Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill; he was
born on this date, 1874
Churchill was, I suppose, thinking of those who “appeased” Hitler …. and with which he then had to deal as Prime Minister of Britain through the utter horrors of WWII.
I think of his words as a brilliant spiritual metaphor. Our “destiny” is to become a fully realized being ….. understanding that every religion has their concept of what that is. Christianity – at least the sensible and not the wackos of which we have so many these days, alas! – is clear: we are to “be as Christ”.
I see it this way: there are many things that work to keep us from becoming a fully realized being. Those are the crocs! It would be reasonable to think that we would not feed these crocs ….. but we do! I’m not so sure that I can say why we do this. Perhaps it is because it requires work to become human? That becoming fully human can’t happen without our embracing our destiny and committing ourselves to the journey? And that we human beings are by nature spiritually lazy ….. a deliberate design factor, an evolutionary dynamic, pushing us to commit our energies, without which we will fail?
My own besetting crocodile is Anger. At the burning core of my anger is my rage at the way Gayfolk – and I - have been abused and mistreated and lied about in human history. I have of course experienced this, and it has come from society, from the Bible, from Church, from every direction. Over the years, I have learned to “understand” ….. intellectually. I have learned to try and respond rationally to it all. But inside I seethe. My mind and my gut are not aligned. And I feed this crocodile. I keep track of all the discrimination. I don’t seek out ways of dialogue. I am “secure” in who I am, but I have yet, after decades of Christian life, been able to see homophobic people with an understanding eye. I can’t see their imprisonment, or be compassionate. While of course, being a follower of the Gospel of Jesus (as I understand it), Compassion is my path.
I guess I think that if I feed this crocodile, it will “eat me last”. But inside I know that this is not true. This is “the work of the devil”. Self-delusion. While I offer it food, this crocodile eats me. And I am kept from advancing towards my fully realized being ….. from manifesting the Christ within.
So: what is your crocodile? Advent is a time to bring the crocodiles into the light. I have often said that God can’t do anything to heal us unless we acknowledge both the sickness and our desire to be made whole. When the Feast of the Incarnation arrives on Dec 24/25th - that day when we celebrate God’s self-pouring into our Being - we need to be carrying the honest truth into that moment. If we’re not, the crocs will devour us.
Today is Spiritual Crocodile Day. Prepare to wrastle!