how we look

Yesterday I came across this passage in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart:

"You say that there is one supreme God who made heaven and earth," said Akunna on one of [the missionary] Mr. Brown's visits. "We also believe in Him and call Him Chukwu. He made all the world and the other gods."

"There are no other gods," said Mr. Brown. "Chukwu is the only God and all the others are false. You carve a piece of wood--like that one" (he pointed at the rafters from which Akunna's carved Ikenga hung), "and you call it a god. But it is still a piece of wood."

"Yes," said Akunna. "It is indeed a piece of wood. The tree from which it came was made by Chukwu, as indeed all minor gods were. But He made them for His messengers so that we could approach Him through them. It is like yourself. You are the head of your church."

"No," protested Mr. Brown. "The head of my church is God Himself."

"I know," said Akunna, "but there must be a head in this world among men. Somebody like yourself must be the head here."

"The head of my church in that sense is in England."

"That is exactly what I am saying. The head of your church is in your country. He has sent you here as his messenger. And you have also appointed your own messengers and servants. Or let me take another example, the District Commissioner. He is sent by your king."

"They have a queen," said the interpreter on his own account.

"Your queen sends her messenger, the District Commissioner. He finds that he cannot do the work alone and so he appoints kotma [court militia] to help him. It is the same with God, or Chukwu. He appoints the smaller gods to help Him because His work is too great for one person."

Despite what we say we believe as Christians, others see our actions. They see that our God needs functionaries and delegated authorities to manage his work, because it is "too great for one person." Or they see us as a human organization like any other, just with a different religious myth to hold it together.

But Jesus said we have one Master, and we are all brethren (Mt 23.8-10). And that God Himself would be in direct contact with each of us, inspiring our work and showing us what he is doing through us and others:
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing....

"You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (Jn 15.5,14-15)
This is very different from every human organization, and it should look different in practice, and so direct attention to the One God of All.