Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Order and Authority

Some of you may be aware that I am a nerd.  Yes, I am a nerd, and especially a Star Wars nerd.  I happily go to the bookstore and by the trashy Star Wars novels that come out -- I know they aren't high literature, but I enjoy them.  I am confident in my ability to read, so I am not ashamed to read lousy books.

At any rate, there is tons of Star Wars material beyond the movies -- and sometimes there is a conflict between what one book says with what another comic says, so on and so forth.  And I find that debates over Star Wars canon are fascinating.  There was a leveled hierarchy of reality -- the Movies are the top, followed by sponsored TV (now including the clone wars), followed by the Post 91 novels (and slightly below them the Comic Books), and then the old Marvel comic books, then video games, other things like that.  (You can read here if you want your journey to the nerd side to be complete).
So it's simple.  If the Clone Wars Cartoon says X happened but your book says Y -- X happened, not Y.  Just how it works.  It's like playing trump in cards, and Lucas calls trump.

And yet, whenever there is something that comes along that messes with things, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Apparently a minor character is going to die in the TV show "The Clone Wars" and she had already died in a different place in the Comics  - and there is a bit of a ruckus about this (as you can see here).

This demonstrates something that is becoming more and more pronounced in American Culture -- the disdain of anyone having authority to make decisions.  The disdain of anyone having the ability to order us around.  Yet -- that's how it goes.  In our various vocations, our service to others involves giving orders and instructions.  I am a father - as such I will have to give instructions to my son as part of that vocation.  If he doesn't like it -- well, nothing goes smoothly.  Or even less popular -- I am a husband... and the burden of that is that the buck stops with me.  Which means when it boils down to it, I get to make the final decisions, give the final seal of approval.

People making decisions for others is looked down upon today, it is disdained.  We much prefer rebellion (a particular curse of our history as Americans, I'd say -- we don't like to admit it, but the 2nd Amendment asserts our right to rebel).  And here is the thing, why this is so dangerous.  When we rebel, we prevent those whom God has given us to serve us from serving us.  Then - instead of the relationship being one of serving - it becomes one of asserting authority, which... well... misses the point.

Consider the police -- what's the dangerous part of their job?  Not when we are folks who let them guide us in the ways of legality - but when people rebel against the law and cause problems -- the criminal who flees, or attacks -- then proper authority has to be asserted, and there is a ton of danger (and from what I hear, paperwork afterwards).  Service is radically disrupted.

This is why part of the duties of those being served is to obey -- children obey their parents, wives aren't to nag their husbands to death, citizens obey the laws of the state -- because that lets those in positions of authority serve.

Because this is the other truth that gets lost when one has to assert authority.  All authority is given simply and only to serve others.  When Jesus says, "all authority on heaven and earth is given to Me," He doesn't turn around and say, "No go give me a back rub and grill me some fishes, discipo-slaves!"  No, He then speaks to baptizing, forgiving, teaching -- acts of service for our benefit.

But when the one in authority has to assert his authority to maintain order -- well, the joys of service go out the window.  The ability to serve goes out the window.  No good comes of anything.  And instead of just enjoying some good Star Wars stories, you spend all your time complaining about how random odd comment on page 214 of that book there is going to be obliterated by some scene in that TV show over there.  Because then dad has to drag you screaming out of the store. 

Let yourself be served.  It's a good thing, even if our selfish flesh tells us otherwise.

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