Today both of our readings deal with people who are trying to be known as the GOAT. I have heard this term being used in the past and have thought to myself, “I am soooo out of touch, I can’t make out the meaning!” Usually I’m fairly up on the popular lingo, so I have to admit that it was only very recently that I noticed that the internet seemed to be referring to a lot of people as “the goat.”
Apparently it was a term coined by Muhammed Ali back in his boxing days, used by sportswomen / men and superstars… and it has taken me this long to understand that it simply means ‘Greatest of All Time!’
James is addressing a community where people are boasting of their wisdom and vying for positions of influence. The Gospel of Mark tells a story of the disciples arguing about which one of them is the goat.
Peter, James, and John, who seem to be the loudmouths of the bunch, are the ones who are arguing over who is the goat, while several of the other disciples sit on the sidelines thinking, “I am definitely not the goat.” Because, let’s face it, some people are more prone to think they are the goat or want to be the goat than others.
We do not have to argue over who is the greatest, or boast about our own qualities. We can choose instead to treat every person we meet as the greatest of all time, worthy of honour and respect. We can choose to listen to the perspectives of others, especially those who are weak, silenced, and marginalized.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOAT is not a person. The GOAT is a way of living. It is a path of true wisdom, that is pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality. It is the path of servanthood. It is the path of love and peace.
Your Friend and Vicar, Kofe