One of my favorite songs for 2010 is one that I don’t talk about often because my feelings about the song are somewhat complicated. The song, “King Of Anything,” was a hit by Sara Bareilles , and the song is somewhat complicated in that I feel that I can definitely sing this song to others and that others would likely feel comfortable singing the song to me. I find people who are extremely talkative but not good listeners irksome to deal with and dislike people who are too free with their opinions about me and their suggestions for personal change on my part but who act as if they do not have anything that they need to change or improve themselves. Yet I am also someone who, at least when it comes to writing and personal conversation, tends to be remarkably free in sharing my perhaps unwanted opinions to and about others. The song therefore is something that I would sing with considerable passion about those who irk me and something that others could just as easily apply to me because they viewed me as a poor listener and insufficiently respectful of others.
Earlier today, I was in the airport at Castries  and I was struck by the fact that there were people from at least three Church of God organizations returning from the Feast of Tabernacles through this obscure airport on the same flight even. Before checking in my bag, a gentleman who happens to be the only Living Church of God member in Trinidad & Tobago (or so he presented himself to me) sought to have his pastor, who used to be in the United Church of God, try to convince me about their more biblical form of government and help me see the light, which greatly irked me. As my late father was a longtime member of the Living Church of God who had frequent contretemps with me about the issue of church authority , I hardly thing a stranger to me would fare any better, as I would have less reason to hold back the vehemence of my own positions on the matter.
Even more irksome to me than the friendly but maladroit member of Living Church of God was the treatment and attitude of some members of the Philadelphia Church of God who had been staying in a different resort on St. Lucia during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is the general behavior of that group to avoid any kind of interaction if possible with those they deem as Laodiceans (namely every other Church of God organization), but as they were seated all around me, it was rather hard for me to ignore them entirely even though I was working on a very interesting and long book to read. One of the gentlemen appeared to be rather bossy and nosy, and had some well-behaved and reasonably attractive offspring, and judging by the demeanor of the family, I had them pegged as members of one of the more authoritarian organizations even before I heard him comment on Mr. Flurry or their organization’s two-year college, which he was trying to convince some local brethren on their way to Trinidad and other islands to attend. Even despite myself I was rather compelled to listen to him in all of his authoritative glory, even if I was bothered by his attitude.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was similarly irritated, as it prompted a discussion about the division of the Church of God with some of my brethren who I had gotten to know over the Feast of Tabernacles myself who were also originally from the Caribbean even though they currently lived in the United States. Although there are plenty of winds of heresy that blow through those I consider to be brethren, however estranged, for the most part I find that the organized groups tend to be divided on the grounds of authority. There are a great many people who love to exercise authority over others as the rulers of the heathen do, but few of these people want to have people in authority over them. Even those who have no particularly longings to rule over others with a rod of iron often have, and I believe often rightly have, a distinct unwillingness to be ruled over by dictators and tyrants and bullies. Even among those who recognize the authority over Christ over us may not always recognize just what exactly Christ-like servant leadership is, or how it applies to certain occasions. Just as certainly, many of us (myself included) are highly sensitive and prickly when it comes to the “tough love” that many people in authority see as highly praiseworthy behavior to conduct as leaders, whether or not that prickliness is necessarily a good thing.
And so we remain divided and unlikely to change anytime soon. As far as which people need to see the light, my own positions are highly biased and very fiercely held and I feel it unnecessary to share my unwanted beliefs and opinions on the matter with anyone who does not ask me for them. I am very unlikely given my own positions and the context in which those positions were made to change those, and other people no doubt have their own positions and their own deeply shaping experiences that are deeply felt to them. I suppose, in the end, we will all have to bow the knee and accept the authority of Jesus Christ. We will all have some areas of our lives where we have to accept rebuke and correction, and we will all be called upon to exercise both justice and rightly dividing good and evil as well as showing mercy and compassion to others. Some of us are better at some areas of life in these regards, and some of us do better at others. Thankfully, I am not the judge of anyone else in these matters and thankfully none of those whose naked lust for power and authority I view with contempt and horror is my judge. But we all have much work to do in the meantime before we face our judgment.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: