Wednesday, October 18, 2006

(Divine) Authority

What do popular books like the Da Vinci Code and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series reveal about this culture? They are cultural tips of icebergs, pointing to greater realities beneath the surface. They tap into popular feelings about religion. They show what this culture thinks about religion.

One theme in both books is a menancing kind of 'church.' They shows attitudes of deep distrust towards churches and particularly the Roman Catholic Church. Why? There is a deep distrust in our culture to religious authority and hierarchy (and there is no better example of that than Catholicism). We live in a democratic society and yet church can seem stuck in medieval hierarchies. How can church survive in a democratic culture?

But this goes deeper than polity. This goes right to the nature of God. Can the idea of the God King survive in a democratically minded culture? Can divine authority, power, lordship, even parenthood possibly be acceptable in today's western society? Are these ideas necessary doctrines of God, or ones which we should do away with?

Mission is the process of making your faith understandable and desirable to the surrounding culture. We've forgotten how to do this in the west. But it's something that must be done.

Perhaps we need to talk more loudly about a powerless God, a God that does not require worship and the lauding of honours, but is Friend and Guide, helping us empower ourselves.

Perhaps we need to talk more loudly about the fact that the Unitarian Church democratically elects its leaders. Perhaps this is the most amazing thing about the Unitarian Church.

We must keep thinking about these sorts of things.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Emerson Avenger said...

Perhaps we need to recognize that it is God's prerogative to decide how God exercises any divine authority, power, lordship, etc. regardless of whether or not it is acceptable in today's western society?

:Are these ideas necessary doctrines of God, or ones which we should do away with?

Even if one does away with certain doctrines this will have absolutely no impact on the nature and divine attributes and authority of God.

Human beings can't vote God out of existence or change God's nature.

3:28 am  

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