Institutions and Individuals—Is one greater than the other?

While we were driving to Kansas, Jake told me something that made me realize the work I do is important.

Jake had a friend come up to him recently and ask if they could talk to him about something other than soccer. Jake said of course.

Person: I’m glad we are Facebook friends bc I love reading your wife’s posts. I want to know more about this inclusive church she’s writing about in our community.

Y’all, I woke up this morning feeling such goodness from that story. I am starting to see by taking this time to rest what it is I do.

I fear systems bc I have been burned by them—more than once and for very different reasons. Neither of these situations were by the church, to be clear. Church has been that place for many many other people, though. I just happen to keep finding churches that help me strengthen my voice so I can speak to these situations whether it’s church causing harm or a different institution. We need to be aware of any and all systems we participate in—be institutionally self-reflective.

I fear institutions, but I also know we need them. Please hear this all this who believe all government institutions are evil. They are not. Any institution can be corrupt. Fearing only one without seeing how that same principality can play out in another institution keeps that same corruption alive—it just moved institutions.

I fear institutions, but fear isn’t always bad y‘all. There’s healthy fear like not running out into a street when cars are coming. There’s also the fear that’s the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10.

I know the power institutions have to both give and take away life. I see the people in the systems and raise awareness to help institutions keep their heart beating. I’m a heart-centered person after all. I could see Esther even when Israel’s story of salvation was being celebrated. That came at a real cost to someone. She’s a person.

I was reflecting on these two posts yesterday thinking about how we throw people away for the sake of the overall institution. The harm that has been caused by Aristotle’s idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” While I agree we do more together, I also know there is no whole without its parts.

We shouldn’t pit them against each other. We need both. There is no whole without its parts. We can’t love a people if we don’t love a person. We can’t love a person if we don’t love ourself. All of this is part of the whole.

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