Caterpillar to Butterfly: Loyalty Lies In Submission To The System– TO – Loyalty Lies In “Laying Down Your Life For Your Brethren”.
From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part XV
In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?” How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed several forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change for the church. Today we will look at the principle: Loyalty lies in submission to the system (caterpillar) TO Loyalty lies in “laying down your life for your brethren” (butterfly).
Caterpillar: My parent’s generation was very loyal to their denomination. You could find a Methodist church on one corner, a Lutheran church on another, and a Presbyterian church on yet another. Never did the three meet together, and every church “member” remained loyal to their denomination. Though not as strong as in the past, there is still a loyalty toward one’s local congregation. Loyalty coincided with “membership”, with belonging. To be a part of the system, denomination, religious group you had to accept their belief system of theology, adhere to their code of conduct, and attend the systems functions regularly in order to “belong”, to “feel accepted”, to “be a part of that group or family.” If you did that, you were a “loyal” follower or member.
Butterfly: To the butterfly generation, loyalty means more than just attending service, participating in programs and activities, reciting the tenants of faith, or following dress codes or proper church social etiquette; it means building relationships with those in one’s fellowship circles and beyond. Although surface relationships may be at first acceptable and beneficial, it demands a deeper commitment of relationship to the point of not only tolerating one another, accepting one another, to laying down one’s life for one another. In a five fold model, one will “lay down his/her passion, point of view, or spiritual gift” to “serve” those with different passions, points of view, or gifting than theirs as well as receive gratefully from the others. This reciprocal giving and taking in love and service will build up tremendously deep relationships.
Differences: Loyalty through systems will produce works, and works produce Pharisees (see previous blog); loyalty through relationships forces one to die to themselves and live for others as well as receive from others. There are no Lone Rangers or Pharisees in these relationships because they are linear, horizonal relationships with peers, brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. You can be loyal to a system, but you will soon discover that the system may not be loyal to you; while if based on relationships, built on laying down one’s life for their brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, the reciprocated love returns to develop even deeper, longer, and more meaningful relationships.
Implications Today: Corporate America demands loyalty to the system and those above you in this pyramidal structure of business when “taking care of business”, but when “downsizing” occurs, often the system is not loyal to its employees, releasing them, not “taking care of them”. The bottom of the structure that is doing the work is to be loyal to the top, yet the very existence of those at the very bottom can be in jeopardy when faced with the bottom line: efficiency to produce profit for the system. There is no linear loyalty in a pyramidal system where you have to compete and back stab your peers to get to higher paying, elevated positions of power in the corporation. This system breeds mistrust among peers. The butterfly generation is building relationships linear, as peers, as equals, not in competition but in communication. As this linear communication grows, so does the commitment level toward one another, as relationships grow stronger, deeper, more trustworthy, until one is ready to “lay down their life” in that commitment. Marriage is a good example: today in corporate America we are losing what “laying down your life” for your wife or husband means, thus an enormously high divorce rated with children being groomed in single parent and step parent homes. Hope for marriage as an institution can grow with this linear, horizontal relationship of total sacrifice of “laying down one’s life” producing solid, long lasting relationships in marriage.
Conclusion: Bottom line: Where does your loyalty lie” in your work, in your church life, or in your marriage? Does it lie in the institution where you work, the religious institution you attend, or in the institution of marriage, or does it lie in the relationship with those you work with, those you worship with, and the one whom you are committed in marriage with? As a Church we have to realize how important relationships are compared to institutions and systems. The church is all about relationships, yet we have institutionalized them. Church is going through a structural metamorphosis from systematic institutions to relational and will see that loyalty will be shifting from institutional to relational.