I wrote this in July 2009, but because at that time I thought it might be too sensitive it was only saved, rather than published. Here it is, un-expurgated.
In the light of a conversation I had last night, do you ever stop and wonder why the traditional church was arranged in the way it has been?
Recognising that the church is God's own, to do with as He pleases, yet also recognising that men have exercised their own 'free will', frequently without apparent restrain in it. I wonder whether the system of priests and bishops instituted in the 2nd century was God's way of preserving *some* good through the darker ages of the world while allowing new life to break out and be carried away like sycamore seeds, growing a healthy distance away. I also wonder if, at the same, those exact same structures were built by men who wanted to control and establish their own authority and rule, using the church as a tool to obtain power and wealth.
My expectation is that both were true.
The more I dig into church history the more I come to the conclusion that the leadership of the Church was well and truly headed off the rails, just as Paul told the Ephesian elders it would be, in the second century, and became increasingly so until it had established the structures we see remaining. Certainly there were still many good people at this time, as there have been throughout the Church's history, but they do not seem to have been the ones at the top of the slippery pole.
I have reached the point where I want to understand the theology behind these structures so that I can make valid judgements about them instead of just assessing by the outward appearance. For instance I already know why I reject infant baptism and confirmation from a biblical point of view, but I want to know what the justification of these practices is from the inside view so that I know whether they might have some validity after all, instead of being entirely erroneous. At the end of the day I find it far too easy to 'live and let live' and to see both points of view in everything. But it is also important to know the truth, so that one can speak with authority rather than assumption made from appearances.
And thank God (literally - I do) for wives who can discuss intelligently with their husbands, who have opinions and will work through things, who also inspire and provoke lovingly.
I'm sorry if this post offends anyone - sorry for you being upset, and not the content of the post that is.