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The God Police

A Focus on Permission Structures

ARC Guide Level 1
Ideal for those already acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community

Photo by Phils Wei

When people are exclusive by nature and surrounded by symbiotic organisations and secondary interfaces we seek out permission structures. We already naturally act in a way that seems right to us but as a type of social insurance we seek permission to be and to act the way that we do. We justify our choice lifestyle by even more choice sources. We end up attributing to God the things we love the most about ourselves. When this remaking of God in our own image is paired with adversarial unity we begin to believe that if God is like us then He is not like them. After all, He cannot be both us and them at the same time and in the same way and so our lifestyle becomes characteristic of the way we believe God expresses Himself. By claiming to be the people of God without having to receive mercy for the way we are, we attribute to God everything we love about ourselves. A permission structure gives us the illusion of objective consent from God.

If we want act whatever way we want to act, the seemingly logical thing to do would be to renounce our faith in God and go about living how we want to live. However, the draw of objective consent is too strong to deny. It is why we desire increasingly diverse representation so strongly; we want permission from the perceived authority to live the way we want to live. Let me be clear, it is right that we should seek permission from God and act accordingly, but an exclusive people will act as the gate keepers to the judgements of God. The best we can do is offer public advice about who God is and what He has done, who we are and how we should live accordingly, but spiritual noncompliance is not enforceable by the people of God. We are not the God police.

Lest we think that building permission structures is all about getting what we want, it is also about trying to explain what we experience. It is seeking permission to be upset, to be angry–to kill, to mourn, to experience suffering and pain–to die. It is seeking permission to live the way that we perceive that we were born when it is not socially or religiously permissible in our circles and in the circles of those we love. It is permission to marry and permission to divorce. This is largely because our centre of control is not naturally in our own selves. We act with the crowd and very rarely will someone be overtly individual without the consent of their piers, and even then it is a shaky permission until enough people agree. We talk in our culture about empowerment; giving permission for people to exercise their own agency, autonomy and purpose. Permission structures can be as light and airy as a family or as dense and heavy as a supreme court ruling. How do we break the cycle? Who can give permission to not ask for permission anymore? This is why people cast fews, read tarot and angel cards, roll dice, throw bones and everything else that we use to gain that sense of objective consent from God or the universe. We want to know that what we are doing, saying, believing and experiencing are the right things to do, say, believe and experience. We don’t just use these alternative measures, we also use rationalism and logic as our permission structures as well. If something, ‘make’s sense to me,” why not do it, right? If an outcome is natural then it’s just cause and effect, right? ‘Nothing we can do about it’. We even cite our genetics to show that we have no say, or responsibility in how we live, and indeed that it would be immoral to go against all that has been preordained by the objective consenting permission structures that are our natural born bodies.

Needless to say, but we can see why many people religiously stay within the confines of their born permission structures, be they Hindu, or Christian or Muslim, or Judaism or whatever they be. I say, let God be God and people be people. Let God give permission and let us be inclusive and act accordingly.

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