First she talks about obedience from her perspective as a German, and I think that many of us in the United States should share such a shame as we are complicit in even more atrocities than the Germans ever were.
In public schools all across the United States students are taught to get up and stand in a line when the bell rings. They raise one finger to go to the toilet, two if they want to say something. (I can teach my dog more complex tricks than that.) The public school system does not prepare children to become thinking members of society, it prepares them for one of two things: obedience or prison. (Or leave, of course.)
But I see how they also set me up for a type of thinking that I would later have to abandon.
I eventually found the Episcopalians and that was a happy home for me for many years. As Soelle describes, it was less authoritarian and more humanistic. Episcopalians are not known for their obedience. Of course, not many of them disobey either. They are a tepid lot, and that suited me just fine. Obedience and disobedience aren't real issues in TEC. You work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. The church may or may not provide some guidance on that, and they offer the liturgy as a structure for you. But you're pretty much on your own. As it should be.
On the rare occasions where I found obedience an issue it only involved clergy, never laity, and there was capitulation, no real question about whether or not to obey. Mostly I've seen it used as a reason: "Well, I am under orders..." And later it will be used as an excuse, "Well, I was under orders..." Of course the ordination process weeds out any candidate who is not desperate for the approval of others and willing to do anything to get it. So they "obey" quite nicely. That is one of the ways that authoritarianism has been a hold-over even in the more progressive or humanitarian churches.
I was conditioned to be a compliant heterosexual woman. My mother even gave me tips on complementing a man. I was dressed in the finest petticoats and pinafores money could buy. Oh, and the patent leather shoes and socks with the lace. I had pretty little girl handbags and I knew the proper way for a lady to get in and out of a car. I waited for the gentleman to pull out my chair for me at dinner, and I smiled at all the right moments. By age six I was programmed for success as a Stepford wife.
Of course, we see how that worked out. For those of you who don't know, I didn't turn out that way.
I thought we had some very good material this week and I have lots more thinking to do. Thanks for your comments. I always find a way to read them all even if I don't respond.
With time to spare,