Monday, January 04, 2016

Neither slave nor free.

So, I got around to thinking about the problem of the Master / Slave dialectic in relation to church life.

Probably originating with Hegel (at some point when I've become a higher being I'll try to understand what he wrote.....), Master / Slave ideas have been hugely influential.

In summary: people find it easier and even essential to become either a master or a slave when encountering an Other. Ultimately, this gets things all rotten. Slave is downtrodden. Master is isolated. Slave despises and inwardly turns against Master, who in turn gets dependent on slave. Messy. You can see how this might work in employer / employee relations but it's not hard to see in marriages, friendships, family dynamics, EVERYWHERE!

In church life, I came up with various examples. We might look to our leaders to give us answers and manage our spiritual lives. Or read the bible looking for 'infallible' instruction. Sometimes, we claim some have less right to power (women; homosexuals). We may even talk about an all-powerful Father who sacrificed a compliant Son. Our prayers can sound as if they are addressed to a cosmic genie of the lamp.

I know that coming up with these grand accusations is easy to do and not really the point. In perhaps the most important sense, I am the church. Therefore, in keeping with new yearly resolve, I shall endeavour to do my part and struggle against this stuff, refusing the bushel and expecting to be surprised by others' light. Because if there is one place we should fight for the right to relate to each other as equals, surely it's in church?

[Soapbox vacated.]

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