|Posted by Cobaltsoul on May 26, 2010 at 2:23 AM|
The Jewish and the Christian traditions of spiritual community have at least one response to the reality of leadership power corrupting leaders.
Prophets were/are people, sometimes a whole group can have the same function, who challenge the formal and informal leaders of a community about the motivations and effects of their exercise of power within and over a community. They also hold the community responsible for what the community allows to become true of the life of the community, it's management, values, direction.
Prophets are rarely welcome, by either leadership or by the community. Prophets do not allow the hidden to stay hidden, they make life difficult for everyone. True prophets do not have self interest, or at least, their need or commitment to speaking truth is stronger than their self interest.
Prophets need to stand "outside" the community because if they become a leader within the community they immediately are themselves subject to the corruptive power of now being a leader people think of as "one of us" but who is not. Classic prophets are not seen by the community as "one of us", the classic prophet wields no influence, are not welcomed, are not rewarded. Any prophet who is welcomed and rewarded for speaking prophetically, inevitably moves from prophet to false prophet. They become just another of the power corrupted leaders in the community.
Prophets can be corrupted by their role. They can think they are always right, when in reality they are as likely to be wrong as right, to mistake their own likes and dislikes for perception of a larger Truth. Prophets can fool themselves into thinking they like being isolated and maligned. No healthy human enjoys being excluded from community. Once the prophet denies the pain of their isolation they will start to adopt attitudes and behaviours that have nothing to do with any truth, that serve only to magnify the "magnificence" of their isolation and weirdness. This prophet serves only the truth of how much they superficially enjoy their unique role as the Outside, the Rogue, the Mystery figure.
The more powerless the prophet the more chance their contributions will remain truly prophetic, potentially genuinely insightful and corrective if considered humbly by community and leaders.
Think about it.