Thursday, October 29, 2009

Unorthodox wisdom - cages or wings?

Pastor's mention of birds in cages in his sermon last week immediately brought to mind the musical "Tick, Tick, Bomb" by Jonathan Larson (better known for creating "Rent"). The story is a meditation on turning 30 in the year 1990, being a member of Generation X, and searching to find your way in life. The song "Louder Than Words" is full of important and rhetorical questions for us to consider, including the refrain "Cages or wings? Which do you prefer? Ask the birds. Actions speak louder than words."

These are great questions for us on all levels - as individuals, as a congregation, a community, and a world-wide church. Why is it so difficult to overcome inertia and increase involvement, to take risks and try new things? One of my favorite memories from Kushner's writing is that he says the Talmud states that God will someday ask each of us to justify the choices we made - not just what we did, but what we chose not to do in life. That would go beyond sins of omission to simple experiences and risks that could have been taken that would have made us (and/or those around us) happier. There are so few risks in my own life that I truly regret, and there are so many minor things that we should all try - even simple things like singing the proper Gospel Acclamation, for example! Here's Jonathan Larson's words on the subject:

Why do we play with fire?
Why do we run our finger through the flame?
Why do we leave our hand on the stove
Although we know we're in for some pain?

Oh, why do we refuse to hang a light
When the streets are dangerous?
Why does it take an accident
Before the truth gets through to us?
Why should we blaze a trail
When the well worn path seems safe
And so inviting?
What does it take
To wake up a generation?
If we don't wake up
And shake up the nation
We'll eat the dust of the world
Wondering why.

1 comment:

  1. Historically, part of the exercise of power has been the "caging" of marginalized groups of people: women, Blacks, the poor, and gays. The struggle to uncage all of God's children continues...