I downplay obedience on this blog, and deliberately. Obedience is a virtue in childhood with respect to parents - but this blog isn't for children.
Obedience is the choice to substitute another will for our own, because that other will is better than ours, and because we judge our-selves incapable of agency. But that is Not our ultimate goal as spiritual persons; at most it is a means to the end of agency.
Obedience is not, therefore, a general virtue - it all depends... As an adult, there needs to be an embrace of responsibility, and the personal exercise of discernment. If you can discern an individual or an institution to whom you judge obedience to be due; then it can be a good thing - at least for a while, or under particular circumstances (such as illness, or disability).
But if not? If we do Not judge the authority of any other human person or institution to be superior to our own? If, on the contrary, we regard them to be corrupt?...
And that is precisely our cultural situation. We live in uniquely degraded times, and obedience to institutions is a short route to the extremity evil. Obedience to a superior individual who also loves you makes sense, if any such can be found - but there aren't many.
Obedience to God is therefore, for us - here and now - a direct matter. Most of us cannot (in all honesty, and with the greatest possible
consideration) identify any person or group whom we would trust above
our-selves to represent God to us.
We cannot, should-not, rely on the Goodness of intermediaries, our-selves being obedient to them. We need to reserve our discernment against a possible attempt to corrupt us.
At least that is my situation. I spent several years trying to find a church (or even just a spiritual adviser - one single man) to whom I could be obedient; but my deepest intuitions warned me off all actual available options. There were people from whom I learned - none to whom I dared risk obedience.
Such is the pace and scope of corruption of our time and place that I would find it hard to recommend obedience as a path to anyone, even when it comes to children in the best churches with the best track-records (parents need to stand guard, as back-stops). I fear that all of them are acutely vulnerable to corruption, even in the short term of a few years - and for this we must be prepared.
Instead of obedience in the traditional Christian fashion (as of a monk to Abbot, priest to Bishop, layman to Priest); I would recommend the same attitude as we adopt to a teacher of a skill or discipline when we are learning. We obey our piano teacher, or the doctor teaching us medicine - but only up to a point, and within a restricted scope.
I would go so far as to state that obedience, in its traditional sense, is neither achievable nor achieved in this era. Many of the people who argue the primacy of obedience from a stance of traditional Christian (or any other) religious practice, I simply don't believe practice obedience in that spirit that it used to be practiced. Although I would not confront them, in my heart I doubt their truthfulness when they say they do live by obedience. Whatever they actually do, it is something else than obedience.
All this cannot be helped. Indeed it is overall-good, because necessary.
(It is indeed a harsh lesson, is modern society; but only because our culture refused to learn the easy lessons. Until after the lesson has been learned, by each of us as individuals and society at large, that harshness will only escalate.)
I think of obedience in terms of the evolutionary-development of consciousness. We are now, like it or not - but we ought to like it - trying to develop from spiritual adolescence to adulthood. That is our unavoidable task; because we cannot become children again - and to remain stuck in the phase of adolescence is fatal: look around...
Some traits that were virtues in a child, like spiritual obedience, are not virtues in an adult