Sunday, February 12, 2012

Following Too Closely

Everyone is going somewhere.

Most of the time the place people THINK they are going is neither where they are headed nor where they end up.  Even in a "spiritual journey".

Therefore, don't follow anyone too closely. Keep enough distance to see the road ahead.

Tailgating in cars and spirituality usually ends up in a wreck.



3 comments:

David Dickens said...

By effectively making following a vice (by elevating leadership as a virtue rather than a service that might be performed well or badly) we have failed to provide a most important skill set to followers..that is, how to chose who is worth following. (And when to run the bums out of town with torches and pitchforks.)

In our obsession to make everyone a leader we've forgotten that we have places for leaders without followers: insane asylums.

I recall a Saudi prince on the news who said something like, "You Americans with your democracy think that your government cares about the opinions of the people and ours does not. Actually, when your people do not like your president, they simply elect someone else, when our people do not like us, it is more likely they would behead us."

Coming from a very democratic Christian tradition, I wonder if Orthodox clerics consider this when they are pointing out that the Church is hierarchical.

s-p said...

Indeed, David, we "MAKE" leaders by following someone who is worthy or not. After 40+ years of watching "leaders" (especially in a Christian context) rise and fall and followers gather and disperse I've come to the conclusion that ANYONE can find followers no matter how goofy or damaged they are. "Leaders" think having "followers" is an affirmation of their virtues, but it is more often an affirmation of the weaknesses and desperations of the followers.

I've often thought about the intersection of the Middle Eastern political structure and mindset and the attitudes and behavior of American Orthodox clerics. Since there is no way to behead a cleric here NOR to vote them out of office (except to stop contributing/greasing the Archbishop or paying Archdiocesan dues... a good "American" fiscal strategy if enough parishes concur and have the cojones to participate), essentially we have Bishops who can exist as "leaders" with or without "followers". At that point we either have human beings leading us who care what their flock thinks of them and change (which isn't ALWAYS a good thing in leadership if we're led by codependents) or sociopaths leading us who are using the office to fulfill some twisted desires.

Either scenario in varying degrees makes for some tough demands and decisions on those who, by default in a "hierarchical structure", are deemed "followers".

Anonymous said...

The problem is that within an Orthodox context there shouldn't be neither leader nor followers. Not in the Classical sense, anyway.

There should be Fathers and Children. "Should" is a key word here, because we all know that it is not what is currently happening.

If we all were really Orthodox, the "Hierarchy" would be a loving relationship and not a powerplay.