This is a guest post by Victor Lee Austin, author of our new title Up With Authority. Fr Victor is Theologian-in-Residence at St Thomas Church, Fifth Ave, New York City. The book is available in the US and will publish in the UK in October.
On the back cover of Up with Authority I am described as a “smiling contrarian.” That, my friends have since told me, is apt. Up with Authority is in no way a harsh book, as one might fear of an essay whose purpose is to show the inevitability and necessity of authority to human life. But it is definitely contrarian, in that it calls for the reexamination of many matters the reader might have thought of as settled.
An overview of the book
The point of Up with Authority is to show that we cannot succeed at being human beings—we cannot have a flourishing human life—without the functioning of authority in the multiple dimensions within which we live. I attempt to demonstrate this reality in four fundamental dimensions of human life that pertain to freedom, truth, power, and God. And I argue that this necessity of authority does not come upon us because of some tragic flaw in human beings. Rather, the necessity of authority is a manifestation of the glory of being human. Even “perfect” human beings need authority. In fact, my argument includes the claim that unsinful human beings need authority even more than sinners. Authority is built into what it means to be human, and we never will escape from needing it for our flourishing.