Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

The Kannon Sama statue of 40 tons and height of 25 meters fell due to typhoon in Okinawa, Japan, 2018.

When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
1 Samuel 5:2-3

After initially being terrified of the ark, Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? 1 the Philistines overcome their fear to defeat the Israelites, capture the ark of God and bring it to Ashdod, their principle city. This was considered a mighty victory indeed. Not only were the enemy trounced but their god had been captured, as if God were some kind of mascot or good luck charm. Assuming their victory came about due to the power of their own god, Dagon, the half-fish/half-man weather controller,2 the Philistines plonk the ark in Dagon's temple so the Israelite's inferior deity may serve their own. It doesn't quite work out that way though.

The following day the statue of Dagon is on its face before the ark. Coincidence, perhaps. The Philistines set the statue in its place. The next morning the statue is in the dust again—well, its torso is, the head and hands broken off were laid on the threshold of the temple. The Philistines are left with a choice: accept and turn towards the true God, or create a workaround to continue as they'd always done. They choose the workaround, making the threshold the focus they form a tradition to avoid stepping on it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.3

If the truth is too hard to bare when it confronts us we deny it, and cling to our habits and traditions, despite their flaws, or their failure to serve us in a meaningful way. Embracing radical new knowledge is sometimes just too overwhelming. "Setting Dagon up and gluing him together is easier than changing your life and your thinking."4 This is the conservative approach to governance: stay with what we know. The pattern shows up especially in our corporations and in our governments.

Every day we are confronted by some new information, some truth, at personal, corporate, community and global levels, and every day we make a choice to embrace or deny this truth. The larger the body of influence the slower the change. World governments are especially slow, and indeed are encouraged by their own electorate not to change. Changing one's mind as a politician is seen as a weakness, not a strength, and those that display this quality are ditherers, liars, turncoats, untrustworthy and indecisive. Our systems are set up in denial of truth, designed to remain as they are—until disaster strikes, and even then we find ways to work around rather than embrace the new reality as we struggle to get 'back to normal' as soon as possible. I wonder, what truth am I skirting around today?

1 1 Samuel 4:8
2 Dagon,
3 1 Samuel 5:5
4 The ark of the covenant among the Philistines by David Guzik, Enduring Word, 2018