Today we were thinking about 'authority' (which is to say that I was thinking about 'authority' and hoping that others were listening!) as a result of the Gospel passage given to us today - Matt 21: 23ff.
The episode of South Park which gave us the clip I have placed here always made me laugh. It also reminded me of much authority exercised in churchy circles. I am not here to talk about what authority is and its sources, but I wonder sometimes if we don't use it in odd ways or even wrong ways. The "it has been like this years so we will do it like that for ever" is one such way that the authority of time and tradition is used. Needless to say, it is the axiom of all anti-women dogma in church life.
Then you get the Cartman style of authority (see above) - exerted by coercion. It is the "I have authority because I say so and you can't stop me". We see this in church life in the hands of the passive-aggressives who rather than being overtly strong, are self-weakened so that we can keep our distance. This is a very significant source of much authority wielded in churches.
The thing about authority is that it is in larger part granted us by others. Be can't really take authority upon ourselves, but rather receive affirmation from others that authorises us to act or behave in given ways. Even us vicars are in danger when we start the "we are the boss so you will respect my authoritah" and it long since not been the case that Father is Always Right. So often mistaken for power, authority is granted not taken [apologies for the typo that inverted that statement]
Just saying ...