preemptive positioning

Dr, Gary, Davis, restitution, reconciliation, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, posturing, positioningIn time of war a preemptive strike is meant to give “first strike advantage.” Strike first, surprise the enemy, and win the day. The same is true in much of the world economy, interpersonal relationships, and politics. It’s all about positioning. [I wonder if we even play this game with God.]  Humans tend to want the higher ground in all creation. We need to win, to be right, to dominate in business, in interpersonal relationships, and in our general mindset that—

I am always right!

            We hold and assert preemptive presuppositions on just about everything.

“There is NO God!”  “There is only One God!” 

“God is on our side!”

“Killing anything, anyone, ever, is wrong!”

“War is always wrong!”  “Peace at all costs!”

“All men are pigs!”  “All women are manipulative!”

“Eating meat is wrong.” “Vegetarians are stupid.”

You get the picture. We position ourselves as judges over other peoples’ life-choices so we can pontificate for our position. In so doing we dismiss their thinking with little comprehension, let alone compassion, for what they value and hold dear. THAT is what makes such positioning both presumptive and preemptive. We drift naturally toward winning the debate more than considering the person or society so different from our own.

            Is this what we want out of life? To be on top? To control? To win at any cost? Granted, there are many things worth fighting for; some worth dying for. But to start with a preemptive strike, and continuing to annihilate your adversary’s position, and/or life, does not add much to human dignity, let alone reconciliation and restitution.

            May I proffer that a preemptive strike may win the day, but hardly the war. For a peoples’ values and beliefs run deep; defeating your enemy may give birth to generations of aggressors against you. I’ve always found Jesus’ words to be of some value— “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Probably something we should all work at a little more. For it calls on the greater power, be it a nation or individual, to create a path of peace. This is hardly our world’s operating procedure today. Contrary to Vince Lombardi’s, Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, maybe it is the peacemakers who are the ones who truly win.

  Gary

Playing God

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, God, Playing, reality, pride, self-centered, atheist, beliefPlaying God. How many of us do this unconsciously every day of our lives. Of course, if you are an atheist, you cannot play; there is no one to impersonate. But if you are anything else you have probably wanted to be God in some situation or another. Sometimes, for the good—as in saving a life or preventing a disaster:  other times, for your own selfish control—you just want things to go your way. Everyone else be damned. This last reason is the most likely explanation why you are not God. You’re not that good at playing Him. It’s always too much all about you.

            Too many of us believe that playing God is about exerting absolute power over things. Some of the men I know try to do this in their immediate families with varying degrees of disastrous results. Fathers want to be dictators or drill sergeants, yelling out commands with unquestioned authority. Thank God He isn’t like that. To the contrary; he actually tells us what He wants from us, so there will be no question.  Psalm 51:16, 17 puts it best—

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Basically, outward shows of worship do not compare in any way with an inner understanding of our place in the universe. But why broken?” Really?!? Do any of us truly need to ask? Our propensity to play God is only usurped by our arrogant assumption to become God, at least of our own little realm.

            So thus do we come to play God with everything and everyone around us. Our species has a natural proclivity to assert ourselves. We are restless. We cannot wait for definition or direction; we must determine our own direction with only a casual glance to the impression we may leave on this planet, in the universe, or on other creatures. It truly has become all about us.

            We become the God we reject and complain when others will not play the game our way. And so follows war, cultural degradation, family dissolution, and a re-writing (in many forms) of the internally inscribed moral-code; for there is no one left to constrain us…; but us.

            Really!

            Though I am but one man, one human, of one species among many, I do have a sense that I am part of something far greater than myself. And though I do dare to play god at times, in my own little universe, I am always mindful that I am but a small player in a grand scheme, designed by Someone much more omnipotent than myself.

            So the next time you are tempted to assert your manhood, or your womanhood, or your position or authority over another, do so from the perspective that you are no greater than the God of the Universe dares allow you: and prostrate yourself before Him. Next to me.

  Gary

How to receive

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Gift, ReceivingFollowing my article on How to Give, my thoughts wandered to the other side of the equation. Namely, that some of us have difficulty in receiving gifts. In our day, even a simple gift gives rise to suspicion in the mind of the receiver that “there must be strings attached.” What does he/she want in return? I do not deserve this, so, what’s going on? Thus, another list. J

How to Receive A Seven Point Primer

  1. Accept the gift, responding with gratitude, without any sense of obligation to return one. To do so makes the gift a pawn on a chessboard; it becomes a game, barter, if you will, a contractual relationship, and lessens both the gift AND the giver.
  2. Admit that you do not have everything you need, let alone what you want. Distinguish between the two. Accepting a gift that covers a need is not charity; well, actually it is: but it is charity in its purest form— LOVE. Accepting a gift of desire, be it a gift card to Walmart or Neiman Marcus, are both gifts of love. Respond reverently. [note: I love white chocolate.]
  3. Accept a gift with thanksgiving, especially if given out of a sense of obligation. Whether in an office or extended family, many gifts are given out of a sense of obligation. [Fruit cakes come to mind.] Accept these gifts, no matter how horrible, with external joy and internal wonder. For even gifts of obligation are still gifts. Be thankful.
  4. Accepting a gift, given in sacrifice, will help you grow in humility. Receiving a gift can be particularly difficult when you know that the giver has sacrificed to give you this gift. For whatever reason, they chose to honor you with a gift of their hands, their labor. Why? That is their business. The fact that they have done so should elicit a great sense of humility in you.
  5. Accepting a gift, given in humility, will help you diminish your pride. If it does not, you have a problem. Some people have a grand sense of William Henley’s poem INVICTIS. I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.They are islands, standing alone against the foe, unconnected to family & community by stubborn pride. Gifts become challenges to their independence and individualism.

Really!?! Their pride is not a symbol of their strength, but a sign of their resistance in becoming part of anything beyond themselves. Isolationism in any form is not safe; it is dangerous. So come on, accept gifts given in humility with humility. Make sense?

  1. You cannot give what you have not received. Unless the love of God is in you, you will run out of strength to love others, and yourself. To receive God’s love is to enable yourself to give, and receive, with abandon. ‘Nough said.
  2. Remember, “To whom much is given much will be required.” Receiving gifts should empower you tremendously. Receiving a gift in genuine humility and graciousness will enable you to both love and give with little thought of what you might receive in return. Thus, though much will be required of you, you will be more than willing to give it gladly.

Thank you, one and all!

Gary