What about when Jesus told Peter that he was the rock that Jesus would build the church on?
What about when Jesus told the disciples that they have the power to loose and bind sins?
In the Catholic faith, yes we have a Pope that helps us interpret scripture, along with the Magisterium of bishops. They don't instruct us in a vacuum, with no reference to scripture. Tradition and scripture go hand in hand. To me, it seems more arrogant to just dismiss over two thousand years of experience and only trust in the mere 40 or so years I've lived to make all of my religious determinations.
Yes, it is important to come to a personal understanding of what Jesus' teachings mean in one's own life. We learn the 10 commandments, but it is usually personal experience of the consequences of breaking them that brings home the idea "God knows what He's talking about when He gave us these rules." There is a place for taking teaching from authority, and there is a place for personal experience to inform teachings that we get from authority.
A thought or two about Mary. Doesn't it make sense that Jesus would want us to honor His mother? Doesn't it make sense that she is special to Him and that maybe He would give special ear to her requests to Him? God set up families, did He not? Our experience of them in this life doesn't change in the next. The special ties are still there, and even intensified. How many times in our own families might a child who has done something wrong go to his mom and say "Hey, can you talk to Dad for me and help me cushion the blow a little bit?"
Just trying to make the point that the idea of intercession is not as baseless as you might think.
Look, I agree there are entities out there who misrepresent who God is and what He wants us to do in the political realm. Individuals and groups do so to get money from us and try to pretend there's a difference between the parties that way. I used to think the R's were the more in line with Christianity, though I know better now.
Just wanted to put forth some thoughts in favor of authority in its *rightful* place, and perhaps a warning against rejecting *all* authority in favor of following only one's own thoughts and feelings
about who God is. Even when you think you are following scripture, sometimes more is needed to gain a full understanding of what you read. God knows this about the human mind, which is why He chose a human rock to build His church on, and not just have us rely on a book.
Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Mary, Our Mother, protect us under your mantle.