One of the most menacing plaques within today's Christianity is obedience.
Sure, on the onset obedience sounds like a good thing. After all, obeying what your parents taught you has kept you alive and strong all these years.
"Look before you cross."
"Don't eat food off the sidewalk."
"Don't talk to strangers."
Good advice. You were wise to obey it. But you are no longer a child and your parents didn't teach you to obey so that you would become mindless. Quite the opposite. They taught you so you would grow up and not need their guidance any longer. You have become aware of the dangers around you and can competently form your own opinions on your recourse in a variety of situations and circumstances. They did well by you. And never forget that mom and dad are always a phone call away for that frantic situation that needs the touch of loving guidance you knew so long ago. So how does this play into the out-of-control obedience within today's church? I'll bet you already know.
Have you ever seen a grown man or woman still being led around by their parents? For your sake, I hope you haven't. It's not a pretty sight. There is a sullen look of surrender on the face of the 'child' and an amazingly dominant look of control on the face of the parent that has held their reign for much longer than the socially appropriate amount of time. As far as the parent is concerned, they have extended their protection and guidance for the sake of the son or daughter who has either made too many mistakes early in life or has not yet had the opportunity to make a mistake on their own. Either way, the parent has built a wall around the offspring and has hedged off life; for good or bad. This is a perversion of the parent/child relationship as created by God. This is, therefore, sinful.
To extend into the realm of 'sinful' isn't difficult, as we all know. Often, it creeps upon us and stays in our lives before our eyes are open to what it really is. We see it when we begin to look for it. And that is where the danger lies in the sin of obedience. Obedience is respectful action. You do something when you are told to do it. Doesn't sound too evil, does it? What if, in what you are told needs to be done, you are instructed to do nothing? And here's where we begin to start feeling uncomfortable. Now, I'm not talking about our obedience to God. I'm talking about obedience to those who have been given the responsibility of leadership within Christianity. I'm talking about the pastors, priests, Sunday School teachers and all others who are called to instruct; those who are called to guide the rest of us who have different callings such as school teachers, bankers, writers, grocery clerks, parents etc...
These leaders have been given the responsibility of guide and release; like that of a parent. Guide and release. The guidance part is never hard to find. In any field you can easily find someone willing to give you advice. But these guides, our Christian leaders, are different. Their calling is divine, just as yours is, and I think that's where the fear couched behind the tentacles comes into play. They have, on a grand scale, become the parent leading the adult child. They have been the guide, but will not release. The sin on their part has been the mistrust of God's leading in the lives of the guided. The sin on our part, those being guided, is in not moving out of the house. We've allowed our parent to take over our decision making and therefore in our eyes, the responsibility of our inaction in the world. This is sin. Inaction is always sin. This is also a fierce deception. We fool ourselves into believing we are faithful in our inaction and that our guides have the responsibility for our Christian walk. And being faithful guides, our leaders see a responsibility given to them and they won't let us go. They fear for us and for themselves. Do you see the parasitic relationship that this good intention has formed? Satan does. And once again he leaves us to live within the tangles and confusion we create for ourselves, and moves on to work in the life of someone who is an actual threat to his own plans.
Obedience as sin. What's the answer for the leaders who need to loosen their grip and let those to whom they've been entrusted step outside their realm of security and risk it all for Jesus in this dangerous and perilous world? The same answer that comes to us who seek guidance but are afraid to walk out the door and let go of our guide's hand for fear we'll lose our way. The answer is faith. As usual. But don't underestimate the difficulty in picking up this little word and using it. That's where all of our problems began. Faith is difficult. If it's not, you're not using it properly. It is a surrender to what you are verbally claiming as a Christian; it's the action behind the pretty dresses and ties on Sunday when Monday comes calling. It is the life of a person who knows the world doesn't want to hear what they have to say but leans on God's strength to continue speaking. It is faithful action in a time of mass inaction.
I think we just got Satan's attention back.