Who we are

Various spiritual traditions purport to want to help us discover our true selves while at the same time being duplicitous about the qualities of priests, ministers, gurus, teachers, and other leaders. This is anything but helpful, and as we have seen time and again can lead to terrible abuse.

The priest stands at the altar in personna Christi, and the next thing you know this esoteric teaching has both priest and people believing he is somehow other, somehow more Christlike than the rest of us. The Catholic Church claims the Pope is infallible, and people extrapolate the his subordinates must be semi-infallible. Protestants, whether they admit it or not, feel the same way to varying degrees about their clergy.

Buddhism, in the Tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, teach that students should see the guru as the Buddha. This is parallel to in personna Christi, perhaps even more pervasive. Zen priests frequently turn student interviews into grab and grope sessions, but those who are violated are reluctant to speak out because of the esteem in which the priest is held. The real question is whether either Christ or Buddha seek to bed the faithful? Of course not.

Sadly, there are an endless number of other examples I could cite. The solution to the problem is to agree that when any human being holds themselves up as somehow qualitatively more than another, they are functioning out of ego and need to be watched very closely, indeed.

Almost universally, those of us who enter the helping professions do so because we have been wounded ourselves. If we have done and continue to do our own work, we are in a unique position to help others along their own path. If we have not done our own work, however, we are likely to use those we are supposed to serve to medicate our untreated wounds. In the process we will inflict trauma on those who have trusted us, and so need to be removed from positions of authority to work on our own issues. Nothing less will do.

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