I was at Speakers’ Corner, in central London recently. It’s a place, where on a Sunday afternoon, orators assemble to explain their philosophy, talk about anything they want, and rant. Yes, some of them, unfortunately, rant. Not all.
That Sunday I learned a lot.
I listened to a ‘northern poet’ who had attracted a crowd of about fifteen people as he read and read and read the most captivating of his, original, poems. An amazing northern, droll, no-nonsense accent. I listened to someone else who shared about their being abducted by aliens. Fascinating. And I talked to another about their belief of chem trails, and yet another who spoke of global calamity this August, or was it September? I can’t remember.
‘I choose to fill my days with what I’m passionate about, and live with purpose.’ Ann Curry
I learned that some people are well-meaning, but could be wrong.
It’s a great place to spend an afternoon. Most speakers are ‘inviting’, most are at the very least entertaining, but some aren’t.
After they had finished speaking to the crowd I spoke to some of the speakers one-to-one. They shared several attributes in common: they were passionate about their belief, they spoke well, and most of them listened intently.
I learned that the best speakers also listen.
There were others at Speakers corner who were not so ‘inviting’, they were repelling.
‘Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another…’ James 4:11a
It breaks my heart to say this, but of the six Christian speakers there, five were of the ‘repelling’ kind. As a Druidic-Christian I am aware of the disparity between the love of the Christ and that love in our lives, and like most people, I admit that there’s a ‘gap’ and work on it – and where that’s not possible there’s always grace. However, those five group were shrill in what they had to say.
‘When the sage points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.’ Chinese proverb
For the first time in Christian company (for a long time) I felt like an outsider. Without knowing much about me, they hurled their brand of belief at me without really listening to me – apparently anyone who doesn’t think like them is going to hell. Me included! Inwardly I wept. Is that the kind of reception Mr and Mrs Public get from some Christians? So unloving.
I learned that for some their ego-dominance over others is paramount. So sad.
I remember a story of a monk who was travelling by a calm stream, and he saw a spider in distress floating on the top of the water, dying. He stopped, stooped down and reached out with his hand, cupping the spider, and gently putting it on the dry water’s edge. The spider bit him. The monk left the spider and went on his journey.
The following day the monk was walking by that very stretch of the river, and saw the spider in distress in the water. He stopped, stooped down and reached out with his hand, cupping the spider, and gently putting it on the dry water’s edge. The spider bit him.
On the third day the monk was walking by that very same stretch of the river, and, again, saw the spider in distress in the water. He stopped, stooped down and reached out with his hand, cupping the spider, and gently putting it on the dry water’s edge. The spider bit him.
‘Why did you do that?’, the monk asked.
‘It’s what we do!’, the spider said emphatically.
‘But, why do you keep rescuing me day after day?, the spider enquired.
‘It’s what we monks do’, came the reply.
It seems that, at Speakers’ Corner at least, there are those who ‘rescue’ and there are those who ‘bite’. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that that view is wider than just Speakers’ Corner in London.
Some ‘rescue’. Some ‘bite’. It’s global. All, unless they’re aware, keep on doing what they do, or at least ego-believe they should do.
I learned that the Biblical view of being aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing is, indeed, true. It’s just that, as I responded with inclusivity, peace, acceptance and love I was called the ‘wolf’ by those Christians, who saw themselves as loyal sheep. Apparently, not all that glistens is gold; not all those who claim the truth are speaking the truth!
I learned that some ‘sheep’ bite (but they probably aren’t ‘sheep’ at all…but that’s between them and the Source of All).
If you’ve come across such Christians – and such egotism occurs in all spiritual beliefs and religions (and I’ve found it even in Druids). Oh yes, wherever you find people and people-groups, everywhere you will find such unthinking ‘cutting-to-the-core’ attitudes and remarks. Then, if you’re trailing light and love, working in a way that is good and wholesome (whether or not the ‘crowd’ understand you) keep on doing good and don’t respond negatively, nor stop. That Which Is Bigger Than Ourselves has given you that work, that task, that ministry to do and no one can do it quite like you.
‘Energy and persistence conquer all things.’ Benjamin Franklin
Why should you keep doing good – rituals, prayers, energy-working, light-working, acts of kindness and service, paid work, voluntary work etc – in the face of such ‘biting’ negativity and opposition…