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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Entity Inertia

Whether Jesus or Caesar was Lord became a real issue for Christians. When has your faith in Christ led to conflict with other authorities claiming your loyalty? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1548).

Perhaps the easier question to answer would be when has your faith in Christ NOT lead to conflict with other authorities.  This is no particular indictment upon the authorities within which I have lived and moved.  If I had been in authority, I often no doubt would have been in a conflict with myself. It's the nature of authority to try to implement justice through code uniformity.  For example, where I now live there is a pet fee if you have a pet – say a cat or dog. The pet fee is $200 and is intended to cover any kind of cleaning cost necessary on your departure. Well, I have three finches which are always housed in a finch cage. Due to the need for code uniformity, there could be no flexibility in promulgation of the requirement and my three finches were treated exactly the same as if they had been clawed house cats or incontinent puppies.  Now from my point of view this of course looks absurd, but from the point of view of authority always mindful of uniformity, no exception could be made however ridiculous the result.

So a principal reason why authority seems unreasonable is that it is excessively reasonable.  I see no easy way out of this inherent conundrum.  Another source of conflict is the tendency to affirm self-interest whether on the part of the individual or the organization. Both seek to in retain their own integrity concurrently and inflexibility on the part of both parties results.  For example during the Vietnam War to retain integrity I went to prison rather than submit to the draft, while the government to retained its integrity imprisoned me.

A third matter that affects both parties – the individual and the organization concurrently – is precedent. We tend to rationalize our actions based upon our sense of who we are historically. Thus we bring into the current situation divergent legacies that can encourage conflict.

Overall I think it is clear that regarding Christianity specifically, its built-in bias to emphasize spirit over legalism and to emphasize substance over prejudicial labels is a legacy that runs roughshod over cherished tenets that can be held by both individuals and organizations.  

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