Trust the Authority of Scripture?
I was recently reminded of how the evangelical church emphasizes trusting in the authority of Scripture first and only. And it brought up a lot for me. What comes up for you when you hear the phrase “authority of Scripture?”
In this mindset, Scripture is the plumb line, the only thing to measure everything by. This might bring up good feelings and bad feelings. It brings up both for me. I have some memories of warm feelings as a kid from seeing my dad lead us in what he identified as a principled life based on the Bible. As his dad did before him.
But it also feels stifling, and wrong somehow. That’s because it’s been weaponized in so many ways.
Both internally: there is no space for trusting in the sacred knowing you have inside
...and externally: against many marginalized peoples.
You can read more about how the “authority of Scripture” has been weaponized here.
The Journey of Self-Trust
As I’ve been making this journey to trusting myself over many years now, I am at the point where listening to my inner knowing has to be first. It is essential to belong to myself and honor myself.
I will not abandon or contort myself, assimilate or hide myself, reprimand or harshly judge myself anymore. I will love and have compassion for myself.
But there were many points along the way. These were some of my points:
- One was making space for myself while also making sure I wasn’t going outside the confines of Christian beliefs. I saw a spiritual director to help me navigate this time in my life where I was triggered by all the old ways of connecting with god and I didn’t know how to stay on the path.
- I moved to a church where it was okay to be messy, and there was a lot of creativity and mystery allowed in worship. I connected with new practices. The ones that resonated with me the most were contemplative practices, embodied worship practices, restful retreats, and healing prayer.
- I got married and moved to another church - a church that honored asking questions. No questions were bad questions. They did not have the evangelical emphasis on piety (right behavior), or judgment if someone’s beliefs were “right.” That has been freeing. There’s no guilt-ing there.
- Now I’m centering my questions differently. If something dishonors me or doesn’t create space for me, it’s not for me.
- I am letting go of god-notions that make me feel small, weak, or like a victim of narcissistic abuse.
What it looks like for me now is letting go of…
- A hierarchical god (no more God the King)
- A patriarchal god (no more Male only God)
- A white supremacy god (no more benevolent/judgmental Master/Lord)
- A parental figure god (no more authoritarian Father God)
This may feel freeing to see me write this,
…it may have just made you bristle with suspicion and worry,
…or you may have been here a long time and glad I’m finally here with you.
It’s okay no matter how you feel. You don’t need to agree with me. You don’t need to be where I’m at or ever be where I’m at. You need to be where you’re at. A place where you can find safety and secure connection to yourself first, then possibly safety and spirituality together.
Where have you been in your journey? Where are you now?
I love What the Road Said by Cleo Wade. It is so simple and so profound. Listen to the author read it below. Follow your path with courage and curiosity.