whenever Jesus talked about the Kingdom, He was referring to a community wherein the Holy Ghost functioned with lots and lots of elbowroom. In Jesus’s concept of the Kingdom of God the free flow of the Holy Ghost within the structure of the community of believers is all-important. The egalitarian component, among other things, is an absolute must. The idea of an egalitarian community in the Church is not a new one and it’s not something I am conjuring up to win people over to my side of the argument. In the early days after Jesus ascended into heaven, His followers found themselves in a mad scramble to reestablish their bearings and get a handle on what all He had meant to them; who He was and to find ways of carrying on without Him. In the New Testament, as the books are laid out, the one that comes after the four gospels is the Book of Acts. This book covers the early period of struggles within the community of believers at large and one of the things they were strapped with deciding was what kind of a structure they should adapt in order to keep the “love thy neighbor” ball up in the air that Jesus seemed to be so adamant and unwavering about.
If you have a question or thought about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. Thanks for reading.
TBC: Sunday, April 17, 2016