3 Key Transitions

These are the three key spiritual/ intellectual transitions in my life:
  1. Question the Authority: I am the oldest of 5 children. I never challenged my father. I still have great difficulty challenging authority figures. However, through my many years in the church in so many of its manifestations, my experience with authority figures has been profoundly negative. I let myself be restricted, controlled or abused until I can take no more and finally have to speak up. The costs have been great. I don't believe I was a rare target for abuse. I was just very sensitive to it and wouldn't put up with it. I suspect many people don't realize they are being abused because they feel required to respect and trust the authority abusing them.
  2. Question the System: I realized some years ago that systems, including the church, are creations too, and that although they are not evil in themselves, they are supremely susceptible to what the bible calls the principalities and powers. Therefore, their gravitational pull is towards the degradation and death of human beings. Although authority figures within these systems are often victims of the systems themselves, they also act in the interest of the system. I do not implicitly trust any system. I am suspicious of the intentions of every single one of them. Especially the church.
  3. Question The Text: My experience has also been that the text is the official document of the system wielded by its authorities to achieve the system's agenda. When I first became a Christian at 15 I was taken under a youth leader's wing and taught how to study the bible devotionally. I took Bible in Bible College. I took biblical studies at Seminary with years of Greek, Hebrew as well as Aramaic. In seminary my literalist interpretation of scripture was challenged, but I found ways around it by simply choosing a different interpretive process. However, I've come to the conclusion that the issue is text itself. Briefly, I believe the bible is a signifier, but not the signified.
In the bible it was the prophets who intended to provoke such questioning. Their importance was in challenging all these strongholds (text, authority and system), raising the dreaded question, and upsetting the entrenched status quo. We need them today.

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