Thursday, December 06, 2007

29. The Bureaucratization of the Church

Check out this quote from Peter Berger's book The Sacred Canopy. This guy even fore casted the seeker sensitive movement and the "marketing" of religious goods by churches to a pluralistic society. He was writing in the 70's!!!!

"The contemporary situation of religion is thus characterized by a continual bureaucratization of the religious institutions. Both their internal and their external social relations are marked by this process. Internally, the religious institutions are not only administered bureaucratically, but their day to day operations are dominated by the typical problems and “logic” of bureaucracy. Externally, the religious institutions deal with other social institutions as well as with each other through the typical forms of bureaucratic interaction. “Public relations” with the consumer clientele, “lobbying” with the government, “fund raising” with both government and private agencies, multifaceted involvements with the secular economy (particularly through investment)- in all these aspects of their “mission” the religious institutions are compelled to seek “results” by methods that are, of necessity, very similar to those employed by other bureaucratic structures with similar problems. Very importantly, the same bureaucratic logic applies to the dealings of the several religious institutions with each other.
Bureaucracies demand specific types of personnel. This personnel is specific not only in terms of its functions and requisite skills, but also in terms of its psychological characteristics. Bureaucratic institutions both select and form the personnel types they require for their operation. This means that similar types of leadership emerge in the several religious institutions, irrespective of the traditional patterns in this matter. The requirements of bureaucracy override such traditional differentiations of religious leadership as “prophet” versus “priest”, “scholar" versus "saint,” and so forth. Thus it does not matter very much whether a certain bureaucratic functionary comes out of a protestant tradition of “prophetic” ministry or a Catholic tradition of “priestly” one – in either case, he must above all adapt himself to the requirements of his bureaucratic role." Berger, Peter. Sacred Canopy p. 139-140

Especially interesting to me is his observation about the nature of intstitutional demands for personnel. If we apply this to the gifting in the body of Christ, just think about how many gifts are being wasted and under developed in the institutional church. the very nature of the institution does not allow giftings to operate. It is a black hole that is concerned about self preservation and maintenance. Doesn't it strike you odd that an institution can pretty much function without ever drawing on the rich fund of APEPT giftings?

No comments: