Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

January, 2003

The Chosen People

Whether we are the descendants of the apes, or fallen from Paradise, either metaphorically or literally we are children of God. At least that is the case if we believe in a divine order to the universe.

And like all children, humanity has gone through its various stages of growth as well as its growing pains.

The human species began by being completely unconscious of the order of things, totally at the mercy of circumstances and events, feeling its way in the dark, trying to make sense of things.

As humanity grew older in spirit, like a newborn becoming a toddler, it started to recognize certain patterns and became aware of its environment. It recognized the order of day and night, and the passing of seasons, the regularity of getting hungry and having to search for food, etc.

As a four year old, humanity began to be awestruck and sometimes scared of shadows in the dark. It started fearing dragons in the forest, and thunder and lightning… and it started putting meaning into these things, creating rituals to circumvent them, and even worshiping and praying to them.

As humanity continued to grow older and bolder, it started to stretch the limits of its imagination. It started anthropomorphizing the divine order, and creating images of a Divine that was both kind and unpredictably ruthless, simultaneously. Just like an eight year old, humanity tried to come up with stories about its Divine Parent, God, while trying to explain the wrath of nature, as well as the kind circumstances. And like an eight year old, allowed many contradictions to creep in.

Like a ten year old, humanity was trying to belong. And so the countless tribes and various people chose to become "the Chosen People" of their God/Parent. And like most teenagers trying to belong, humanity factionalized itself into various gangs, while each group desperately needed to prove and justify their belief.

So tribes started quarrelling with other tribes, each claiming to be the favorite child… In the meantime, the Divine Parent, completely frustrated with the behavior of the children, was trying to come up with a convincing way to show the children that their parent favored all of them, and there was no "chosen" child.

Yet the children, completely self-absorbed, were busy quarrelling and fighting, and even killing each other, just to prove that they were the chosen ones.

To make things worse, as humanity grew to its mid-teen years, gang leaders emerged who not only claimed that their tribe was the chosen one, but that as individuals, it was they, the leaders, who were the chosen intermediaries between the Divine Parent and the other children of the Chosen People.

The late teens brought the period of rebellion and renewal and experimentation. Some experimented by breaking away from the leadership, claiming direct access to the Divine Parent for all the chosen children. Others claimed that it was they who should have been the leaders, and not the ones who had usurped power. And others still revolted against the system and the Divine Parent.

As the teen years gave way to the early twenties, the spirit of rebellion gave way to reason. But with it, came the desire to achieve and to build and to prove that they were indeed worthy children. And so "the Chosen People" gave way to "the Chosen Nation", "the Chosen Trade", "the Chosen Class" or "the Chosen Group". People chose to be chosen by the circumstances of their birth or upbringing. Nationalism took the place of religious fervor. Birth in a wealthy family or other favorable circumstances, stamped the individual with divine favor, and put him or her in a separate and distinct class.

And so individuals, seeking to prove their worthiness to be among the Chosen People started using their talents to distinguish themselves from others. Scientific accomplishment, scholastic superiority, athletic achievement, artistic fame, self-made wealth and other external signs took the place of circumstances of birth.

And the spirit of competition grew ever bigger.

This time, they killed to prove the worthiness of their nation, or their belief, or their way of life… as if humanity was born to prove who was "the Chosen People" and who was not…

Definitions changed, but the competitive nature of being the favored child remained.

Humanity has been missing the point, ever so subtle as it is.

It is never the parent who has a "chosen child"… it is always the child who "chooses" to strive to be the favorite one.

Perhaps if only we stopped trying to be the "Chosen People", and started recognizing that we are the "choosing people", then we can finally step into spiritual maturity.

And then, instead of merely being the "children of God" we shall step into our human responsibility of being "co-Workers" and "co-Creators" with God. It is only then that we shall be equal with our parent, and reach the maturity that is our parent’s highest wish for us.

© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
January 2003

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