Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church


Envy and Strife

Posted on April 04, 2009 by Alexander
All wars are for greed and power of an elite few.

All wars are for greed and power of an elite few.

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

It is the truth of human history that all wars began by an elite few who wanted to increase their wealth and power.  To persuade the people to join in the war,  an emotional moral point has been hyped up to rally the masses into  the conflict.

In this series in comparing the book of Ecclesiastes with Pink Floyd’s, “The  Dark Side of the Moon,” I have focused on the story line of the main character who goes mad in trying to cope with the world system, and  ends up with a lobotomy to find his peace.   But the musical genius of Pink Floyd’s band should also be remembered.  They created sound-scapes that fit the atmosphere of each song.  In “Speak to Me/Breathe”  the music creates the image of someone under water coming up for air.  In “On the Run” the image is created of one running out of breath as though on a treadmill going nowhere.  In “Time” the ringing of the alarm and the ticking of the clock creates the sense of urgency since time is running out.  In “The Great Gig in the Sky” an eatheral and surreal sound is created by the singers crying in desperation pleading to Heaven for peace on Earth.  In “Money” a pompous sound of a rich, fat cat devouring everything is his greed is created in the music.  The band members wrote this album with a stroke of genius.

One would think that a sound-scape on conflict and war in “Us and Them” would have explosive sounds as bombs dropping with gun fire.  But the genius of the band created a dreamy, hypnotic music instead.  For the truth is, no one in their right mind engages in warfare.  The only way for the elite few who create these wars to get the masses involved is to hypnotize them with moral rhetoric that creates a sense of outrage amongst the people.  Pink Floyd has dialog that is often hard to hear and understand in their songs, too.  The comments in the dialog are flashes of reality (although confused) in the midst of the dreamy hypnotic delusion that the world system creates.

Despite what government historians will tell us, the American Civil War was not about slavery.  The slavery issue was used as the hypnosis to get the northerners into the fight. Yes, it was a real issue, but the war was about state rights and the federal government’s quest for dominion of the states.  This is true for every war if one will examine the issues closely.

I am not  arguing for or against a just war which is usually is predicated on defending one’s self from an attack.  Solomon did say earlier that there is a time for peace and a time for war (Ecc. 3:8).  These are matters that one must pray about and follow the leading of the Spirit and one’s conscience.  But what I am pointing out is that in all wars, there is an elite few who are seeking their own gain at the expense of the majority.

Solomon observes the oppression of the few over the many.  His discourse on the topic contrasts wisdom and folly.  Only fools will follow these leaders into battle, which is the same theme that Pink Floyd uses in their mockery of war in this song.  Solomon concludes his observation that wisdom is better than warfare, and by wisdom people have been delivered from war, but the majority of people are fools who forget the wisdom that has saved them (Ecc. 9:17) and that it only takes one sinner to destroy the good of many (9:18).

The seasons of war end by the grace of God, and Pink Floyd unwittingly acknowledge this at the end of their song.  For they say, “The old man died.” The oppressors all die eventually.  Arafat is dead. Hitler is dead. And the world can take some small comfort that God brings death to the oppressors in due season.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 4

1  Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed,  But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.

2    Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive.

3    Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4  Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

5    The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh.

6    Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.

13    Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.

Chapter 7

7    Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe debases the heart.

8    The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

9    Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Chapter 8

9  All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

Chapter 9

3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

4  But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5    For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.

6    Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.

13  This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me:

14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it.

15  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.

16  Then I said:  “Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard.

17    Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.

18    Wisdom is better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good.”

8.  Us and Them
(Waters, Wright) 7:40

Us, and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me, and you.
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do.

Forward he cried from the rear
and the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
moved from side to side.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it’s only round and round.

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside.

“I mean, they’re not gunna kill ya, so if you give ’em a quick short, sharp, shock, they won’t do it again.  Dig it? I mean he get off lightly, ‘cos I would’ve given him a thrashing – I only hit him once! It was only a difference of opinion, but really…I mean good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh?”

Down and out
It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

Out of the way, it’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died.

James tells the Church:

James 3:14-16
14    But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15    This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16    For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.   (KJV)

The history of the Church parallels the history of the world in its warfare and strife.  The charge by those that religion has been at the root of all wars is partially true. For religion is self effort in righteousness.   A self effort that Christ died to remove, but the religious hold onto their self effort for they want the right to pick and choose what is right as a due for earning their own salvation. This should not be confused with the body of Christ who are those who let Christ live through them in ruling their lives.

The organization of Christianity has been just as guilty of warfare as has been the organization of Islam, and even Hinduism.  Sadly, through the organization of Christianity, the Church has been duped in furthering the agenda of the elite few who cause the wars.   The Church has mistakenly relied on fleshly means to accomplish spiritual ends.  From  the Social Gospel of the early 20th century which tried to feed the poor through socialism, to the culture wars of today that is trying to end abortion and homosexuality by legislative means.

Warfare in the Church continues within itself as factions argue over doctrinal distinctions that are academic in nature, but are held onto vigorously as their distictive that makes them more right than others. This is the pride of life that John declares in his epistle (1 John 2:16) that marks the world that we are not to love.   The mega-church pursuit by a pastoral staff is the lust of the eyes from that same verse.   The gluttony of Christians and the sexual immorality of both congregants and pastors is the lust of the flesh.

We are called to “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17).  That does not mean to hide in a monastery, nor live as a hermit.  It means that we are not to engage our selves in the pursuits of the world.  We are not called to transform society.  We are called to allow God to transform us, and for us to be vessels that God uses to transform others by our lives and witness.

Solomon told us that wisdom is better than warfare.  But wisdom is forgotten because so many are fools who want to engage in the pursuits of the world instead of dying on the cross with Christ.  We forget the words of Jesus who said that those who try to save their lives will lose it, and those who lose their lives for His sake will find it (Matt. 16:25).

Post Script 4/8/09
I meant to state this is in the blog, but was reminded of this in a conversation with a brother. The religious mindset is an “us and them” mentality. The religious interpretation of 2 Cor. 6:17 is that now that we are “in Christ” we should have nothing to do with those “outside Christ”. This attitude creates an false conception of God’s behavior towards those that are lost. It makes us think that God has nothing to do with people until they come to Christ, then they one of “us” and no longer one of “them”.

In reality, God is actively involved with the lives of every human being on the planet, lost and saved. He is working in their lives to bring them to Him, but He is also taking care of them by feeding them, healing them, and comforting them. The “us and them” division is an artificial religious point of view. There is no “us and them”. There is only “us and Him”. All of us, lost and saved, are in the same human boat in need of Him. All of us face the same troubles and joys of life together. Stripping away the religious mindset opens our eyes to see the work of God in everyone’s life, and the common plight of all mankind together.

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