what about, “go buy a sword/gun/knife/weapon to defend yourself?”
I lost a cup of coffee this week with my friend whose father was an ultra-conservative southern preacher. I should know better than with southern folks, they do read the bible whereas, in my old conservative denomination, there is the element of spirituality and mysticism that I don’t see much in the western churches of the developed world. I found there is more beyond the rules, regulations, and legalism that is preached from a pulpit but seeking that might cost you to give up everything, thus, it is harder than just checking the boxes on a list and thinking, "I am a good person checklist."
the coffee wager was that Jesus said did not say was ok for his disciples to go out and buy swords perhaps I see so many guns and carry permits in the USA, then the police force is reminding me more of a military force, and then the military has some really amazing weapons, yet, how often do we ask them to pretend to be police forces in conflicts…confusing no?
maybe my views have changed because I spend a lot of my life in a country loaded with machine guns, people respect the rules, and while the European concept of intimacy with someone not in your family or who you do not have a DNA strand from them, terrifies many, and one could make the case for a slightly “boring” society by our standards with the “wild west” – there is a lot of good from a societal level in that you don’t see the fracturing and breaking apart of the social fabric of humanity like I am witnessing in the USA these days.
I can’t find the quote, but it was about how change and new ideas usually start out as radical and cause quite a disruption and commotion, yet, over time, it can become the norm for something. my problem in the USA is that we have allowed our people (the humans) the ability to go off and do actions that we deem insane, for example - shooting up a school, waffle house, or a country western show, and we consider it almost normal.
“no problem, just arm everyone and place bulletproof everything on everything…don’t allow anyone to carry a backpack, or if it is, require it to be constructed of Kevlar mesh..”
“wouldn’t it be easier to hold people behaviors accountable? it doesn't mean you can’t agree with something, but you hold the teacher, the policeman, the parent as something with respect.”
“what are you, brain damaged? think of what a hit the economy would take if people behaved better…I mean we would have a lot of unemployed military, police, prison workers, social workers, gun makers…”
“and what is the problem with that? humans are amazing tool makers, yet it stymies me why we are an extremely adaptable species, yet we seem to want a life with no change in it…ever more, just comfort.”
“that's because pain hurts. we developed an entire industry to minimize pain.”
“I know, both legal and illegal medicine. but are we treating a symptom, or are we trying to actually look at the cure for our problems?”
“but that would mean someone would have to experience some pain, won’t it?”
“isn’t pain nature’s way of saying, “hey, something isn’t right here. how will we ever feel anything if we keep walking down the path of seeming insanity?”
“at least it will be painless. that's good no?”
I am not very good with satire, and I know that trying to be funny can backfire easily – but what I wrote is an example of what I think when I see some of the insane behaviors in the united states. it is like with politics and everything else lately. if people realized no one is perfect, and that while society allows one to feel they are better than another or have more money or power than another – we all are going to die, and life is very short.
in hindsight I look back at my own goofy life, which is more like a, “prodigal son having a Damascus road experience while being a, doubting Thomas.” when I found the worlds way of living to be more like eating a meal that never would fill you up, and met an old man in the desert who’s look in his eyes did more to allow me to experience more than the rules, commandments, traditions, and legalism of organized religion(s) ever did.
(the prodigal tagline should I ever write a book about the good/bad/ugly of the spiritual walk around this earth)
how is the world going to ever change if we simply keep building up the industrialized military and security complex and no one lays down their weapon and looks at his enemy and asks, “do you think we can find a better way to live together on this planet?”
as much as I can try to make humor out of it, the greatest freedom each of us has is “choice” on this planet. again, I am speaking from a person who grew up believing in the idea that we lived in a democracy, where all men are created equal, and there were fairness and decency between human beings. As I aged, and traveled the world, I think the issues with greed, race, creed, color, caste, class and the reality of various economic and political beliefs around the world have shown me that human beings are probably the biggest threat to the long term survival of our species, as we have somehow taken the ideas of greed, lust, materialism, envy, vanity and all the other vices of life and created a world where we don’t really look much at the internal in each human – rather – in the west it is a very external view of life.
just look at the news each day. is it about reporting the news, or is it about manipulating the truth with lies, creating an image of something perfect and wonderful, yet, behind the scenes one sees the sad reality that each of us is flawed – yet – how often do we actually accept that anymore and instead point the finger of blame, file a few lawsuits, and completely gloss over the actual problem inside the person.
it is like a guy we are working with, he is a brilliant mind, yet, the dude has issues and for the life of him can’t see or does not want to see them. the story we are told is that someone laced his drink with a hallucinogenic substance and he had an episode. I type this a bit incredulously, as I don’t think taking any empathogen is a wise idea, or needed. so I have heard the “I was dehydrated” or “someone spiked my drink” story too many times over the years. what is the truth?
that truth can only be known by the creator of the universe and you yourself. but to look in yourself, I won’t lie, at first is terrifying, particularly if you have built up layer upon layer of the image and/or cover-ups for your heart and soul.
this message was going to be a lighthearted writing about coffee, bible quotes that don’t or do exist, and truth and the psychology of “cleanliness is next to godliness” and “God helps those that help themselves.” but in the 10 minutes (perhaps more today, as I don’t really know what I typed here) I will close with what I read upon reading the chapter in Luke 22: 35-38 about the swords. my confusion comes from trying to walk out the one commandment I don’t hear spoken much or taught in the legalism and traditions of man – it basically says, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and body…and make sure you love your neighbor as you would love yourself (enemies included)
we live in an eye for an eye world…we are arming ourselves not because a gun has a purpose in allowing for hunting of food, but it is slanted ever more based on the idea of providing security for our fears and insecurities that reside inside ourselves. in a sense, it is almost like hiding out painkillers in our modern society. feel pain? take a pill. feel scared or insecure? buy a gun. A bit blue? have a drink. are you feeling stressed? go eat that pie? unhappy in your relationship? have an affair. the short term of all these work fine, but in the long term...not so good.
why not take some time to look inside yourself, as that is the only thing you can actually change on this planet. which leads me to the closing footnote that was in one of the bibles I read…that has me a bit confused with the actual meaning, since Jesus isn’t here to ask.
“the sword is not to be understood literally but refers to the living world of god in the battle against sin. st, Ambrose adds an additional meaning; that giving up one's garment and buying a sword refers to surrendering the body to the sword of martyrdom. because the disciples were thinking of swords literally, Jesus abruptly ends the discussion with the words, “it is enough.” or better translated, “enough of this.”
when will, if ever, the people on the planet might wake up and ask, “enough of this greed, lying, cheating, stealing, hating, anger, resentment, envy, controlling, pride (and all the other vices) and look inside ourselves to realize that we all are neither really good, nor are we all terribly bad…but we get to make a choice as to changing ourselves, and if everyone else does it at the same time and doesn’t medicate the pain of the symptoms, and works on the root issues – we could probably make the world a bit better to live in.
all I have resonating in my mind right now is the answers that everyone in my German class in Switzerland gave when I asked them (all were refugees, some with hair-raising stories that humbled me with my “problems” in the western way of thinking) “what do you want?”
“I simply want to live the rest of my life in peace.”
I don’t think we will have peace on earth, but I keep praying for it to happen. it might happen after we get off this world, but the truth is, none of us really knows. all we have is faith…the belief in the unseen. although I also have this idea that one day science and spirituality will come together at the same access point and mankind might think, “wow, we were pretty stupid wasting our time protecting our fears instead of letting them go to love.”
I have not one clue where these thoughts and words came from…may they touch someone in a good way, just like what I learned and have to ponder by losing a cup of coffee over a sword and its meaning.