Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"spiritual leader deontology"

* each time i say church, i am referring to the insitution, not the body of believers

it has come to my attention over the course of my involvment in the church that there is a system in order to be placed in a position of "spiritual leadership" in the church. according to this system the potential "spiritual leader" must have specific aspects of their life together in order to really be a "spiritual leader". for instance - they must be respected, must look respectable, must act a certain way at a certain time - being crazy and wild is a privelege, and is permitted on certain occasions. age and maturity are relevant, they dictate how "ready" the prospective leader is. "leaders" are permitted, however, to have certain aspects of their life out of order, but must always present an image of "togetherness". this, herein shall be known as the spiritual leader deontology.

my grievances with this deontology (set of rules) are as follows: it is inaccessible, and un-Christ-like. it ignores the universal brokenness of humanity and demands an image of togetherness, it follows the lifeboat theory of rating the significance (or in this scenario, "readiness") of human beings. it looks at things like age, and appearance as markers of a human's qualities - causing more stereotyping and human judgement (something Jesus was a victim of). it builds on to the religious system by creating more laws (another thing Jesus argued against - he fought against the religious system by saying that love fulfills all laws).

if we look at peter, he by no means had everything together. i'm a big fan of peter, his life serves to comfort me. many times did he screw up. i mean, he denied his relationship with Jesus. after Jesus died, he went straight back to his nets to go fishing, Jesus finds him in the same place where he was before, and then invites him to come back to serving him. peter then screws up countless times afterward, he gets his thinking wrong with the whole "should christians be circumcised?" argument, and goes around preaching the wrong thing - paul corrects him - but peter continues to make mistakes. i know if anyone were to deny peter the title of "spiritual leader" they would be quickly corrected by the church. why then does the church follow such a deontology of rating people? it may not be written, but is definitely experienced in any church circle i've ever encountered. with respect to age, paul's exact words are "never let anyone look down on you because you are young", so if we look down on young people, prohibit them from being a "spiritual leader" as such...

i like the way donald miller describes the bible, and following Jesus. he talks about it as free verse. throughout the bible we have poems in between chapters, showing the emotion of the experience of following Jesus. we don't encounter rules, but love, something that is free. Jesus laughed and cried, and he was disruptive. he broke religious laws, and said "love each other" to put in to place these rules around being a "spiritual leader" or "minister" is denying that.

i have two answers to the question of "why must we jump through hoops to be in these positions?"

the first is slightly more educated, the second, is childish.

#1. the church is run by humans - broken, fallen individuals
#2. religion is stupid.

+ i take comfort in the fact that the church isn't in charge of who is a minister or spiritual leader. i may have grievances with the system, but because of Jesus, i am no longer bound by any system of faith. the second we follow him, we are made ministers and leaders.

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