Living Waters

"If you knew the gift of God, you would ask of Him, and He would give you living waters." John 4:1

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WHY DOES NO ONE HAVE SYMPATHY FOR GOLIATH?

No one has any sympathy for Goliath. He is a true Rodney Dangerfield character–he “don’t get no respect.”

But think of this character. He must have spent years cultivating his intimidating bully stature. Countless hours learning to wield that massive sword and propel that intimidating spear. Developing just the right snarl and scowl and how to throw his considerable weight around must have taken a good deal of effort and practice. And the armor! How long did it take to develop the physical (and mental) layers  carefully ensconcing his hulking bulk? Talk about hidebound.

Then there’s David. Nimble and bold, courageous and humble at the same time, he danced well outside the range of Goliath’s weapons. Though he, too, tried on the armor and the sword and the spear, he was never really in danger of Goliath’s methodology. Instead, he came to the fight in the name of the Lord, with five smooth stones and a bag full of confidence. David put a rock in his sling, swung it and let fly. He easily felled the giant. We all love to identify with David.

INSTITUTIONAL GOLIATHS
Let’s face it. No one feels a pang of pity for Goliath, yet metaphorically how many of us are intimately involved with a Goliath of our own? First, the giant institutions of our culture: education, government, corporations, medicine, religion, the industrial-military complex, political and other parties, even the social-family structures we inhabit. Carefully hedged about with traditions and red tape, bureaucracy and groupthink, ritual and rules, institutions can operate in our experience like Goliath did with David. They force us to come to them on their terms. They proscribe the attittudes and activities of our lives.

And then there are the Goliaths of our own making: beliefs and patterns, addictions and blind spots, habits and demons, all bullying us and forcing us to operate within the box of their paradigm.There is no possibility of winning when we fight them on their own terms. So what would happen if we met them with love instead?

Rather than fear and flee our Goliaths, or conform and be subjugated by them, why not face them and understand that you don’t have to be afraid of them? Love is the easiest way to stop fearing something. Love Goliath because of what you learn by taking him on on your own higher terms.

Goliath had a whole traditional army shaking in its boots. No one wanted to fight him because they were all operating within the same paradigm where Goliath operated best. Everyone was invested in the laborious routines and realities of bigness and bullying. Yet, the most fortunate thing that ever happened to the Goliath worldview was David. A stone that hits an outmoded Goliath in its forehead can be the most effective way to save us from ourselves.

NEW PARADIGM
What would happen if, instead of feeling subjugated and intimidated by our Goliaths, we developed some sympathy for their unenviable, untenable position? They really aren’t so strong after all. Why not turn the tables so they can welcome that smooth stone right between the eyes? Like the Berlin wall, it could be love and unity and a new way of thinking that cuts Goliath down to size.

Probably the biggest Goliath faced by mankind is the victimization from matter itself. Conventional thinking forces us to take matter on its own terms, to be subject to it, bullied by it, helpless in its path. From this worldview, we don’t see what the new physics is telling us about the nature of matter. We don’t see the implications of understanding that it just isn’t the fearsome monolith it appears to be. It is actually stodgy, hide-bound belief.

Matter, newly defined, is not a solid self-acting substance. It is actually empty space within which operate forces of attraction. Particles change their behavior simply by being observed. The old belief is that this only happens on the quantum level. The big Goliath in the room is this belief that the everyday level of matter is still solid and unchangeable

David, in this scenario, is a wholly different paradigm. This new model operates from the standpoint that observation and thought are what determine the behavior of everything material “out there.”  All the old rules topple.

WE SEE WHAT WE BELIEVE
This isn’t actually a new idea, although science is just catching up to it. It permeates Jesus’ teachings and is found throughout the Bible and other religious teachings. Jesus changed the behavior of “solid matter” by choosing to see heaven on earth right where trouble appeared to others. His understanding of the nature of matter enabled him to see water as solid enough to walk on and walls permeable by a human body. To Jesus, the invisible God was all- powerful Life and Love, actually operating on the everyday level. Knowing this, Jesus governed his own experience, and that of others, for the better.

Goliath is an extreme form of the physicality that ruled in the ancient world, and still does today. David and other seers were aware of another level of existence. It takes boldness and courage and humility to act as if matter is not running the show. It isn’t self-acting nor the governing principle of the universe.

A little sympathetic understanding of the true status of matter and mind can actually help us fear its conditions less. We become more willing to peel off the armor of belief in matter’s all-power. The less solid our belief in material Goliath’s power over us, the more receptivity we have to new ideas represented by David’s smooth stones.

One such stone is that we see what we believe, not what is actually there. Belief can change for the better. Jesus healed people by changing their beliefs. If we let this hit us right between the eyes, what are the possibilities?

REGRETS

Across the pond, bare branches of cottonwood
Are festooned with white egrets
Spare, elegant, fashionable,
A spire embellished to celebrate the end of winter

Then one by one, plumage spreads wide, necks stretch forth
Long legs launch, rising in lazy arcs,
Egret after egret wings off, disappears on the horizon
Each in its own direction
Leaving bare branches waiting
For aromatic green shoots to break forth

My mother called these poplars “sweet balm” trees
Emerging leaves release honeysuckle
Scent of spring–then burst into shimmering
Swirling, dancing, shining, laughing greenery
Exuding fragrance amid clouds of wispy cotton

Lodged in the branches of memory
Regrets spread their wings one by one
And lift off toward far destinations
As far as east is from west
Presaging perfume of revival

Branches lighten buoyantly
Green shoots of spiritual growth
Burst forth, enveloped in the
Sweet balm of forgiveness

JESUS HELD UNCOMPLAINING GUARD OVER THE WORLD

“Jesus held uncomplaining guard over the world,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy.

In an era of intense clannishness, Jesus steadfastly promoted universal and impartial love and respect. He ministered to Jew and Samaritan, to Romans and other gentiles, to male and female, to child and aged and in between, to rich and poor, to honest and dishonest, to soldier and civilian, to in-groups and out-groups, to rulers and slaves.

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GOOD BUSINESS IS NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY

success isn’t always measured in money

Money. Few people seem to have enough, whether they have $20 or $20 billion dollars. Money has been credited with meanings like power, security, oppression, opportunity, selfishness, freedom, manipulation, generosity. Yet money is essentially a neutral means of exchange. It makes a good servant but a poor master. Money can even rise to the role of god, and then society suffers. Many love money, but money can’t love them back.

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