When we are young and inexperienced we think that we are alone and separate in our individuality. We think that we are autonomous and can do what we like.
What we discover, however, is that we are intricately linked to all of mankind, even life itself. We are interdependent and must take our place in the scheme of things.
This is not to say that we are totally passive or subject to the perceptions of others, we can still assert ourselves or challenge others' prejudices or stereotypes.
But we are not alone.
We are to some extent a product of the perceptions and conceptions of others, especially those in positions of authority over us.
This is not to apologize for a hierarchy. In fact we are all equal. But authority adds power to some perceptions. We can submit to these authorities or challenge them if they offend us.
We can pray about them.
Jesus said, "'And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father - the one in heaven.'" Matthew 23:9 (NRSV)
God will deliver us from oppression. For there is no authority greater than God.
If God is doing something new then there must be change.
Some precepts must be challenged.
"God does not change." I hear you say.
Perhaps not, but our perception of Him changes. It evolves as we emerge from the darkness and begin to see more clearly.
Not everything that is written is true.
It is a mixture of light and darkness.
The darkness oppresses us.
The light liberates us.
The darkness is fear.
The light is love.
(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.)