“The history of the church, the early Benedictines, has shown that the early in ecclesiastical history the task of the clergy was to ASSIST the laity in exercising the latter’s prime role in the Church.” ~Louis J Putz CSC
The key is education. What we are talking about is adult education. Regardless of denominations, most Christians’ religious education has not continued beyond grade school and high school. For most adults, their continuing education has been the weekly sermon at best. From the middle ages, onward the clergy by and essentially took over the control of the church, the liturgy, and sacramental life of the church, the people.
Organizations such as CAC, Westar Institute, Marcus Borg Foundation, Christogenisis, and others have come into existence in the last fifty years because of the need for adult education.
There is no longer a valid excuse for the hierarchy to control the church of any major denomination.
The emphasis should be on education and collaboration. The need is now more than ever to build a community of equality, fellowship, and oneness in the Spirit with all church members. In a society of apostleship, oneness cannot exist when a minimal number of people give the orders. The community, simply because of their “canonical,” feel “obligated” Meekly sit back and follow orders.
We are an educated society. We need to extend that education into our understanding of the church’s history, understanding other religions, and learning how we as human beings have been in search of the Significant Other we call God, the Universal Christ.
Understanding the followers of Jesus before Nicea, what the search meant for them, what the community told, and their understanding of meals? We need an understanding of the world religions throughout history that will stimulate innovation, education, and collaboration of all people in our journey in meeting the Living God.
A great way to learn is to start a book club, in person or on Zoom, pick a series of books that reflect what the group in common has that they want to discover more of, read those books, ask questions of each other, learn from each other in a non-threatening format and grow in knowledge. What is so powerful about book clubs or reading groups or whatever you wish to call them is there is no hierarchical format. You are all one and equal all learning and sharing; it is the essence of innovation, education, and collaboration.
As Louis J Putz CSC would say out loud in his German accent, “YOU are Church!”