Getting a second opinion is a sound idea. Sometimes a new perspective will notice something that the old one missed. But when it comes to Christianity, in some things getting a second opinion is like voicing one’s doubt for the veracity of the first opinion.
In recent years, America has woken up to it’s privileged position and the problem that creates. People realize that there issues they can neither see or comprehend in the same light that others do because of their differences. To resolve this, communities are coming together to hear the perspective from all members of the community.
But when I look at the church, I tend to see an overwhelming number of them still exist in that privileged zone. Even the ones on the internet that display their staff usually have middle-aged white men as the majority of people in charge. The opinions of women, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and other ethnicities in their communities can easily be over-looked when they aren’t the concern of the people who make the decisions.
It’s all in the priorities, really. I saw this in my last church. A deacon felt that his favorite teaching was being denied, so he used his position to press for that teaching being accepted and taught more frequently. He did not speak up for other interests. I often wondered, what if that church had different sorts of leaders? Men and women, Caucasian, Latino, and African-americans? Would they have heard second opinions on that teaching and considered it less than sound? What about the other church where a deacon felt it was better to keep the soup kitchen closed than to affect repairs to the building? Why didn’t he speak up for the woman who ran that ministry?
The problem isn’t always that we have the same type of leaders, but we have virtually no disagreement among them. If the deacons never refuse the pastor, then what will the pastor be able to get away with? Almost anything. And most of the time they can’t even see how problematic this is.
Historically, the worst abuses of human rights has been when one privileged group took advantage of less privileged groups in their midst. Eventually, the world saw the evil that was going on and slowly began to correct what went wrong. We saw that ethnicity was not an indicator of superiority. We saw that color was not an indicator of superiority. We saw that wealth was not an indicator of superiority. We saw that having a second opinion corrected everything that was wrong with the first.
Spiritually, we’re at risk of making the same mistakes as the world has. The leadership proves that by it’s lack of diversity. It’s lack of different opinions being voiced and weighed in light of the evidence and experience of all of it’s members. So whatever the first opinion is, that’s what we’re not allowed to question. We can only hope that our leaders will act as a check and balance to each others power, but that’s not given.