The Complexity of Authority

Rachael Clinton Chen and Dr. Dan Allender dive into a three-part series that wrestles with complex questions about authority. In a culture that grows increasingly divisive, this is a topic not without its own divisions. Throughout this episode, you’ll hear Rachael and Dan raise poignant questions and grapple with the implications of trust and mistrust of authority.

The conversation opens by acknowledging we are living in a hyper-polarized world where there are deep levels of trust and mistrust in many realms. We need to be able to recognize the difference between suspicion and discernment and to know when suspicion is appropriate and when it is damaging and dismantling.

How then do we find balance as we ask questions of authority so that we do not surrender blindly and accept the status quo when there is a need for change, but do not become so hardened that we only mistrust and question those in authority?

“Suspicion is like any tool. It can be used for great harm, and it can be used for great good. We’ll be trying to think with you how our doubt of authority can lead to great harm, but also for the potential of great redemption.” Dr. Dan Allender

“When you’re not able to trust, and even if that trust means I can no longer submit to this particular authority but I know I need to participate in a flourishing community, we deauthorize ourselves and in some ways abdicate our own authority to be people who are living well and bringing about the kingdom of God in ways that are meant to be flourishing in our midst.” Rachael Clinton Chen

In next week’s episode, Dan and Rachael will continue the conversation by asking the question: Who are we to trust?

Listener Resources

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