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Hierarchy and non-hierarchy in religions

It’s interesting how various faiths sort it out and how people are drawn to one or another. I’m not good at hierarchal groups. Part of that is at times I still have trouble squashing the auto-rebel that lives in me. Part is that the organizations I have been in that are hierarchal tend to do a lesser-than type of othering to people lower in rank and I am not comfortable with what I’ve seen grow in those types of relationships. I don’t want to be part of othering and though I am aware that many paths can work a healthy model of hierarchy it seems to be more rare than not.

I think that was a large part of why the UU church appealed to me. At least the local one where lay leaders were common and sought after. That is a big part of why Reclaiming/Feri appealed to me, too. In both of those there are elders and long timers who get respect and listened to with more weight because they’ve been doing it and doing it well for "x" years. Leaders though are changeable. Lead one day, not the next. For my Reclaiming/Feri you do not need to be initiated to call yourself Reclaiming. You do not need it to teach or mentor or lead ritual. Co-leading and co-teaching are valued greatly, sharing responsibility, pulling to each person’s strength and next time sitting down and allowing others to lead, fully lead w/o looking over their shoulder – all those concepts appeal deeply to me.

I used to wonder, "Wow, how did I get here from where I started?" Now looking back I can see how natural it was. Raised Methodist full of appointed permanent leaders and followers, to solitary Pagan path work, to UU and group Pagan work, to Reclaiming/Feri. It ends up my path actually took a fairly logical route for how I am built internally. I hadn’t noticed until now just how much sense it made in its progression.

(With the Pope stuff and the RC church being constantly in the news right now, people observing Lent or Lent-like things, the intensive coming up and the 2 Feri labs not far behind me I have been in a contemplative mood.)

This entry was originally posted at http://pj.dreamwidth.org/374249.html. Please comment here or there there using your LJ ID or OpenID.

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