ok, I confess!! – I love top rank professional boxing contests – also MMA cage combat … can’t really say what it is, maybe it’s tribal, maybe I’m just a moronic brute? Maybe it’s the warrior buried deep inside? Maybe I’m simply deluding myself? Or it could be that I need help? However, I cannot but admire these guys nor cease to savour their exploits. … and to quote a Paul Simon lyric, “… just like a dog I was befriended…”
These modern day gladiators are often graduates of real hard-knock histories yet most of them even with the cold steel glares, snarling faces, rippling iron bodies, and layers of tattoos, are seemingly very religious people. I am always amazed how they virtually all spend a quiet few seconds at the start of the fight and just before pounding their opponent into a bloodied, messy pulp they can be seen dropping to their knees in intense, contemplative prayer to God. Perhaps this is done as a bid for their own protection but most probably for a resounding personal victory (as yet I simply cannot bring myself to consider for one second that they are praying for the well-being of their opponents).
Often I see both doing the same thing in their respective corners and at the same time.
In these moments I wonder whose side God is on. Is he on the side of the gladiator with the quickest fists, or the hardest jaw, perhaps the bigger muscles, greater muscle tone, or the fighter with the greater skill or perhaps the best and most experienced trainer …. You see, usually these are the ones who win anyway, so why pray in the first place? Why pray at all? Could God be on the side of the lesser athlete, the ‘underdog’? Does God tend to care for the weak more than the strong?
We might not be those gladiators, but whose side is God on in our tournament of life?
I am also amazed at how many belief systems believe God is on their side exclusively. Can this be?
Our history is littered with the broken hearts and even slain bodies of multitudes who paid the ultimate price standing up for their belief that God is on their side exclusively. Most of us wager eternity on what we believe, and we seem to do it willingly.
So, whose side is God on? Is God in the middle? And if God is in the middle or ‘neutral’ is the middle exclusive or inclusive? What if God is on neither side? What if God is on his own side … and what if we are on our own side?
What if there are no sides at all?
Maybe it’s all 360 degree, endless horizon?