Without institutions, none of these changes could take place.
And yet, when it comes to religion--that in itself is a "dirty word" among many who call themselves "spiritual"--the idea of an "institution" is akin to the deliberate pollution of pristine waterways. It feels, to many, repugnant.
...the phrase “institutionalized religion” is so often used as a criticism...Yet it’s not a term we seem inclined to adopt as a criticism in other contexts. Few people would prefer we got rid of institutionalized health care or envision a world without institutionalized transportation. Whatever we do with more than a few people requires structures.Without institutions, society is adrift. Without an institution to guide us spiritually, we are each left to our own devices, to wander alone, without any connection to like minded people, except in the sense that we are all doing "our own thing."
In the social structure of the Church, a huge network of local communities is held together in unity, each community helping the others and all sharing a common task while each provides a specific place to recognize and bless the main events in life from birth to burial.
~Touchstone Magazine--Rest for Our Souls: Confession in an Age of Self-Esteem by Jim Forest
That would be horrifying if it took place within our system of government. Without a governing institution, common laws would be impossible. Without laws, our entire society would cease to function.
When we have a "society"--a group of people destined to live together--we must have groups--institutions--for the common good. The very definition of society is that of people living together.
When it comes to spirituality, mankind was created to live in society. In order to propagate the species, we must come together and try to live in harmony with each other. We must agree upon common goals to raise our families.
The Church is a necessary institution given to us by Christ to help us learn to grow in faith. Much of that growth involves our relationships with our fellow human beings.
Spiritual growth can not be done in a vacuum. Spiritual growth can not be done alone. It is not just between us and God. It is not about us "feeling" good about ourselves.
Life is about how we relate to each other. Religion is about how we relate to each other and to God. It is about holding ourselves accountable for our actions and living as God would have us live.