The Church Should Make Itself Redundant

 

By William Bezanson

 

When I first heard the term Human Resources (HR) in a company back in the late 1970s, I was shocked. I had been accustomed to the term Personnel to designate the department that addressed such issues as hiring, benefits, and vacations. But the HR designation seemed so pompous, so stilted, and so inappropriate!

In this article, I plan to lead up to an even more important group that should work toward its own redundancy:  the Church! 

I still feel the same way about HR departments, and others. Nowadays, most organizations have HR functions. And while their activities and mandates have expanded over the years, I have observed HR staff members become more insular, more unclear of their role in empowering personnel, and more mistaken in the belief that they have an important role to play.

I think that such groups should return to being called the Personnel Department, or perhaps the Human Beings Department, or even the People Empowerment Department.

This preference of mine may seem trite; but I view it as profound, even spiritually profound. It is very easy to lose focus when in a group of people who think alike, who recruit people in their own image, who eat and socialize together, and who are often centrally located, removed from the people whom they serve and who provide the actual reason that the organization exists. It is very easy for such people, excellent though each individual person might be, to forget their true roles for the organization. Instead, they might develop a view that preserves their own culture, and then begin to resent their primary clients and to degrade their service to them. They might often forget that they have staff functions, not line functions; that is, they are in support roles, not contributors to the core purpose of an enterprise.

I never succeeded in explicitly changing any organizations, although I can hope that I caused some people to think seriously of their roles, and perhaps to advocate for change internally. But my views broadened to the point of advocating similar views beyond HR departments, such as:

  • The prime purpose of a Recreation department should be to work toward eliminating itself, through teaching people to manage their own recreation.
  • The prime mandate of a Quality Assurance department should be to work towards its disbandment through redundancy, by teaching designers the vital importance of excellent quality.
  • The prime purpose of a Customer Training department should be to make itself redundant, through teaching designers to build on-job training and performance support into products.
  • The prime purpose of a Medical facility should be to minimize its need for existence, through teaching people to eat nutritiously and to adopt healthy lifestyles.

And, ultimately, recognizing that our spirituality is the most important part of us:

  • The prime purpose of a Church should be to reduce each person’s need for it, through teaching parishioners to develop their spirituality, through mystical teachings, to the point that the church is redundant.

 

These extreme views that I hold should not be implemented literally, as self-annihilation, but should be used to set fundamental goals to aim for. Thus, goals should be set to eliminate, say 90% of a Human Resources department, or perhaps 85% of a Training department, or maybe 50% of a church parish size, and so on, over a specified timeframe, say four or five years. I would never advocate totally eliminating a department or a church, but simply to aim towards that goal.

Now, one could ask how would the work get done if HR, quality, and training departments, or church membership become greatly scaled down? Let us consider just the church in this spiritually-focused article. The leaders of a church should train their priesthood and clergy about the difference between religion and spirituality, and that the latter is more important.  Then they should roll out an ambitious program of mystical education, training, and literature.  Finally, the intent, with mysticism, is to receive divine wisdom directly from God, rather than the traditional, religious way of receiving it indirectly through scriptures and clergy. 

Then, over the next several years (say five or ten) of development under this new spiritual model, a large number of people will leave the church and continue their spiritual evolution privately.  Of course, there is still a role for the clergy to offer advanced mystical training for the people who stay or join, and there will be considerable new recruits, if they will only take further training and self-development on their own.  But ultimately, we should see a very significant reduction in the role of the church in society’s development, say a reduction of 50% or more of membership.

Such a transformation of church functioning in society is vitally important, to my mind, in our biggest responsibility of all:  saving humanity and the world.   When people are spiritually advanced and awakened, they will feel like and act strongly for healing the problems with society and our world.

The key point here is for each of us to accept personal (and professional) responsibility in these areas. Each of us needs to ask fundamental questions of the institutions that we encounter. What should be their prime purposes?  Should they exist?  Can we improve them?  How can we help?

I believe that we each have the responsibility in our workplaces, and even moreso in our spiritual lives, always to ask whether there is a better way of doing things.

Unthinking animals accept the status quo. Thinking, evolved humans should accept the responsibility to question the status quo, and to think about what is the right thing to do in each situation and for each institution that we associate with.

________

 

William Bezanson writes a monthly blog article for OMTimes and has published six books on technology, spirituality, and world stewardship.  This article has been adapted, with permission, from the chapter “Responsibility in the Workplace” from his book Abandoned Shopping Carts:  Personal and Spiritual Responsibility.  Bezanson lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada.  His website is www3.sympatico.ca/bezanson1 .

 

 

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