They say that ‘postmoderns’ don’t like authority. I think that I’m a prime example of that ideal. I felt this way before I even knew what the word postmodernity meant, or if it wasn’t even a real word. It’s kind of funny actually, I’m typing right now and postmodernity isn’t recognized as a word in Microsoft Word. I think I stopped liking authority as soon as I felt like authority was restricting what God called me to do. After a few instances of being told what not to do, I quickly shut down and didn’t like any sort of authoritative figure in my life.
I tried to run retreats for some youth in my hometown and I was told I was undermining other ministries by doing so. Myself along with the young adults started doing bible studies about inerrancy and biblical doctrines and I was told that I needed to stop because I am hurting people’s faith. I used to play music in bars with a few friends and I got looks and comments about how I should be in church instead. I didn’t encourage people to speak in tongues, in fact I had questions about it, and I was deemed not Pentecostal enough and anti-Spirit. It was amazing of some of the things that people in authority labelled me with. It wasn’t long before I simply couldn’t work along side of certain people anymore. Leaving for university was a good idea. It gave me space to think out the way I was heading and get away from people that did not encourage me to go further but only limited things I could do.
My experience with authority was great until it got uncomfortable for them. As soon as I started working outside of the confines of a certain church label I was brushed off. You would be surprised how many people care about their own church growth more than they do the kingdom. They will pull out phrases like ‘God gave me these people to shepherd and protect and save from leaving the flock’ to ‘you are undermining the ministry that God gave me and I don’t like it.’ The authority that I came under was more concerned with their own egos than they were the overall picture of God’s kingdom, and as soon as I stopped petting their ego I was useless to them. I have had to relearn how to come under authority. I could be a free-for-all forever and I needed to come under authority of people that were going to keep me in check for God’s Kingdom not theirs.
My experience with authority, and I’m speaking spiritual authority all throughout this post in my case, has greatly blurred the way I see authoritative structures. In some ways I think it helps me stay clear of those that are dangerous but it also sometimes causes me to miss some structure of authority in my own life. I’m beginning to understand it better, and its become easier and easier to come under authority of some people who I love and trust very much and I hope God continues to soften my heart and shape me to any authority he puts me under.
I share this, because I think a story like this is important for understanding power structures and the place they have in our life and my own. With this as a foundation it will help me understand better what lies ahead.