We Dig It
There’s something I feel I must say to you
Don’t get angry just because it’s true
This is something I feel I have to do
Now let me break it down for you
We dig it!
When we see those people with nothing to eat
Somehow it makes us feel more complete
So we dig it.
We see they’re so poor so we’re comparatively rich
But if it were not for them, there would be no rich
How would we know if we all had the same shit?
So we need the poor, ain’t that a bitch
Can you dig it?
Man, so and so’s kid is bad as hell
But it makes my kid comparatively well
So I dig it.
Now here is something else for you
Once again it’s extremely true
Someone has to be down to look up to you
So thank God for losers because I’m one too
Can you dig it?
If it wasn’t for the darkness
Would there be light?
So thank God for the madness
Does that seem right?
This is something I won’t explain tonight.
But still we dig it.
Now there’s one more thing I have to say
None of you are wrong today
If it wasn’t to be, it wouldn’t be this way
It’s all part of the process of becoming OK
Can we dig it?
Luke 18 offers a parable attributed to Jesus that tells the story of a man who, while in so called prayer, compared himself to other people and found himself to be comparatively righteous.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
How familiar does that sound? Have you ever looked at other people and thought like the above Pharisee? I’m sure most of you have. I know I used to and I would venture to say that 99% of Americans do. It is part of our indoctrination here. And I think it is safe to assume that this is done the world over to the same degree. It clearly was happening in Jesus’ locale and time and as we know it is still happening now. The fact is that most of us would have no concept of who we are outside of the context of other people. Like the Pharisee, we compare ourselves to others and either exalt ourselves or look down on ourselves in relation to the people we are comparing ourselves to. This practice is rampant in humanity and operates at every so called level of society from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. From the highest IQ to the lowest. From the least attractive to the most. Do you see what I am doing here by calliing up these spectra? When I say high isn’t that where you want to be? When I say low isn’t that what you want to avoid? The question is, who is determining what is “high” and “low”? As you can see from the parable, Jesus doesn’t use our standards of judgment. Most of us would be kissing the butt of the Pharisaical equivalent in our own time and circumstances. We’d believe his hype and step all over ourselves to get into his entourage.
I remember one time some friends asked me to play basketball. I tried to explain to them that I never cultivated my hoop game, but I was willing to play if they could concentrate on their game instead of mine. They played all of the time and it was a waste of all of our energies to compare my skills to theirs or to get frustrated if I passed the ball into the bleachers or dribbled on my foot. They assured me that they could live in the moment and just play for fun and drop the whole competitive thing. “We’re just playing for exercise”, they swore. Well, the game began and ten minutes in, I could tell that my partner wanted to punch me in the mouth. It would not have been the first time I was punched on the basketball court for “making someone lose”, so I knew the signs. But, this time I was playing with adults, so I figured the frustration would not get pass the evil eye and the occassional scream of “COME ON!” So I just did my best. We were only playing to 21 and my only goal was to make at least one basket before the game was over. I was actually having fun. I was in my own world, rating myself solely by how close I actually got to getting the ball in. Air, air, backboard, backboard, air, rim, rim, backboard. Then it happened. There was no hope. We were going to lose, but I kept playing like the game was as close as one of those Mighty Ducks movies.
According to programming, my teammate was dying inside. Why did he get me? “Pass the ball,” he yelled. I guess the possibililty of losing 21 to 6 seemed more appealing than 21 to 4. But I took the shot and by God’s grace, we were 1 point higher on the defeat scale. 19 to 7. I’m jumping up and down. I made a shot. And then the game was sealed as the other guys took it home. As they reveled in their glory and proceeded to throw it in my face, I said, “Yeah. You destroyed a guy who played the game 5 times in his life and only twice with other people. Woopity doo. But did you see that shot I got on you? I’m only 5’4″ and I got that shot over your 6′ head. How were you not able to block that?” Of course he looked at me like I was crazy. On top of that I took all of the fun out of his gloating. “If Jesus were calling that game he would have said I won, but who’s keeping score?” I added. After the dust settled and they decided that I was officially crazy, one of the guys asked me why I wasn’t bothered by the game. I told him that I knew one of us was going to lose. That’s just how it is. If there were no losers, there would be no winners. He needed me in order for him to feel like a winner.Because I knew that, in reality I had nothing to lose. My role completes the universal balance. It’s just how it is.
This is the reality y’all. The Universe does not need our judgment. It is pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things. When we compare ourselves to others and try to determine our status in relation to them, it is an exercise in futility. As long as we do that we will never be able to truly desire for the fulfillment of all life. How can we? How can we be happy for people if we think of them as being better off than us? How can we see eye to eye with those in temporary need if we think we are in a position to pity them or feel sorry for them? One of my favorite quotes is from the actor, Kevin Costner. I read an article he was featured in after he won a bunch of awards for Dances with Wolves. When asked how excited he was about all of the achievements he said, “Hey, I am just a guy living a life like anybody else.” And that’s it in a nutshell. We are all people living lives and making choices. Comparing ourselves to others and gauging our value based on what other people are doing adds nothing to our lives.
With this poem, I hope the reader is willing to admit that we have this tendency to compare ourselves to others and base our worth on a false sense of value, if in fact that is the case. We need to know that each and everyone of us is of infinite value to our Creator. Do you know what it takes to get us here? It takes everything. God does not hold back. God gives everything to everything. God literally pours God’s entire Being into everything that IS. And then once we become self aware or should I say self conscious, we begin the futile attempts to break it down, categorize it, and judge it according to our limited points of view. What if we could just stop it all? What if we could just be with each other, appreciate each other, and just live our lives together?
So the next time you catch yourself putting yourself down or lifting yourself up solely based on other people, just admit it. No one can really judge you, so don’t judge yourself. And as Jesus beseeched us, “Judge not, lest thou be judged” (by yourself).
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.