Institutional Power is NOT what it seems.

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Every religion has its version of God. Atheism in like manner insists their version of no-God represents total truth. Tribal level people (low-consciousness) are attracted to religion because it provides a framework and identity even if it only infrequently connects them to God. Often, the framework (religion) itself becomes the surrogate which is worshiped and obeyed instead of the deity upon which it’s based.

As people have evolved into higher levels of consciousness, they have increasingly undertaken the soul work of self-criticism. This has allowed modern people to gradually transcend many tribal belief frameworks. Along the way, people have tried to find areas of common ground among shared beliefs which has given rise to ecumenicalism. On the surface, ecumenicalism looks like progress, but in reality, each religion gravitates toward its distinctions rather than the overlaps. This bias toward distinctions “protects” each religion from dissolving into something “other” than what it has historically been, which preserves it’s social and economic power.

The dawn of quantum science has greatly expanded the claims of spirituality by reframing religion (primarily Eastern) into the scientific language of the quantum world. The rise of new-age spirituality stems from the integration of science and spirituality and has provided a framework to bring a vast number of diverse seekers into the larger conversation.

However, these trends that seem like integration may not be the integrated rise of consciousness that many of the gurus and adherents believe it to be. It might only be another veiled tribal belief system which unfortunately separates the innies from the outies, and begs the question as to how far we have actually evolved.

Inclusivity is a wonderful and important goal. However, when someone upholds a “particular” framework of understanding, inclusivity becomes predicated upon adoption of that institution’s distinctives. Divergent beliefs create uncomfortable tension among those who are not willing or able to relax their framework. This prioritizes compliance to the tribal particularity above any divergent contribution of the individual, thus preserving institutional power, and violating the law of love (inclusion).

Exclusion is thus a hate crime empowered by institutional evil against the law of love. A Junior High click is powered by the same, but underdeveloped spiritual force as the Third Reich. It’s all institutional power. These are the “kingdoms of the world” that Satan offered Jesus during his temptation (Matthew 4:8). We must gain eyes to see institutional power for what it really is.

Our nobel desire for integration temps us to believe our differences are surface level semantics. So long as we conclude the discussion is about words, then we may very well miss the sub-terrainian darkness and the depth of our addiction to distinctions. Discerning differences is an aspect of the Imago Dei and the ability to know good and evil (Genesis 3:22). When discernment is corrupted, we use it to empower, validate, and enlarge our self image. The worst offenders are birthed from within the tribe. This means that institution’s greatest devotion may actually be toward its distinctives, which give it power, rather than the Devine, thus making them idolatrous.

Yes, I’m saying your religion, company, church, political party or team may be an idol.

Stay with me, I’m not going where you think I am.

Pay attention to how you are processing my claim. Are you searching for areas where exclusion is wise? Are you appealing to some institutional power? It is a very deep root and difficult weed.

Like most people, you’re probably thinking about families, well organized teams for sports, military, business, or ministry. You’re probably thinking of many institutions that work very well by protecting distinctives and remaining exclusive until people are vetted and assimilated. You may not even be able to imagine an alternative.

There is an alternative.

Would you agree that freedom from the tyranny of oppressive institutional power is a Good Thing? Would you also agree that recapturing ones personal power instead of abdicating or deriving ones power institutionally is the very definition of freedom or even salvation? If so, then you now have a new definition of the Gospel or Good News.

You see, the work of Christ was not to enlist us into another alternative religion, it was to liberate all people and all religions. Once people are freed from institutions of the family, social networks, vocation, religion, politics, and entertainments they were not intended to simply be free floating free agents in the world. The freedom from was purposed to make us free toward an alternative organization, one where the rules of engagement are entirely opposite of every other institution in the world.

This group is defined not by climbing up to power, but by stooping to serve. By building others up, we ourselves are built up by others. There is to be no competition. Differences are to be celebrated, not feared making all people more similar than dissimilar. Instead of endless rules, protocols, hierarchies, there is but one rule that all follow: The Law of Love. This group is not a static institution that looks out for its own interest, it is a dynamic flow, a living body, a people that incarnate the spirit and power of love and inclusion which looks out for the interests of all others. The goal is total diversity and total unity at the same time. That was the design, that was the goal, that is the biblical definition of The Church.

So let me ask you: “Is that a description of your Church?” I didn’t think so.

True unity combined with diversity can never take place without the inclusion of all others. I have shown how institutional powers have failed humanity by their exclusive, binary frameworks that violate the law of love. The flip side of this means that reframing the Christ story is absolutely central to human progress. Any attempt to bypass Jesus puts humanity right back into a competitive, exclusive tribal religion or institutional framework. The answer is not found in any world religion. Regressing into tribal Christianity or any other exclusive religious framework gets the world no further than the power plays and pain that it has brought so far. This was the point of Jesus’ contention with religious leaders.

So we can’t build institutions around Jesus when his teachings were subversive to institutional power and we can’t build institutions without a right understanding of his life and work. This makes Jesus either the stumbling block to moving forward until he is understood as the cornerstone for the new world.