I watched a video of some lab monkeys being freed. They had been stuck in cages for years, experimented on by people in white coats.
They were living an absolutely terrible life.
They released the monkeys. They opened up the cages and allowed them to feel sunlight, to run into trees, to race across a field of grass.
Some of them bolted. They were so pumped and stoked that they could hardly believe it. They were laughing in the top branches of the nearby trees.
Others sat in the sun like we sit in the sun in March after not seeing it for 3 months. You just can’t believe something that fills up so much of our space, that costs nothing, feels that good. These monkeys were in heaven.
But some… well they just sat by the door. What is this? Sunlight? Grass? Trees? I think I prefer the beautiful four white walls and the man who gives me my food every day and pokes me with needles.
I assume you see where this is going but in case you don’t.
Religion has been an experiment on a lot of people. It has poked and prodded and kept people very very under control in a nice tight box. People grew to love that box. And when someone comes along and starts talking about life, and God and love, well some people literally start crying while sitting in that sunlight. They can’t believe it.
But others, say no thank you and head back to the cage. Maybe it’s too much space. Too many things could go wrong. Too many risks. Too many what if’s. The cage hurts but at least it’s safe.
God led people out of the cages of slavery and production in Egypt and the first thing they wanted to do was go back. God always leads people out of cages and will perform plagues just to prove how serious God is about getting out of cages.
Safety, unfortunately, often wins. There is a fear in freedom and love and not being forced to make bricks for a Pharaoh that beats you up.
The problem is that God is not safe. Life is not safe. Love is not safe. Love demands freedom. It struggles to be noticed in that cage.
I used to get really angry at people who go back in the cage but I have learned that God is in the cage too. God is in there, trying with everything God can do, to lead people out into the field, or wilderness, or life beyond where they can be big and God can be big while still finding room for both of them to breathe.
At least, I hope, because I’m sure I still have cages and blind spots I don’t quite see and I trust there is more freedom.
I just keep trying to point out there... to move out there... toward the sunlight where love embraces all and there is not the fear we think there is.