I got to thinking about the use of mixed martial arts as a metaphor for Christ (see below). It led me to another parable.
The Kingdom of the World is like a UFC event. At the center of this event are two men who believe they are alone. Two men who believe they fight only each other. Two men who believe, at that moment, they can determine their worth. But the cage is not sealed. The ring is completely open on the top and the cage is meshed, porous, so that their bodies generate a flow of capital from fans to owners. And what is more the two men are not even physically alone, a referee is present. The primary aim of the referee is not to enforce rules of protection but to enact rules of excitement. If the men appear stalled one pinned against the other on the cage then the ref yells, ‘Work!’ If one man is pinned on top of the other but there is insufficient thrusting and thrashing the ref yells, ‘Work!’ And if these commands are not heeded he breaks them apart or stands them up so that fresh contact is made. And throughout each event a carrot dangles over each match so that one fighter may gain the ‘fight of the night’ bonus. Fight of the night is what proves most exciting, most beneficial to the economic viability of their contact.
The two men are anything but alone. The two men have little determination in that space. They were brought together by another, trained by another, paid by another, ruled by another, cheered by another. Their bodies though cannot be substituted. Their must be a blood sacrifice to lubricate the flow of wealth.
The event is a show of power for the sake of masking power. People watch the idols of muscle who wear on their shirts and trunks painted symbols of power but invisible men stand behind it all who reap the gate receipts and the merchandise sales and the booze consumed. These invisible men flex infinitely more powerful muscle as they contract fighters, contract overseas labour for merchandise, and lean on addiction and illusions to sell tickets. We do not see any who actually profit. And in all this the two men cannot determine their ethical presence because they have already submitted to another, all choices are now played out in terms they did not create.
The Kingdom of the World is not ethical. There are no ethics in this Kingdom. Any ethical act of necessity breaks with this Kingdom even if for a moment. To live ethically we will still live in cages but we must know and live with the truth that it is possible to walk through walls. We cannot tear down the cage for it is always being created and always will be created but we we can pass through its limits. This is faith.