About two years ago, I was sitting in the general assembly of my cultural, artistic association, which is manned by several women, and one man, all practicing Christians who are living together as laymen, a decidely marginal way of living AND doing business these days that inspires a lot of mistrust in our current society.
(By the way, I COULD do a post about the peculiar status of the ASSOCIATION loi 1901 in France, which allows people to band together to do business WITHOUT MAKING A PROFIT on their activity. I suspect that the Association loi 1901 is ONE aspect of French society that is at least temporarily protecting it from the implosion that is going on in some Anglo Saxon countries that we won't name. But I COULD be ignorant on this subject. I am VERY IGNORANT. Lecter emptor. (Does that work ? I never did Latin in school...))
And while I was talking (this happens...) it suddenly HIT ME what Jesus meant when he said.. "Ask and you shall receive."
He wasn't telling people to get down on their knees, and pray to God to receive what they needed or desired. (Or at least if he was talking about that, he wasn't JUST talking about that.)
No, Jesus was A GREAT PSYCHOLOGIST (among his numerous other talents).
Because... he KNEW (and I KNOW TOO) that IF YOU ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR for what you need, and I mean REALLY ASK, putting yourself into that HUMBLE POSITION of saying to your neighbor that YOU ARE IN NEED, and that you think that HE can help you, well, and if you ASK HONESTLY, not for the moon, but sometimes you can EVEN ask for the moon, anything is possible FOR MAN (with God, I should say...), YOU WILL RECEIVE.
(You can connect with Rifkin now about empathy, if you want, Toby, although I prefer OTHER WORDS...)
Because... your neighbor really needs and wants... TO FEEL NEEDED.
It is an intimate part of all of us, this need to be needed. To protect. TO BE OF SERVICE.
It is a VERY STRONG part of every one of us, and one that it is very very dangerous to mess with, or thwart.
And... when we DELEGATE our capacity to serve to FACELESS, UNEMBODIED INSTITUTIONS, well, we THWART our individual day to day NEED to be needed, by the way. And it gets out of hand elsewhere. Like... among other areas, that ENORMOUS INSTITUTIONALIZED AND FACELESS SECURITY BUILDUP THAT IS ALL AROUND US RIGHT NOW. To... protect. To serve us (among other things, admittedly.)
Back to ASKING.
The ironic thing was that when I said this TRUTH about asking to my Christian friends, they smiled politely at me, like, I was some tiresome and naive child who really didn't know how the world worked.
As CHRISTIANS... they didn't believe me about what Jesus said.
That's really sad, you know.
Because.. asking to receive WORKS IF/WHEN you BELIEVE and WHEN YOU TRUST YOUR NEIGHBOR. When you have faith in HIM. (Careful... it doesn't always work, it's not a formula, and you can't PREDICT it all the time, there's no LAW to it. If it ALWAYS WORKED, well then you and I would not be FREE then, to GIVE or not give, would we ? But it works a lot.)
Otherwise it doesn't work.
I think that this is probably the most important post that I have written here YET.
There are some very very difficult and unpleasant things that need to be said about belief, and trust, too.
The ultimate symptom of decadence is unbelief.
Dixit Herbert, who could just about be another Bible for me. (But he's not as talented...)
I am one of the few people I know (!!!) to have read all the way through the Dune books.