Posted by: owizblog | April 30, 2014

BBC Radio Scotland Thought For The Day 30 April 2014: Govid and Deliath

If there’s one fight that has spilled out through the saloon doors of the Bible and sprawled into our culture, it’s that between David and Goliath. Has anyone ever cast themselves as Goliath? Invoking David-and-Goliath makes it a virtuous fight, a Biblical license to forget odds, and consequences, and get righteously stuck in.


Over against the gripping tale of shepherd-boy and giant, here’s a thoroughly boring parable from Jesus.  A leader, marching to war against an enemy, does an audit of his forces. He does the sums, and says to himself “This isn’t going to work…” So without dropping his guard, he opens talks… His calculation is that the other man, at the head of his forces, is also making a calculation. Neither is David, neither is Goliath. There are other possibilities…


Ukraine has us all thoroughly spooked, with reason. Yet I was taken aback, scanning through the papers and news outlets yesterday, at my response to several headlines to the effect that Moscowwas worried about NATO force movements in connection with the Ukraine situation. The first one I came across, I thought I’d got it the wrong way round. That can’t be right! Goliath is without fear.We know who, in this, is Goliath, and who David.


That’s such a dangerous paradigm. What if their thinking mirrors ours, in the conviction that we are David, ranged against Goliath?  When people are ranged against us in our heads, it’s monumentally difficult to think of them in a way that isn’t “them and us”, and, by implication, black and white. It doesn’t just become difficult to see things as they do, it can seem like naivete, folly, or even  treachery when someone suggests that they might have a perspective that we need to understand. Not “accept”, not “endorse”; understand. The situation. The thinking behind it. What’s going on, and how to deal with it justly, effectively, without whitewashing real wrongs and injustices.


Hard-headed realism is a difficult business. David and Goliath thinking is seductive, addictive, dangerous, precisely because it’s cool to be David. I know what I’m talking about. I’m a Queen’s Park supporter… 

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