“Keep the rules, and the rules will keep you!” we were told

Most wars, genocides, and tragedies in history have been waged by unquestioning followers of dominating leaders. Yet there is a strange comfort in staying within the confines of such a leader and his ideologies, even if it leads us to do evil. It frees us from the burden of thinking and from personal responsibility. We are also creatures who love the familiar, the habitual, our own group; and we are all tied deeply to our early conditioning, for good and for ill. Most people will not leave the safety and security of their home base until they have to. Thus the Gospel call, again and again, is to leave home, family, and nets (Mark 1:16-20). Without that necessary separation, order itself, and my particular kind of order, will often feel like a kind of “salvation.” It has been the most common and bogus substitute for the real liberation offered by mature religion. “Keep the rules, and the rules will keep you!” we were told our first day in the seminary. Franciscans should have known better. 

From “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr