The Great Equalizer
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
We live in a time under an intense delusion of inequality. I’m not taking about the shallow front page stuff that pits one race against another or one sexual preference against another. Most of these crusades are nothing more than this group or that group wanting special privileges and recognition under the guise of trying to convince others they are being discriminated against. They are reminiscent of small children wanting their way. The reality is they are so insecure that they seek outward sources of affirmation as their identity. They are like spoiled children wanting their way or else they will behave badly until they get their way.
The true inequality exists because of selfishness and greed. Because one group of human beings thinks they are superior to another they immediately begin to assert themselves over a weaker group of human beings and justify it by the proof that because they have displayed superiority over another weaker group. In reality the stronger group should be helping the weaker group to achieve the strength they have achieved or at very least form a community that allows the group they perceive as weaker to play to their strengths so the community benefits from everyone’s strengths. But this will never happen as long as baby is crying for his instant gratification.
This world is imprisoned by their ‘bellies’. Do you know what I mean by that? They are prisoners of their own making imprisoned by their appetites. They are addicted to self-satisfaction above all else. They are like screaming drug addicts crying out for their fix and willing to do whatever they have to do to get it which usually involves doing things they never would have done if they were not so enslaved to whatever the substance was that they were addicted to. Many are the stories of addicts who sell their bodies, commit crimes, harm themselves and others to get one more fix which is no fix at all but only serves to enslave them more. Addictions come in many forms not just drugs and alcohol. There are sexual addictions that many struggle with thanks to the open format of pornography on the internet. Anger can be an addiction. Sometimes a person may not just be getting angry at someone but their anger reaction has become ‘natural’ for them. It has become an addiction. Addiction to control and having power over others to the point of abusing someone else is another type of addiction. This can even be on a large scale where a very charismatic personality has taken control over a church or workplace or community. Extreme examples are cults.
One human being over another is nothing new. All through history we see those with superior military resources conquering a nation with a less superior military force. It was not uncommon for that conquering nation to make slaves of the nation they conquered; usually so thoroughly absorbing them that they were no longer allowed to assert or live by their civilization’s beliefs or lifestyle.
It has been the same with religion. When people began to institutionalize what living for God meant and created organized religions then the division between God and people became even bigger as people made up their own rules on how to live for and please God. As human belief systems developed they also affected our relationships with others. A hierarchy was put in the place of love and suddenly one person imagined themselves greater than another. And on it grew from Cain slaying Abel to the wars and divisions we have today.
You may be thinking, ‘But isn’t it true that someone has to be in charge and naturally others need to submit to the one in charge? How else do we have order?’ I submit to you that a true leader does not have to demand others follow him. A true leader’s gifts are apparent and arise naturally and are recognized as worthy of following. People will follow a true leader naturally. They will want to follow this person’s example and honor his gifts as they lead by being a servant to all.
Servant and being submissive are two words that most of us consider negative and we resist because of our pride and the fact that we misunderstand what these words even mean. The most broadly accepted definition of these words implies a person that is weak and can be controlled, one who bows before anyone who exerts a little more confidence or uses their superior strength to exert over another. We think of the bully vs. the bullied, master vs. the slave. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let’s put it in perspective. Do we mind serving our small children or taking care of an ailing friend or aging relative? Do we mind submitting to brilliant leadership that has the group’s best interest in mind? Do we mind doing nice things to a wife/husband/life partner that also is doing the same for us? Is it mistreating our children when we expect them to obey us unquestioningly (Because we love them and want the best for them, for their own safety and because they are not always old enough to understand why.)? In any of these scenarios (And I could give many more examples, as I am sure you could also if you think about it.) I am describing being a servant and being submissive. See what I mean?
No one is over anybody in the sense that they are better than another. Husbands are not over wives and wives are not over husbands. If any two or more people are going to work together it should be for a mutual benefit, it should be a true partnership.
Religions and civilizations come and go mainly because they operate with a hierarchy in mind. Marriages fail because you have two people trying to each be in charge and over the other. It is madness! Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone was given the opportunity and was nurtured in the gifts they displayed? Can you imagine how many diseases could have been cured by now if the motivation was not money?
I have only seen the solution spelled out in one source honestly and that is the Bible. Now throw away all your preconceptions and traditional thinking on that subject for a minute and consider what Jesus and the apostles taught objectively. Consider the statement made in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Right off the bat the playing field is leveled. Rich, poor, male, female, strong, weak, kings, queens…ALL fall short of the glory of God, we all are sinners in need of forgiveness. It is the great equalizer. Consider John 15. Jesus compares us to branches connected to a vine. We yield fruit according to how we are connected to the vine. We are useful and display gifts in proportion to the degree we are connected to that vine. People seem to have this need to classify themselves and establish hierarchy which more often than not either directly or indirectly says one person is superior and above another in some way. A hierarchy almost always stifles those less assertive among us and as a result we miss out on the gifts that they have for the community/partnership/marriage, etc.
Consider this: Who is worthy and most qualified to have the say about how an automobile is built and maintained? Why the creator of the automobile of course. We would be foolish to put water in our gas tanks in violation of the designer and manufacturer’s recommendations to put gas in the gas tank. It is the same with human beings, our creator knows what is best for us. That is one of this modern day and time’s worst problems. They don’t believe in a creator. It doesn’t change anything though just because we don’t believe in him. You can refuse to believe there is no car manufacturer/designer/creator all you want but put water in your gas tank and see how that goes for you. We don’t usually have a problem submitting to what the auto manual says yet the creator has handed down his instructions for human beings since their creation and we question its validity and consider it optional whether we believe or obey his recommendations. I’m not talking about the twisted interpretations that religions have come up with. Read it for yourself with an open mind and pray the eyes of your understanding be opened and you will see what I mean.
Consider Luke 22:27. In these scriptures we see Jesus saying “who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” What is He saying? Here is God, the Lord of the universe saying I am your servant. Matt. 20:25-28 He says: “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Basically He was saying only One, God, is our Leader, and the rest of us are brothers, sisters, servants of one another. A true leader is a servant. When we honor one another’s gifts we have no need to classify them as over us or under us. We yield to the area that God is using them in. We submit to whomever’s gifts are being used at the time. Let’s say you and I go on a some relief charity expedition in the jungle and I am going as your intern. Suddenly we get lost in the jungle. I know survival skills and you don’t. Whom is submitting to whom then? If you want to live you will submit to me because I know how to keep us alive and you don’t. See what I mean? I think the point of view is important because too many people follow someone legalistically because they are ‘in charge’.
Have you ever been passed by, ignored or overlooked because you weren’t considered that important? Sure you have. We all have. And to most people they accept it as the way of things. We all know of situations where someone less qualified was placed in a position. If we are operating with Bible principles though we look among us with God’s lead and find that person who is most qualified no matter who they are or what degree they hold. Most qualified does not always mean the most experienced either and it definitely doesn’t mean the most popular or good looking. God very often takes that which we would not have chosen and uses it greatly. Then God is glorified and not the person. There are so many examples of this in the Bible. How do most people get chosen? They are chosen like the people chose King Saul, because he was tallest among the people, big mistake (1 Samuel 10). God chose David who was but a lowly shepherd boy that his family basically kept ‘out of sight’ (1 Samuel 16). What about Jesus’ disciples? Rough old fishermen, despised tax collectors, doubters, cowards when it came time to stand up and be counted. At the crucifixion, they all scattered, Peter even denied Him 3 times. Need I go on? “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.”(1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
In Matthew 23:8-12, Jesus says: ” 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
This is radical stuff! But it shouldn’t be. It is taught all through the scriptures. Paul said in Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We don’t submit to leaders. We submit to one another and ultimately we submit to the creator who knows what is best for us because he designed us. If you don’t believe that, well keep putting water in that gas tank.
The apostles were called revolutionaries and rebels, accused of organizing nationwide rebellions and turning cities and even the world upside down. They recognized that there was no authority except God’s and that it is always necessary to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). When we truly comprehend this we know when to obey another person and we know when it is necessary to disobey. We are not to blindly obey any person in authority. We answer to a higher authority. It is because we understand this that we as followers of the teachings of Christ and the apostles can be the best employees, the best husbands, the best wives and the best and most effective servants in our individual congregations and communities we serve in. Why? Because we understand who our Lord and authority is and we love Him so much we cannot help but do the best jobs we can. Our responsibility is simply to be the servant of all. That is THE GREAT EQUALIZER.
“Throughout the years, I’ve seen a fair number of my family who have died leaving candles that have never been lit, appliances that never got out of the box . I have learned that silver tarnishes when it isn’t used, perfume turns to alcohol, candles melt in the attic over the summer and ideas that are saved for a dry week often become dated. I had a dream that when I am asked to give an accounting of my life to a higher court, it would be like this: ‘So, empty your pockets. What do you have left of your life? Any dreams that were unfilled? Any unused talent you were born with that you still have left? Any unsaid compliments or bits of love that you haven’t spread around?’ And, I will answer, ‘I’ve nothing to return. I spent everything gave to me. I’m as naked as the day I was born.”—Erma Bombeck (On subject of true giving
HOW TO BE HUMAN
By Benjamin ‘Raven’ Pressley
In my opinion, It has come to a time in history that we as human beings need to evaluate and re-evaluate who we are and what it means to be human. Human beings should not abuse other human beings. They should not abuse animals or this planet either but especially they should not abuse other human beings. In order for this madness to stop we need a change of heart, actions and behavior. It is time for a remnant of people to arise and commit themselves to look at the big picture and get their eyes off themselves and their causes for the sake of survival and the bettering of the state of all human beings. There are certain things we can all do that has nothing to do with our affiliation to any set of beliefs personal or corporately. I do believe we are all spiritual beings and we cannot accomplish this without calling upon a power stronger than ourselves because whether we agree with it or not humans are NOT basically good. Think about it. Is it harder to be bad or good? See what I mean. Yes, there are exceptions but the majority of human history has proven that people when it comes right down to it will do what is best for them personally and selfishly and look out for themselves or at best someone close to them or a closely held religious or national belief system. Regardless whether you agree with that it really comes down to which side of us we feed the most that has the most power over us. If we feed our selfish side we become more selfish. If we feed our selfless side, caring more about the big picture and how it is affecting others and the world we live in we become more selfless. Feeding that selfless nature rather than the selfish nature certainly has a better chance of survival and sustainability and the hope of a better world for those present now and in our future.
So, in an effort to raise awareness, empower us to rise above our differences and create a better more sustainable world community I offer the following tenets and challenges that I am calling ‘How To Be Human’.
- Treat others as you would have them treat you.
- No one is OVER anyone else. No one is better than anyone else. We submit to one another’s gifts and support those better at one thing or another in the interest of benefiting all.
- EVERY person has something to contribute to society and should be respected as such.
- When it comes to respecting and treating one another respectfully it does not matter who they are. It does not matter what gender, affiliation, nationality, religion, race, creed, physical challenges, mental challenges or sexual preference they are.
- Everyone should stand up for and defend those younger, weaker or innocent from those who would take advantage of them.
- Make ALL choices in life only after you have considered its lasting consequences on yourself, others and future generations.
- NO religion has a right to impose its domination on another by force, manipulation or otherwise.
- NO so-called family/co-habitation situation has the right to belittle, torture, abuse or torment anyone else in the family/co-habitation situation. This includes all forms of guilt, head games, manipulation, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse.
- No one has a right to punish someone else. Fair and just consequences should be allowed and applied to a situation that requires such a response only after the reward and consequences of certain actions have been made clear and are understood by both parties. This is especially true of the parent to child relationship. Imposing consequences to a child’s actions as appropriate teaches them real life lessons that actions have consequences or rewards and reinforces how we should be careful of the choices we make. All consequences and rewards should be used in a manner that restores, heals and teaches.
- All that we enjoy and participate in life should be with balance in mind. Balance, and as much as possible, equal time should be given to every activity keeping in mind that we all are mental, physical, spiritual and social beings and each of these facets of who we are needs nurturing and time.
- We must evaluate the foods we are eating and how we process foods and exercise regularly. Our food choices and activity level have lasting effects on our health mentally and physically.
- Creativity should be nurtured and encouraged when it is noticed in another person or in ourselves. This particularly applies to our children.
- Preserve the stories of our cultures and our history in as objective a manner as possible. It is not history if it is recorded in a biased manner painting one culture superior to another.
- We must learn from our past or we are doomed to repeat it, however, we are not to live in the past. What is past is past. We cannot change it. We can only learn from it and use what we have learned so as not to make the same mistakes again.
- We must recognize the value of REAL things and not build an unsustainable culture overemphasizing the value of currency. We must be willing to barter and trade services and products not just some form of currency.
- We must realize that passing laws is NOT the answer. People must be willing to change as a culture and care more for one another knowing that how we treat one another eventually will have unpleasant consequences on ourselves and future generations. The laws we live by must be written on our hearts not subject to corrupt enforcers and interpreters of laws written in books. Yes we must be willing to enforce consequences upon those who are menaces to society, others and themselves but passing laws cannot be seen as a solution to the ills of our society.
- We must maintain a warrior clan a.k.a. military. They should defend us from all invaders and enemies foreign and domestic. And they should be provided for by the people they protect. They should not have to provide for themselves for their daily needs. They are putting their lives on the line to defend us it is the least we the people can do.
- Holy men and spiritual leaders should not be financed by a government provided for by peoples’ taxes. The followers of a particular organized spiritual culture should be supported by its followers or by the holy person themselves. Followers of any spiritual movement should not be like dumb sheep they should think for themselves and not be afraid to question ANY spiritual tenet presented. And all of the other tenets in this list should also apply to any spiritual organized culture.
- All people have a right to bear arms and maintain whatever means they know how to use safely and proficiently to defend themselves and their families and communities. We cannot be totally dependent on a warrior clan, military or police enforcers. All sane human beings should have a plan and means to defend themselves, their family and their community.