I’m not generally keen on acquiescing to authority. As a kid I couldn’t even manage to join the Cub Scouts. When I was just considering joining them, at some school function or something, the Grown Man Scout Leader—Sergeant Dad, or whatever he was called—barked, “Okay, new recruits! Line up! Let’s go! Single file!”
Okay, well, grown-ups often get carried away. But whatever. I was in love with a Girl Scout; maybe she’d dig one of her own kind. So I got in line. What the heck. See what happens.
The line I got in wasn’t tight enough for Den Dad. “Come on! Straighten up! Everybody stare at the back of the neck of the boy in front of you!”
Annnnnd I was done trying. I walked out of the line. I didn’t want to stare at the neck mole of the kid in front of me. And I didn’t want to worry about what the back of my neck looked like, either. For all I knew there could be mushrooms growing back there.
“Nazis,” I mumbled. Walking home I lit up a cigarette.
God, I was such a delinquent.
Anyway, when it comes to following, I’m not so good. And by “not so good,” I mean terrible. I’m congenitally predisposed toward independence. I think I’m actually feral about being independent.
I’m not proud of this characteristic. I don’t think it’s healthy. I’m aware that being the sort of guy who doesn’t (as I didn’t) get his picture taken for his senior year high school yearbook does me least as much harm as it does good.
It also does not at all mean that I don’t like people. I do! I regularly stalk seven or eight of them. You could set your watch by when I show up at certain bushes throughout my town.
Har! Stalking jokes!
Always so not entirely funny.
Anyway, speaking of church authority.
I have zero interest in the idea that “church authority” is anything I’m supposed to care about. Why would I give a neckerchief what anyone else thinks about what I think about God?
Which is not to say that I’m uninterested in what other people think about God. I am (sometimes)! I know I can deeply benefit from understanding the beliefs of others—as well, most certainly, from studying the history of religion generally and Christianity in particular.
Good times, for sure.
But tell me what I should think about God? Tell me what God or Jesus really means by something that’s said in the Bible? Tell me that the church has always taken something to mean something—and that that means I, too, should take it that way?
Tell me you have any more natural insight into God than I do?
Pffft. Might as well tell me to stare at the neck mole in front of me.
Still and all, on any given Sunday you’ll find my lone wolf butt sitting in a church pew.
I like praying and worshipping with a bunch of other people. Because I know that, deep down inside, each and every one of those people feels just as independent, and just as renegade, as I do.
And it’s a beautiful thing when all we rogues, with our heads bowed low, together connect with something bigger, even, than us.