Saturday, 21 May 2016

Wrestling with truth

One of the dubious pleasures of 1970's TV sport, was the inclusion of British professional wrestling in ITV's 'World of Sport' programme on Saturday afternoons. Colourful characters like Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Pat Roach, Adrian Street and Big Daddy would, rather theatrically, try to force each other into submission.

Professional wrestling of that sort bred eccentrics. In an interview of the time, Welshman Adrian Street revealed that his hobbies were the making and painting of model soldiers, sculpture and the study of reptiles. Meanwhile, everybody's 'gran' was an avid follower of the wrestling. Mine would sit in rapt attention, with a bag of boiled sweets and shout at the telly. The events themselves were attended by large numbers of female followers.

The bout was over when one of the 'grapplers' shouted or tapped out submission, and the referee stepped in.  The rendering of the other as powerless was the aim. No freedom of movement,  Defeated. Occasionally, if it was sensed that the wrestler was in danger, his manager would literally 'throw in the towel'.

It is counter intuitive to read that there is a freedom in submission (Foster p138).

Foster makes the point that getting our own way, winning arguments, being treated well by others are those things we have come to expect as reflections our merit and aspiration. Submission to a contradictory discipline gives a freedom that stretches our heart towards God. By submitting to God and not ourselves we grow in grace, consideration towards others and unconditional love.

When I checked into a hotel this week, the room I was allocated was a quarter of the size of the one I had previously stayed in at the same hotel. It would have been good for my ego to have complained and been upgraded, Instead, it was good for my soul to remain where I was and learn to find something new and wonderful therein. Life is made up of hundreds of experiences of which this is one trivial example....countless opportunities to submit, be humbled and grow.

Submission is difficult, perhaps the most problematic of all of the disciplines. It reverses our desires and the compulsions of human nature. But without it, what are we? Without it we wrestle with the world, but not with the truth.

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