May 6, 2012: Weaklings with STRONG Faith

Posted on : May 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

One of the things boys learn early on in life is that boys like to fight.  I honestly don’t know if it’s genetic, hormonal or learned behavior; but I do know it’s true.  In my circle of friends who have children, there seems to be an awful lot of girls and surprisingly few boys.  It may well be that girls tend to hang with girls and boys with boys, but the ratio is totally disproportionate.  In my family I grew up surrounded by boys.  My Mom, bless her heart, had three boys.  My cousins were two boys and one girl.  Our neighborhood was 90% boys.  Boys were everywhere.

I am convinced there is a huge difference between boys and girls.  When five and six year old girls are together, they laugh and giggle and play well together.  There’s an occasional meltdown and hurt feelings but they make up much easier than boys.  Put five and six year old boys together and the testosterone automatically kicks in.  It doesn’t take long before someone gets punched or hit and the tears start rolling.  Put them back in the sandbox and soon one boy will be hitting another.  Black and blue marks become a rite of passage for boys.

Yes, boys do like to fight.  And, that’s a difficult reality when you are a gay boy who doesn’t like to fight!

This Sunday’s scripture is a boy’s story.  It is about two big boys, fighting it out – David and Goliath.  Every time I see the new TV ad for “AndroGel 1.62 ®” I think of the David and Goliath story.

OMG, here’s this middle aged guy with graying hair surrounded by letters and numbers that make him look puny and an erector crane hauling a bunch of fake plastic letters and numbers.  His obvious weakness is to be made strong if he uses AndroGel 1.62%®.  In case you don’t know, AndroGel 1.62%® is a testosterone supplement.

In 1998 Pfizer Pharmaceutical Corporation pulled off the unthinkable.  They convinced millions and millions of men that they understood a guys’ fear of impotency.  Yes, they were selling men product based on “feelings!”  See, the Impossible IS possible!  In true male fashion, it didn’t take long to figure out what’s good for the weak is even better for the strong – so to speak.  And now, teenagers are seeking prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs.

It was this same testosterone laden world that led David and Goliath to fight.  The Philistines were “The AndroGel 1.62% Team” and they sent out their most valiant warrior, Goliath.  Put together Viagra® and AndroGel® and read the first paragraph of the scripture below. It’s a hoot!

Then along comes the “girl-ish” David.  He tries to “man up” by referring to Goliath as “this uncircumcised Philistine” whom he’s going to take out.  So, they armor-up little David with a bronze helmet, a heavy coat of arms from head to waist, probably made of leather and metal, and a sword over his armor, and then he’s humiliated.  Poor little David can’t even walk with all this armor on!  So he takes off his armor and decides to confront the Viagra®-AndroGelled® Goliath as he really is, instead of the warrior he wishes he were.  He’s a shepherd boy with five smooth stones in his shepherd’s bag.  Goliath taunts David saying, “Am I a dog that you have come to me with sticks?”  And David yells back, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the living God of hosts, whom you have defied.”

Now in this text David is made out to be the weakling.  He’s described as “comely in appearance” – that meant he’s effeminate. He looks like “a girl.”  It’s that horrible put down that every gay boy dreads especially from your pubescent peers.   But David grows into himself over time.  By the time he is chosen as King of Israel, he’s described as drop dead gorgeous.  He has a harem of wives including the stunning beauty, Bathsheba, and of course dear old King David has Jonathan, “whom he loved even more than his women.”  That’s a direct quote from scripture, not me!  [2 Samuel 1:26]

Peel away the testosterone and the androgyny and this story is really about weaklings with a STRONG FAITH.   The only reason I’m alive today is that I was a skinny runt who could run faster than my older brother.  I know for sure that more than once he would have killed me if he could have caught me.  His mantra in adolescence was “Might makes right.”  He was a total jock and outrageously strong.  Like I said, the only reason I’m alive today is I could run faster than he.  Thankfully, later in life he learned the lesson of the David and Goliath story: “Might does not make right.”  The strongest do not always win.  And of course Jesus transposed these categories of power and might as the words of one of our favorite songs say:

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”;

Let the poor say, “I am rich”

because of what God’s love has done for us.

In a world where we are quick to resort to war and militarism, where bullying and bashing are common every-day occurrences, where the poor are becoming increasingly powerless, where the Pope complains that a bunch of Nuns (Religious Sisters) are spending too much time and energy speaking for the poor and not against homosexuality and abortion, in a world where multinational corporations wield unbelievable power, we are given this message of God’s Truth.  The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is about changing power dynamics.  What counts is not testosterone, but faith.  David may have been a weakling, but he had a mighty strong faith!  Same for us!

Blessings, even as we are rising,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

I Samuel 17

The story of David and Goliath

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle.  And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail {a heavy coat of arms from head to waist, probably made of leather}, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.  And he had massive amounts of bronze upon his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.  And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him.  And he shouted out to the Israelites:  “Choose for yourselves one among you, and let your warrior come down to me.  If your warrior is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against your warrior and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

And David went to Saul and said, “Let no one’s heart fail because of Goliath.  I will go and fight with this Philistine.”  And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine, for you are only a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.  But David said to Saul, “I, your servant, used to keep sheep for my father; and when a lion, or a bear, came and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and killed it, and delivered the lamb out of the animal’s mouth.”  Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail.  And David girded his sword over his armor, and he tried in vain to move, for he was not used to them.  Then David said to Saul, “I cannot move with these; for I am not used to them,” and David took off all the armor.

Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s bag.  His sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

The Philistine came and drew near to David with his shield in front of him.  And when the Philistine looked, and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and comely [effeminate] in appearance.  And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog that you have come to me with sticks?”  And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the living God of hosts, whom you have defied.

As the Philistine drew near to David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his fact to the ground.

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him.  Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took Goliath’s sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed Goliath.  He cut off Goliath’s head with it, and when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

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