One week ago, I published an article entitled, “Hard questions I ask myself about hierarchy and institutions.” In it, I deliberately challenged the energy behind so much post-modern and progressive resistance to or rejection of hierarchies and institutions per se. I suggested that self-examination is necessary to discern the degree to which our kicking at the powers is rooted in a spirit of ambition, a history of wounding or the deeper problem of self-will. I identified in some measure with all three and issued heart-felt cautions regarding the perils of ‘gung-ho gurus’ and ‘one-generation faith.’
I chose to pause a full week so that the self-reflection about these themes could begin its good work in me and perhaps some readers. Holy Week is, after all, a time for death of false-selves (or the 'flesh' as the Apostle Paul would say). My hope is that where those internal and external dangers have been exposed, we will give adequate time and energy to discerning them, though that is only the first step in a much longer journey.
Now I’d like to offer part 2 to that discussion—a more difficult set of questions because, as with part 1, the people who tend to appropriate and apply them are often the last folks who should. That is, when we put the brakes on dismissing hierarchy and institution too easily, who listens? Too often, it is the most compliant, the most submissive, those most vulnerable to spiritual abuse or domestic violence, etc. Those who most need to question hierarchy and institution are frequently prepared to endure their most abusive forms for too long.
So too with this follow-up piece. I am about to suggest a kind of transcendence of hierarchy, an awakening that summons some to let go and move on. But I’m loath to do so because, again, those who most need to learn submission and surrender will instinctively be first to grab hold of what's coming as a license to run amok in self-will. Meanwhile, those who would derive most benefit are more likely to find the implications worrisome for the same reasons I do.