Saturday, March 18, 2006
"Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around,
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down.
Gonna stand my ground, and I won't back down.
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground and I won't back down." ~~ Tom Petty, "Won't Back Down"
"Look beneath the surface: never let a thing's intrinsic quality or worth escape you." ~~ Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"
"To refrain from imitation is the best revenge." ~~ Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"
"A perfect man would never act from sense of duty; he'd always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits, etc.) can do the journey on their own!" ~~ C. S. Lewis, "Letters to Children"
This is just me, thinking the way I do, all over the place. Lots to think about in this world. Lots to be distracted by, lots to be manipulated by, lots to be anesthesized by. How often I just let it happen. Ah, but there must be some element of hope if I at least notice now and again that this fog has crept into my thinking, my being.
I remember reading that Bobby Dylan said he didn't like to sit and watch T.V. because he felt that he was being manipulated. Perceptive, as always. Same could be said of a lot of our activities.
Have you seen that movie, "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius"? It's a good one. Very good. It's out for rent. In it Bobby Jones is provoked about his decision to remain an amateur golfer, even though he was the 'best golfer in the world' at the time. His response was that the word amateur comes from the Latin 'amare', meaning 'to love.' He said he remained an amateur because he loved the game. To become a professional would have meant that he loved money. Again, perceptive.
Another remark made in that movie is, "Money is going to ruin sports." That movie is set in the 1940's. Yep, came true.
Money has ruined music, too.
Well, there ARE places where one can experience REAL sports, I guess, where people play for love. Same with music. But as a whole, in our culture, the foremost displays of sports and music are a far cry from love, and a near cry for help. And for money.
"MONEY! It's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash!" ~~ Pink Floyd, "Money"
What else has been ruined by money? What hasn't been is a better question. I think of politics, formal education, churches,
Money is a good servant but a lousy master.
Some people seem to handle money pretty well, most don't. My uncle once said that it's good to know how to make money, but better to know how to spend it. Hmm. Some people do tend to sit on their piles of gold, letting that glittering greed define them. I wonder, if those people, who take such stock in money for security and definition, were to lose it, would they lose themselves? I think they think so. I think they think that if their pile was reduced to just what they need, no surplus, that not only would they not be safe anymore, or powerful, but they wouldn't be liked anymore and they would no longer be relevant. They'd disappear. Sad, to think that your contribution to society is based on whether or not you choose to share a smidgen of your pile, and sad, that your perceived value as a human being is directly tied to materialism.
Storing up treasure on Earth. Storing up treasure in Heaven. On Earth you get a bank account number (and/or a bunch of 'stuff') that means a whole heckuva lot to YOU, but when you croak, well, a lot of good it does you. In Heaven, amazing, the things you learned, the Truths you came to believe, even understand, well, they do you an eternity of good.
Money. Truth. Can one buy the other? Can money buy Truth? No. Can Truth buy money? No. Nope. It's an eternal thing that can't be manipulated by money. Money is trash compared to Truth, it's sewage.
But, oh, how excited we get when some of that sewage comes our way, and how much of ourselves we are willing to exchange for a little more of that glittery vapor and the distractions it can buy.
We don't have to love it for it to have an evil affect on us. It can fool us into thinking we are virtuous and before we know it, we are compromising our beliefs, our morals, j u s t a l i t t l e , for a little handful of the sparkling quicksand.
Money ruins a lot of things. Even people. Even us. Even me.
Good servant. Poor master. It's all about perspective.
"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'
"Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan!' For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" ~~ Matthew 4:8-10