Nope, this post isn’t at all about tech, however it needs to be posted, as the person who relayed it to me doesn’t have a blog and the dirt is just that good…
Now you’ve probably heard of “turn the other cheeK” and thought it was a total wuss thing.Real men fight back, right?
Not if they can make the offending party look like complete fools/idiots/animals. A strong man fights back. A stronger man sits there, taking the heat and deflecting it back in the face of the attacker.It’s a martial arts principle; why use one’s own weight in fighting when you can use your opponent’s?
Granted, deflection means you’re still getting a full frontal assault, but doesn’t it feel so much better when the person who’s trying to hurt you makes a fool of themselves? The gamer community has a few words for that: Epic Win for you, Epic Fail for your opponent, p0wnage (and spelling variations thereof) for the amazing irony that is the act itself.
So how does this tie into Christianity? First, let’s examine “turn the other cheek”. From here on out, I’m paraphrasing a paraphrase, so while the content may be profound, it certainly isn’t original…
So someone strikes you on the right cheek, with their right band, basically performing a back hand aka pimp slap on you. It’s a demeaning gesture, and you shouldn’t stand for it, right? Correct. Turn the other cheek. Now before you pass me off as a doormat, let’s look at the mechanics of the next blow, should the attacker take it. Either he uses his left hand for a backhand, or he executes a punch with his right. Going back to the Middle East in pre-modern times, you used your left hand for bathroom duties, so a blow from that hand would be considered unthinkable, something absolutely below the belt. The alternative, a right-handed punch, isn’t dishonorable; it acknowledges the attacker and attacked are equals, not a master/slave situation. So the attacker, when faced with the turned cheek, is basically given a taunt of “come on,make my day”; the choices are to bring you up to this level, bring himself down to an extremely low level, or walk away looking like an idiot. Pwnd.
The second example of basically flipping the bird at your oppressor in an oh-so-Christian way: cloak and tunics.
A tunic is an undergarmant of sorts. A cloak is an outer garmant. Those were the sole garmants of that period for the average Schmoe. Say someone sues you and the verdict is that your tunic be taken. Pretty dishonorable, right? Losing your shirt typa thing. So you offer your cloak as he takes your tunic. If he accepts, he dehumanizes himself, as he’s leaving you stark naked…very bad PR move there. If he refuses, he looks like an absolute idiot, see example one. Pwnage parte deux.
Part three? Walking the mile…
So you’re a Roman soldier. You can pick any person off the street in your empire, except another Roman citizen of course, and make them carry your gear for a mile, a thousand paces or two thousand steps to be exact. Beyond that, it’s illegal to make people go farther, as in major punishment illegal. The logical “back atcha” move here, though it involves carrying the burden for awhile longer…and that burden sure is oppressive when forced on you…is to try and walk another mile. Fearing reprecussions, the soldier has to run after you, demanding his gear be returned him. Again, oppressor Bob looks like an idiot, and you win. Pwnage grand finale.
The common thread here is that the actions of a foe are turned on themselves, leaving the attacker sad panda style, or at least rather embarrased. At each juncture, the oppressor has oppressed, and you’re taking a risk when you make the next move that the loser who made you walk a mile might be callous enough to make you walk another, however at that juncture you’re put in control of your own destiny, with the ability t throw the attacker completely off-balance. That’s gotta feel so good.
Heck, Jesus did some Eppic Wins Himself. In the Garden of Gethsemene, when the Roman equivalent of the junta bodyguard came to take him away, they had to ask which dude was the one they were to capture. When the person to answer was the person to capture, they were taken aback. Here was a man obviously willing to take risks and be incontrol of the stituation, even if that involved making bluffs that would undoubtedly be called, leading to a rather painful end.
Even when subjected to the preferred execution method of the day (you know, crucifixion?), Jesus was in control. His remark that he could dwarf theRoman army (all of it) with angels of his own at a word wasn’t an idle phrase; when you’re the son part of a triune Deity that created the earth the Romans walked on and the atoms from which the soldiers, their swords and their shields were made of, there’s no problem in calling up a few divisions of the heavenly military to clean things up. So yes, Christ was in control. You could say it was defeat, but built into that defeat was irony so strong as to be called…wait for it…victory.
So next time you see a doormat loser with a cross around their neck, rest assured you’re not seeing an accurate representation of the deliciously rebellious faith that is Christianity. Granted, it rests on trust that God will take you through the time in the arena with the lions, but with that trust you can say “I’m not gonna fight, I’ll sit here and pray and make the people who put me here look like jerks\dogs\inhuman\idiots”. And mean it.
Of course, I’d at the same time argue that deathly irony isn’t always a solution (righteous indignation turned a profit center back into the front grounds for a worship center if I recall), and that in another sense Christians are all losers (we’re lost without Him) but you definitely don’t have to be blown in the wind to be moved by the Spirit…
Sorry if you came here expecting to see a tech blog, all tech all the time. To tell you the truth, faith (with a little moderno-retro-techno philosophy on the side) are as integral parts of my life…scatch that, more integral…as the plethora of gadgets that are nicely tucked away or randomly amassed around my aparment and back home in Texas.
One last thing: if you’re on Facebook, I did one of those random posts today about various attributes of mine, or something like that. You know, the questionaires that you take when you’re really bored? Not saying I was bored, but if you know me well enough to be my Facebook friend, and you want a deeper look into the enigma that is moi, click on over to my profile. The note in question is near the top of my feed at the moment.