Not long after posting yesterday's post, I started feeling guilty. (Inner hierarchy raising its head again...)
After all, there are people at church, both men and women, who have been loving and kind towards me and my family, before, during, and after our family crisis. There are people from other churches, religions, and entirely different belief systems altogether, including people I have met online, who have been nothing but loving and kind, who have welcomed me into their homes and lives, and some who have come into ours and become part of our family. How does my inner hierarchy deal with those people? Why do I feel like I need to categorize people so often anyway?
As I continue to ponder this vast topic of hierarchies, a whole new set of questions arises.
What about those pastors and priests who have been gentle and caring towards me on this messy spiritual journey of mine?
What about the pastors who put me on this heart-rending, life-changing journey by introducing me to writers like Anne Lamott, Kathleen Norris, Brian McLaren, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Thich Nhat Hanh, Michael Yaconelli, Lauren Winner, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Sue Monk Kidd?
What if it's not about pastors or priests or elders or deacons or laypeople at all?
What if all the degrees, titles, and positions were stripped away and we just worked harder to love and support one another as human beings, as brothers and sisters, and as the suffering souls and wounded spirits that we all are?
Who have I judged, rejected, and pushed aside because of the hierarchies I have bought into and benefitted from?
Which hierarchies do I need to extricate myself from in order to live more fairly, justly, and lovingly with others?
Whose forgiveness do I need to seek for my conceited, judgmental, and exclusionary attitudes?
This hierarchy thing is deeply embedded within me and it's gonna be mighty hard to extract it from me and me from it. It has taken me 45 years to get to this place of recognizing the insidious nature of this power-brokering system; I sincerely hope it doesn't take that long to get myself out of this mess. Then again, I've got nothing but time.