What’s Your Problem with Authority?


“I have issues with authority.” This statement is made sometimes as if it is a valid reason for noncompliance or all-out rebellion. Like it is an explanation for irresponsible behavior or a shield against rightful criticism.

I like to take a long, hard look from time to time at some of the weightier concepts of living from the Bible. Like wisdom and justice. Authority seems to be the one on my mind this year (the ones I mentioned above I have studied about and contemplated for a few years now.)

What has struck me is that we live in a world where authority is constantly being delegitimized. In businesses and organizations, the all-familiar pyramid structure of top-down hierarchy is being traded for a flat, pancake-shaped diagram. Why? People don’t like authority.

Granted, use of authority on its own is not an effective way of leading anything. And believe it or not, authority has been abused by some people. On jobs, in churches, and in homes, lots of people have been hurt by authority figures.

But I got to thinking as we were discussing our work in crisis on my job, we spend a lot of time trying to address family issues by implementing structure. This, in a world where structure is being portrayed as stifling and binding. Why is that? Why is the answer to an unruly child, in full or in part, a need for structure and authority, while those things are not endorsed as effective in the rest of society?

Well, that’s what I want to talk about over the course of a few posts.

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