Theatre III – Cocoonianity
“So you, also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty (Luke 17:10).” If ever there was a nugget intended for 21st-century Cocoonians, this is the one. I swear Jesus knew Cocoonianity would be a huge 21st-century problem, so he made sure to leave us a custom nugget with our name on it. Hold on tight, my fellow Cocoonians, because we are in for some turbulence.
Black friends, don’t get all smug and snickery here, as if you’re the one who’s not in trouble taking delight in the discomfort of the one who is in trouble. We’re all in trouble, but you’re just not in as much trouble—this time around—as your white neighbors. So watch out!
Now back to you, my white brothers and sisters whom I love so much! Caesar said you had to let blacks into your schools and you did it. Caesar said you had to let blacks live in your neighborhoods and you did it. Caesar said you had to pay black employees as much as you pay white employees and you did it, more or less. Caesar said you had to pay more taxes for subsidized housing and food stamps and Affirmative Action and you did it, did it, did it.
Now, when you’ve finally done everything you’ve been told to do, you’re not asking much in return. All you want is maybe a gold sticker and a pat on the back, and who can blame you? Nobody, that’s who!
Well, almost nobody. As you’re sitting there in the classroom of life, looking forward to being recognized and thanked, in walks Principal Christ.
He doesn’t seem to be in a bad mood, so that’s a good sign. In fact, he seems to be in a very good mood, so that’s a very good sign. All of a sudden you’re no longer thinking handshake and lousy gold star. You’re thinking much bigger. You’re thinking Lady Leg Floor Lamp. You’re thinking “Major Award” for your exemplary racial altruism. Woo-hoo!
Then, as you’re halfway out of your chair and on your way to the front of the classroom to humbly (cough! cough!) accept your Major Award, Principal Christ looks at you and loves you and puts you right back in your chair with these stunning words: “So you also, when you’ve done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”
Really? You gotta be kidding. Seriously? Sear-e-us-lee? Here you’ve done everything—absolutely everything—Caesar has told you to do, and now this Principal Christ comes along and says you should do even more? What kind of school is this, anyway? What kind of Principal is this? It’s just not fair. Wahhh!
When we were children, if we did everything we were told to do, we stayed out of trouble but that’s about it. Our parents and teachers were looking for more. They were looking for initiative, creativity and discipline. They were looking for excellence.
As employees, if we do everything we’re told to do, we get to keep our jobs and receive occasional, miserly raises, but that’s about it. Our employers are looking for more. They’re looking for initiative, creativity and discipline. They’re looking for excellence.
As humans, if we do everything we’re told to do, we get to have a clear conscience and feel like we’re better than the average human, but that’s about it. Our Creator, Principal Christ, is looking for more. He’s looking for initiative, creativity and discipline. He’s looking for excellence. And why is he looking for excellence? Because he deeply desires to hand out Major Awards. He wants his hand to be freed to throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that we will not have room to store it, so that it will overflow onto others as well (Malachi 3:10)!
In the War on RD, Principal Christ is looking for excellence from us, not from Caesar. After all, we’re talking about a guy who once passed up a chance to be king on earth so that he could one day be king of the universe (John 6:15)! The greatest government in the history of the world—which might well be the U.S. government right now—is not so much as a bug on Principal Christ’s windshield. He has big fish to fry and he wants us to be the cooks.
Caesar’s idea of initiative is to pass laws. Caesar’s idea of creativity is to throw confiscated money at every problem that shows up on his radar. Caesar’s idea of discipline is to enforce this law. Caesar has little initiative, less creativity and even less discipline. He is not excellent and never will be because he is not a spiritual being and, by spiritual definition, it is therefore impossible for him to excel.
The true Christian church, meanwhile, is capable of unlimited initiative, creativity and discipline. Our hands are not tied like Caesar’s. We, unlike Caesar, are entirely free to go for the gusto and excel!
This is where Cocoonians come in. Whites, you are more likely than blacks to want small government. That’s a good thing. What’s not a good thing is that we Cocoonians look down our noses at those who want big government—i.e., more handouts and more protection—while we ourselves are every bit as dependent upon big government as they are. This is just about the ultimate hypocrisy, and if you don’t think Principal Christ gets worked up about hypocrisy, think again: In Mt. 23 Principal Christ goes on his longest recorded rant, and his entire speech is directed against hypocrisy.
Oh, we Cocoonians don’t depend on Caesar for handouts, but we depend on him nonetheless. We depend on him in a way you may not have thought about.
We depend on Caesar to make changes he will never make and to solve problems he can never solve. We know that Caesar is not a spiritual being and therefore cannot make even a dent in the spiritual problem of racial dissonance. We know that all Caesar can do with a spiritual problem is throw money at it and make laws against it; he can use only worldly weapons which are useless, in the long run, against a spiritual foe. And yet, as long as Caesar is making laws and confiscating our money, we use Caesar’s actions as our excuse for not rolling up our sleeves and helping more.
Thus we withhold our initiative, creativity and discipline—our true excellence—from those in need, pointing our fingers at Caesar as the cause of our negligence. We make our involvement in the War on RD dependent on what Caesar does, all the while knowing with absolute certainty that Caesar will never solve the problem and therefore we will NEVER have to participate in the War on RD with anything other than our confiscated tax money.
Day after day, year after year, we Cocoonians depend on government to write us an excuse to stay out of the War on RD. That excuse reads something like this:
Dear Principal Christ,
Please excuse Whitey from helping today as he is very sick. He is very sick of his tax money going to waste on angry, ungrateful black people.
Now, will Principal Christ accept our excuse from Dr. Caesar, or will he tell us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s? Will he accept our excuse or tell us that we are the salt of the earth, and that because we are the salt of the earth, Caesar’s intrusion is no excuse for us losing our flavor? Will he accept our excuse or tell us that we are the light of the world, and that because we are the light of the world, high taxes are no excuse for us hiding our light under a bushel?
These are rhetorical questions, of course, because we know Principal Christ and we know his views. We know, deep down, what pleases him and what ticks him off. Principal Christ is not about to call you and me to the front of the classroom and pronounce, “These folks have served me well by minding their own business.” No, instead, he’s going to leave us in our seats so that we won’t be singled out for humiliation when he reminds us of a teaching he taught long before he was promoted to administration, back when he was teaching every day.
Paraphrased, that lesson goes like this: “Woe to you, Cocoonians! You drop a little sumpin’-sumpin’ in the church basket each week but you neglect much more important things like justice, mercy and getting your hands dirty for no reason other than to glorify God. You should keep giving every week at church but you should also raise your game. As it stands, you’re just blind guides majoring in minors, which is why major spiritual problems like racial dissonance never get solved! (To read exactly how Jesus puts it, see Luke 11:42)
Jesus says that after we’ve done all we’ve been told to do, the door to excellence is opened. And we can step through that door simply by asking what any good servant would ask: “Will there be anything else, Sir?”
Any servant who honestly believes that he or she has only done his or her duty will often ask, “What’s next?” What’s next is initiative, creativity and discipline. What’s next is excellence. What’s next is that we stop depending on Caesar, loosen our death grip on our wallets, turn the page and start conquering some real ground in the War on RD!
Be street smart yet harmless. Peace.