Ain’t no favourites.

Dear Pogue,

Here’s a thing. I’ve been watching the World Athletics Championships in Doha. Oh, forgive me for jumping straight in. How are you. I trust you are well. OK?

I know you like running and competition, so you’re probably watching too. I used to come and watch you run but I never saw what I am seeing in Doha. There is some obvious religious behaviour being made very apparent amongst the competitors.

Are you seeing it?

The pointing to the sky and looking up which appears as a form of acknowledgement. The moment of crouching, head bowed in prayer. Kissing of necklaces, etc. And particularly at the end of an event, from the winner.

Then I saw some stuff in the media like: “God has been good to me”, and “I just want to thank God”, from medal winners.

Now I believe wholeheartedly in gratitude and appreciation for what we have and try to remain open and thankful to Source, day by day. Man, if we were all thankful for what we have, in the moment, how we’d change the world. But I’m struggling with the way winners thank their deity. It’s not what they are saying: “Thank you for giving me this ability”. Let’s all find a way to express that. No, it’s what they are not saying that is my issue.

What about the 7 other competitors who didn’t win. I mean, if God let you win did God let the others lose? Also, and you can tell me I’m wrong, but I’m not seeing the others, who made overt religious statements before the event, now being thankful for coming 4th or 5th.

Help me understand this. Has God shown favouritism?

Maybe the behaviour before the events is superstition. It happens.

If I acknowledge Source before I run and don’t give any attention when I fail to win what does that say? Is it a comment about God, a comment about my relationship with the same, or just a comment about me?

Now I’m struggling because I am committed to the fact that God, Source, the Great Spirit is all about Love. God is Love. Undoubtedly the most profound truth, ever. As such can I believe that Love conspires to allow one to win and another to lose? Isn’t the athlete who believes there has been divine assistance in their victory also, implicitly, saying that such intervention was instrumental in others losing. From there it’s not a big step to believing God has favourites.

I want to suggest that Source actually isn’t bothered who wins (I actually believe the occasional atheist gets a gold medal!). I want to very much believe that Source is as big on the person who came last as on the winner.

I want to believe that God has said to us, on many occasions: “Here’s a good thing. Now go and enjoy it”. I would want to bring this to so many parts of life where we have managed to reduce success to an overt endorsement from the Universe confirming our favoured standing. And, at risk of repeating myself, in promoting such a favoured position we are telling others that their lesser success is clearly a statement of their lesser worth in the Universe’s eyes.

If I reduce this to the life of parents and children, when a parent sends their children out to play the parent is not concerned whether they play football, or hide and seek, or build castles in the sand pit. And the child who plays football and wins or builds the biggest castle does not come back saying: “I did best, I won, so here’s clear proof I’m the favourite”. The parent’s concern has been that all enjoy themselves equally, not,: “Little Jimmy hasn’t paid me much attention this week so I hope he scores fewest goals”.

Are we turning our successes into an affirmation of God’s favour? Like so many victorious nations throughout history who claim victory is a clear sign of God’s favour and approval. Or can we just accept that we have so many “good things” given to us? Not because we are better than each other but because we are all equally loved. It is not the Universe that turns these things into a way of proving our approval. The issue isn’t at God’s end.

Maybe we should think carefully how we use what we have?

Your, a victim of Love,