Not the Boss of Me

A reflection on Week 7 of #mykindachurch, a project of #decolonizelutheranism in partnership with Saying Grace. Learn more about #mykindachurch in our intro post here.

This week we heard from a Leftist Philosopher, an Anonymous Doubter, a Creative Redhead, a Hospital Chaplain, and a Deviant Radical. We heard stories of doubts and questions being suppressed. We heard pain about the church living into unjust systems. We heard a plea for the right to push back against those in authority.

Sometimes, when I look around, the world I live in seems overrun with evil and oppressive forces. Forces that tell trans kids they don’t deserve to be safe in locker rooms. Forces that call human beings illegal and kidnap them in the night, tearing them away from their families. Forces that steal land and steal bodies. Forces that put people in cages. Forces that reek of death.

And the church? The church is called to be different than the rest of the world. A sanctuary.

We are called to spread the Good News of God’s Love and Liberation for all people. We are called

“to bring good news to the poor.
…to proclaim release to the captives
….to let the oppressed go free” 
Luke 4:18

Unfortunately we’ve seen too often that the church has become just another institution, part of the system, a tool used to control. Instead of fighting back against systems like Capitalism, White Supremacy, and the Cis-hetero Patriarchy, we have become so enmeshed with these sins that people have come to primarily associate them with the church.

Folks this week in #mykindachurch have been asking for a space where they can push back against these forces. Where they can challenge authority, challenge systems, challenge the dominant culture of death.

What this really is is a call for the church to be the church.

To deliver and to live into the Gospel.

“I want a church where Jesus’ message is actually used to challenge our personal lives and our relationship to Empire, money and capitalism and not used to justify our relationship with empire, money and capitalism. I want a space to invite the holy fool, the radical spirit that consumes and the anger that is just and calls for liberation of our humanity.” — Zed

In the Roman Empire where Jesus lived, the word “gospel” was in itself a challenge to authority and ruling systems of oppression. Caesar would issue edicts or announcements and he called them the “gospel.” When Jesus proclaimed the Good News of God’s reign on Earth, the Gospel, he was challenging that authority. Jesus was reminding Rome and those in power that the ultimate authority wasn’t the Empire and it wasn’t Caesar. The ultimate authority was the God of Love and Liberation, and therefore our ultimate allegiance is to God, over any ruler or system.

There’s a term sometimes that academics use to talk about intersecting oppressive forces called the kyriarchy. Kyriarchy is “a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission.” Sometimes, if I want to be specific about those intersecting oppressive forces, I use words like I did above to name those systems: Capitalism, White Supremacy, and the Cis-hetero Patriarchy.

But there’s a reason that I like the word kyriarchy.

Kyriarchy might remind you of some other words. Like Kyrie.

Κύριος. Greek meaning, “Lord.”

The term kyriarchy reminds us of all of the forces that will to Lord over us. To subjugate us and others in an unholy hierarchy of oppression and domination.

And when we reject kyriarchy? When we push back against White Supremacy, Capitalism, the Cis-hetero Patriarchy and all other forms of oppression?

We are proclaiming:

You are not my authority.

White Supremacy, you are not my master.

Capitalism, you are not the boss of me.

Cis-hetero Patriarchy, I answer to no man.

No masters. No bosses. No Lord but the Lord, the God of Love and Liberation.

Or, as Lynnette Ann said this week, “I want a church that lives the words of the oppressed, persecuted brown man who stood up to an unfair empire and fought for the poor. I want a truly radical church that lives the words.”

Let us be that kinda church.

Let the church say amen.

#Mykindachurch is a project of #decolonizelutheranismin partnership with Saying Grace. Learn more about #mykindachurch in our intro post here.