Aristotle wrote about meekness in his book on ethics.(Translated gentleness in the copy I have, but used the same greek word as Jesus used in our verse.)
For Aristotle, a virtue is found as a means between two extremes.
For example, overeating and anorexia. Virtue is found in the middle.
This always reminded me of Ecclesiastes where it says
“The man who fears God will avoid all extremes” Chapter 7
For Aristotle it was between ‘out of control anger’ and ‘apathy.’
The mean is meekness or gentleness.
So what does that look like?
What does meekness in that sense look like?
Hip-hop is an art, it is a culture, it is a movement. A movement of young intelligent poor minorities.
Many extremely intelligent poor throughout history have become violent revolutionaries. They have been lead by names like Che, Castro, or any of the early American revolutionaries that we now know as ‘For Fathers’
Many others, throughout history, have become apathetic or secluded.
But hip hop has found that median. Still angry about what is going on in the world but unbelievably controlled and yet out spoken and speaking out. It is non-violent resistance. It is of the same substance as the actions of the Gandi’s and the MLK’s. It is revolutionary. Meekness is humility put into action!
Hip hop, like Gandhi, stands opposed to corrupt leadership, oppression, racism, and the very systems that perpetuate them.
It is debatable whether or not hip hop is the proper vehicle by which to attack these problems but none of us could deny that it does attack them.
And we believe that the Church IS the proper vehicle with which to address them and I want to propose Hip Hop as a model of meekness and non violence while at the same time not being passive.
There is an old song that actually addresses the church about this.
Fishing for religion. Arrested Development
Grab the bait, grab the box and wait
And tackle and shackle the topic
The faculty has chosen
Chosen by many, chosen by plenty, chosen by any
Man or woman who can't understand the topic
That's known and go by the dock
Flock it clock the topic
As I drop my hook and get a bite
The reason I'm fishin' 4 a new religion
Is my church makes me fall asleep
They're praising a God that watches you weep
And doesn't want you to do a — thing about it
When they want change, the preacher says shout it
Does shoutin' bring about change? I doubt it
All shout does is make you lose your voice
So on the dock I sit in silence
Staring at a sea that's full of violence
Scared to put my line in that water
Cuz it seems like no religion's in there
Naively so I give it another go
Sitting in church hearing legitimate woes
Pastor tells the lady it'll be alright
Just pray so you can see
The pearly gates so white
The lady prays and prays and prays and prays
And prays and prays and prays and prays and...
There's nothin' wrong with prayin'
It's what she's askin'
She's askin' the Lord to let her cope
So one day she can see the golden ropes
What you pray for – God will give
To be able to cope in this world we live
The word 'cope' and the word 'change'
Is directly opposite – not the same
She should have been praying to change her woes
But pastor said pray to cope with those
The government's happy with most churches
Cuz we don't do a — thing to try to nurture
Brothers and sisters on the revolution
Church teaches dying is the only solution
Passiveness causes others to pass us by
I throw my line 'til I've made my decision
Until then I'm still fishin' 4 religion."
People ARE fishing for religion! Real religion!
What James says is this “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Lets visit the fatherless and the widows, the neighbors, the homeless (The mister Wendells), and lets be about something more than coping! Lets be about change. Lets be about revolution. Lets be peaceful, non violent, and unspotted by the world. Lets be meek and lets inherit
In Jesus Name!