Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Engaging with Institutions as Living Entities
I was grateful to receive these reflections on the spirit of institutions from Michelle Bizek. I liked them so much that I wanted to share them here:
It seems to me that the term “institution” could be synonymous with a living entity composed of living, interactive systems and that the simplest expression of this living entity is the individual and more complex expressions include groups (i.e. churches, social clubs, Boy Scouts, etc.), businesses, governments (local, state, national), nations, and finally, humanity.
Each of these living entities has a spiritual ethos and I think if we look at the simpler human system and what influences and shifts it toward a healthier expression then those principles can also be applied to the larger systems. For example, we know that personal change is more efficient when we receive permission and agreement from the subject. Of course we can intercede and practice aggressive prayer for a person, but the effecting of change, most of the time, comes more readily when the person expresses permission for your influence and agrees to work with you toward change. It is like the difference between walking around the block praying for the person in house #123 or knocking on his door, going inside, and opening dialog
with him. Once you are inside talking with him you learn what he believes, how he thinks, what he values, his habits, how he makes decisions, his history, his fears, and his dreams. Now you can pray with greater specificity and he knows you are connecting to what is relevant to him. You are engaging the spirit of the man, freeing him from the “illusions spun over” him.
Taking this to the institutional level, I think that learning these same things about the institution will reveal the spirit of the institution. Once that is identified, abberations in the dominant
characteristics and expressions reveal “ the demonic…arising within the institution” and give us the specificity for targeted prayer for change as we “recall it to its divine vocation.”
Spiritual discernment will help us differentiate between the spirit of the man, the institution, the demonic, and the holy, and the information provided by each; this is essential for efficient prayer.
- Michelle Bizek