Soul vs. Brawn

Soul vs. Brawn

Soul vs. Brawn, Memorial Day essay by Polly Castor

Yesterday I conducted a service about “Soul and Body,” and I was inspired to use as a scriptural selection the story of David and Goliath. Usually I have thought of that story as one of overcoming intimidation, or using smooth stones (as in this poem of mine here).

This time, I saw Goliath, the giant champion of the Philistines, representing “material body,” with the confidence and hubris of large physical strength. David’s body, by contrast, was inconsequential, but it was the Soul (God) he represented that won the day. Typical of material strength, Goliath scoffed at the strength of Soul, which David represented, and this was a fatal mistake.

Are we trusting in Soul, and fearlessly running forward to represent it?  Or are we thinking that material largeness is what will win the day?

This is Memorial Day here in the US, and while I’d love to acknowledge sacrifices to patriotism, and I am in some ways very grateful for them, I find a need to come clean that I’m basically a pacifist. Like David, I’m disinclined to trust in physical strength as a way to resolve a conflict. I pine away for a day when we can all live in peace and love together. I know it is possible and I maintain that it is not naive to think this is true.

I see our problems these days as larger than nationalistic borders. Consider global environmental challenges, for example, as  chief among them. We need to solve these sorts of issues together. Our planet is getting smaller as we jet about and our information travels instantaneously, uniting us closely. Unlike David and Goliath, we are no longer one tribe against another, because in the age of nuclear weapons, our survival is collective or not at all.

And God, Soul, does not take sides, even though it seems like it in that story, where God backed the Israelites and not the Philistines. God is simply on the side of Principle, or rightful law-abiding good character, and there many people with exemplary behavior in every nation and group and race and type. God, our one Source, created us all to be Godlike, which means we can and should aspire to get along.

So while it seems good to honor those that fought for our freedom, I want to honor peace, and promote an end to violence in our time. Where is our holiday honoring multinational cooperation, or compassionate helping across borders?

In that spirit, may you and I commune with and exalt Soul today instead of brawn, loving mutual engagement instead of sacrifice, and hold up for appreciation the courage to find resolution instead of glamorizing the march into war.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


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