David and Goliath

David and Goliath

Today there seems to be a great battle going on between the mega rich and the average American. According to Wikipedia in 2007  “the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.” [1]  I suspect that spread has widened greatly since 2007.

This is hardly a new battle. History is replete with example after example of this battle. Malcolm Gladwell in his book “David and Goliath” (2013) tells of some of these battles, starting with the title battle of his book. What is interesting to me is Gladwell chooses battles where the little guy, the underdog wins. He tells us how recognizing our weakness leads us to success even against the worst odds.

I believe “recognizing our weakness” is just another phrase for recognizing who we really are. All of us have weaknesses. All of us have disabilities. All of us are little people needing others in our lives to love us, to heal us and simply to be with us. Not all of us recognize this. Many of us think we are self-made heroes. Many of us think we are better than another person because of our economic standing, our education, or our position of authority over others (earned or bestowed).

Recognizing who we are is at the heart of Passionist spirituality, or any spirituality for that matter. Alcoholics’ Anonymous (AA) calls this step one: “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”[2] St. Paul says: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [3]

I think Mr. Gladwell would make a good partner and on top of that he’s a good storyteller.

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