Monday, January 7, 2013

WHY CRITICIZE A SYSTEM AND NOT PEOPLE?

approximate reading time: 5.5 to 6.5 minutes

Besides feeling the need to define how I use language, it was also brought to my attention that I perhaps needed to clarify why I am set on criticizing a System and not the people that actually run the system.  This is my attempt to clarify that before I publish my criticism of the Church.  

My Weak Manifesto:
To be clear when I use the word "Church" it is by and large the synonym for the word "System".  Further yet it is the Doctrines of Original Sin & Salvation that I see  driving the System/the Church that I find myself unable to support any longer.  As I have said before, this is my personal view and interpretation pulled from the puzzle pieces that make up my own story - using language as a tool - that I am trying to express and by no means is all there is to say on the subject.  I have been given the right to "bind and loose" on Earth as I see fit from the Divine Itself...and this is my attempt at that "binding and loosing" the best that I can as of today as I seek to set captives free from doctrine I feel is holding people in oppression within their own minds, enslaving them to be eternal children unable to cope and live in a world of greys.

A SYSTEM
Someone recently clued me into an obvious theory of psychology I had been missing.  The theory of systems.  Briefly put, systems run things...like our digestive system, our nervous system, our skeletal system.  We do not always understand the system, nor can we see it or fully control it, but it is there.  One thing about any system is that it always seeks what has become homeostasis within that body over a period of time.

Definition of homeostasis: The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, esp. as maintained by physiological processes.

This homeostasis might not actually be healthy for the body in the long term (i.e. the addiction to alcohol)...but this is how the body has been taught to operate in a dysfunctional pattern of homeostasis. 

Definition of dysfunctional: Not operating normally or properly; Deviating from the norms of social behavior in a way regarded as bad.

The same theory of systems can be applied to our outside world.  We have Family systems, where everyone in the family is assigned a designated role: the father, the mother, the eldest, the middle child, the youngest.  The rescuer, the fixer, the rager, the alcoholic, the co-dependent, the abuser, the abused, the parent, the child.  The System always seeks to bring "order" so things can run as they have always run...even if that homeostasis is a dysfunctional one.

The same theory of systems can be applied to our outside world.  We have Cultural systems, where everyone in the culture is assigned a designated role: the leader, the follower, the worker, the drifter, the thief, the lowly, the rich, the poor.  The man, the woman, the old, the youth, the right, the wrong.  The System always seeks to run as it has always run...even if that homeostasis is a dysfunctional one.

The same theory of systems can be applied to our outside world.  We have Religious systems, where everyone in the Religion and even outside the Religion is assigned a designated role: the pastor, the elder, the lay people, the prayers, the sinners, the helpless, the hopeless, the black sheep, the prodigals, the saints, the church ladies.  The Children, the Ins, the Outs, the Holy, the Enemies, the Others.  The system always seeks to run as it has always run...even if that homeostasis is not in the best interest of those within the system.

The sum Power of a System is greater than it's individual parts.  I believe it is Paul that alludes to this in his famous writings about the Body of the Church.

True, people make up a System.  However, so that you know where I am coming from in the next couple of writings...so that you can use your "listening" skills in order to hopefully be able to see why I am criticizing the System we are all part of, I need to define this the best that I can:

My gripe, my criticism is with what the foundation of the System has become...and that is the addition and interpretation of Doctrine that I feel has become a way to hold/yield power over others in attempt to maintain the dysfunctional homeostasis within the System of the Church.

I wish to God that I could just walk out the doors of the Church and not even go down this route... I really do.  But there is something in me that won't allow me to do that.  Something that has been stirred by what I have seen and what I have experienced that wishes to be shared.  Something that drives me on past all the hurt and injustice I have suffered at the hands of the System inflicted by people who are, in my book, enslaved and oppressed by the System.

It is the same "something" I see in the person that we call our Savior, in whom we place our blame, in whom has become our Scapegoat.

That "something" that drives me on: Love for my fellow human.

HAVE I ACTUALLY BEEN HURT BY ANY ONE PERSON IN THE CHURCH?
The answer to this question is no.  I can honestly say this.  I have no personal gripe with any one person, or pastor or other player that is seeking to serve the Divine within the Church.    Sure I might get momentarily heated - and like many - say things that I wish I hadn't said or do things I wish I hadn't done.  Yet, in the end, when I remember the things that I say in this post...I can say the answer to this question is no.

By the time you are done with this post, I pray you will see where I am coming from...not from where you think I am coming from or where you would like me to be coming from...but from where I am coming from with my message.

I wish with all my might that you reading this could hear the inflection, the tone in my voice...the love I wish to fully express behind this comment, the body language that is open and embracing all at the same time.

So please, as you read this again...please imagine that I am earnestly saying these words with all the Love I can muster up through this keyboard that I sit at:

"I do not hate or blame or wish to defame ANYONE for anything they have done to try to serve the Divine within the Church to the best of their own revelations and ability.   My goal, my attempts at expressing my thoughts is NOT to attack people nor their beliefs nor their god.
My simple wish is to
challenge, much like I see Jesus challenging his fellow brothers and sisters, the thought process that ANYTHING should be placed above Love.  I wish to challenge ANYTHING that stands in the way of Love, of ANYTHING that keeps us from acting justly, from loving mercy and from walking humbly with the Divine." 

I admit this has just become clear to me in a conversation via a fallout with a friend.  I tried to express this to a pastor I respect in the Church...but didn't until just yesterday have the understanding nor the words of why I felt this way.  Sometimes clarity works that way.  Maybe a little too late for a couple of relationships...but hopefully in time to help others understand where I am coming from and why I feel led to say the things I say.

"FATHER FORGIVE THEM"
As I have healed and learned to integrate my past into my present, learning how to forgive has been critical.  I think it is a basic human need to try to understand another person and where that person is coming from in order to be able to do the WORK of forgiveness.

For me, I have found that when I focus on the hurt I have suffered at the hands of people in my life...two things happen:
1) My internal defenses to survive go up and
2) My ability to love shuts down.

When this happens inside the soul, how is the true redeeming work of forgiveness produced?  For me, it was not possible.  For me, this only produced more hate and finger pointing and bitterness both inside and outside of me.

Yet, when I was able to learn to take a step back and put myself in some one else's shoes...to see that perhaps they did something because that was what they were taught - both implicitly and explicitly - by their family, their culture, their society, their religious upbringing....well that is when I can place my right to be angry on those "teachings" versus the person.

If you will - this is like the Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement.  In order to save myself and the person that has done me harm from the build up of energy expressed as anger, fear and the like...I can allow my anger and bitterness and rage to be transferred to an inanimate object - the "teachings" or the "System".  I lay my hands on the "scape goat" so that I can offer the person who has wronged me grace and compassion and mercy in place of my own internal rage.

For me, placing the blame on a System instead of a person allows me to take this step back so I can understand why another has acted out the way they have acted out...and how they might not understand what they are doing is actually causing pain and oppression in the world instead Truth and Freedom.

Perhaps a man dying on a cross who tried to live a life different than the System would have liked him to live...perhaps he understood what I am trying to so feebly attempt to say.  He seemed to understand the plight and the power of a System...and how the System drove people to cast themselves into lots that they themselves didn't even know they were doing..but that they would act out all the same:

"'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' 
And they divided up his clothes by casting lots."
Luke 23:34




2 comments:

  1. Dear Joy,
    Very interesting ideas about systems.
    Have you read Walter Wink's "Engaging the Powers"?
    The institutional Church in Australia has become a system where everything boils down to the lowest common denominator.
    The U.S. is tougher, more aggressive.
    They're so certain.
    Michael E. East.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can say that again about the US church...glad to hear those of you Down Under are fairing better. I have a couple of friends from there and they are the ones that gave me Peter Rollins book "Insurrection". Just one of the many books/ideas that paved the way for my own "insurrection" to take place with my faith... No haven't heard of the book you mentioned. Will add it to my ever growing list of books to read...if I only had about 5 years with nothing else I think I could read all I want!

    ReplyDelete

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