So much of our growth in Christ can be summed up as “growing up”. While never easy, becoming mature is often a matter of being attentive. Paying attention to God’s subtle direction. Richard Rohr speaks of the need of spiritual fathers and mothers, elders in the spiritual sense, who speak life into hearts of those in their care, guidance in listening to God’s voice. Without such guidance we may find ourselves erecting another golden calf.
In the absence of any central reference point or any real eldership today, seventeen-year-olds turn to their peers for pseudo-initiations. The blind leading the blind never takes the place of real eldership or true authority. When we do not believe in something, we will fall for anything.
The psyche needs a central reference point, and will create one. If God is not the “one,” then the Dow Jones Index or Rush Limbaugh will be. We will have a “one” whether we realize it or not. The First Commandment does us a psychological and spiritual favor by stating, “You shall have no god but me” (Exodus 20:3). If we have not been authored from above, we will give away our authority to what everybody else thinks, as Pilate did.
Without any experience of a Real Absolute, we are all “reeds shaking in the wind” (Matthew 11:7). In the absence of the true God, we are burdened with making our small selves into our central reference point, resulting in the abundance of narcissism we have today.