Historically, the Body of Christ has relied on three interdependent roles:
• Infants, who receive what they are taught
• Mystics, who seek their own truth
• Paternalists, who create the context for Infants
I used to think Mystics were opposed to Paternalists. But if they sometimes oppose the current generation, that just ends up inspiring the next generation of even better Paternalists!
I use the term Mystic broadly, encompassing musicians and theologians as well as monks and saints. Their key trait is that they don’t create their own contexts, but work within or around existing contexts (Benedict may be the exception that transcends these roles!)
There is value in each of these roles. They are what has kept the church alive for two millennia, and we will continue to need them. But I would like to propose a Fourth Role: Sons.
Sons (who can be male or female) are people who are raised up in order to be sent out to create more Sons — as the Father sent Christ (and Christ sent the Spirit).
The critical distinction is that they have no obligation to bring glory to the Son who sent them, only to the Father, Christ, and Spirit.
That may seem like a trivial distinction. But every Christian training system today is designed to perpetuate the culture and ideology that founded (or currently runs) them.
Again, there is great value in learning from those who have gone before. But there is also great danger, as despite our best intentions it ends causing division, disillusionment, and misplaced devotion.
This is so counter-cultural I can’t even think clearly about how one would go about this. But the first step is simply to define the essential problem to be solved.
Then wait on God for the right miracle…