Archives for posts with tag: New Years

There once was a champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, who came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”

Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear.

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.

And thus began the proud tradition of calling yourself the morally righteous underdog, despite having superior weaponry, killing an unprepared competitor, and brutalizing a fleeing population.

 

This year I was hoping to help people with some resolutions. As everyone knows, New Year’s resolutions inevitably end in failure, so I’m hoping to offer a couple that will make a difference even if you only do them once.

  • Read books on topics written from perspectives with which you disagree. And I do mean books. Something with citations in the back. A Youtube clip of someone condescendingly explaining how right they are using only the evidence of how wrong their opponents must be based on the actions and words of a few individuals from within that group doesn’t count. We are stuck in a world where passivity leads to echo chambers that are far too easy to get lost in, with their warm, self-righteous comforts. We must actively seek out opposing views if we’re ever going to grow.
  • Express your own opinions. As terrible as that Youtuber truly is, they are still progressing their own terrible views. They own that. It’s their face, their voice, their words. They can’t escape the responsibility of that, and that is tremendously admirable. Re-posting that video, sharing a meme, or even posting an article distances you from that culpability. You no longer become the owner of your own thoughts, and you can maintain that distance as a means to never feel as though you are wrong. Did the meme you just posted make a generalization about a certain group? Oh, well you didn’t make that generalization, so if someone disagrees with that, they’re not disagreeing with you, they’re disagreeing with your ideals which are only partly exhibited in your meme yet are still wholly represented by it. This only ever leads to petty arguing. If you have something to say, say it. Even if it isn’t flowery, or powerful, or maybe it is too flowery to the point of being alienating, it is still yours. You can never add your voice to a movement if you never actually use it.

These are not difficult things to do. All they require is openness and authenticity, but I fear there will be more people lining up for gym memberships that they will abandon in two weeks than there will be willing to try either of these. Feel free to prove me wrong though, and I’ll be quite happy to own that.