Thursday, July 26, 2018

No One Mourns The Wicked

One of the opening numbers in the Broadway Play, Wicked, is titled No One Mourns the Wicked. Watching the musical and listening to the song produced some interesting thoughts in my mind that you might be willing to consider if you are one who has grown up in the church. 

As the play progresses I became uncomfortably aware of the resemblance between Oz and the religious institution that has become a wall to people finding truth. The people of Oz look to the wizard to make all things right in their world. Elphaba wants to meet the wizard because she is convinced that he can “fix” her. She is, after all, different from everyone else. Her family and her friends have filled her heart with the belief that different and wrong are synonyms. When she reaches the wizard, she realizes that he has other plans for her. He doesn’t want to “fix” her. He wants to use her to expand his already deceptive control of Oz. Elphaba rejects the wizard’s schemes, flees, and ultimately becomes nothing more than an evil memory to the people of Oz.

In the opening number of the musical, we hear the overpowering message that no one really cares what happens to the wicked because the wicked are products of their own evil ways. The wicked, according to the song, are a reminder to the children of what happens when you misbehave. The wicked are a reminder that when you misbehave you end up dying alone. 

The message of the song and the parallels to religion today are subtle and probably not intended. The message spoke clearly to me because the bitter irony is that the person who is dead wasn’t really wicked after all. She was just different from the rest. She didn’t fit in and her attempts to help were always misunderstood. She wanted to be a difference maker, and the world rejected her while deceiving the population of Oz into believing that instead of wanting to change her world she really wanted to destroy  their happiness. 

Maybe you grew up in the church like I did and somehow became a citizen of Oz. The fraud that the organization perpetuated led you to think that anyone who was different must be wicked. A different race, a different culture, a different political party, a different sexual orientation. In Oz everyone has to fall in line and since differences can’t be explained easily the best option must be to eradicate the differences from the society. The problem is that the power behind the curtain bellowing superiority with thunder and bolts of lighting is not real. When you pull back the curtain you see nothing but a manipulative, power hungry, lying, insecure old man. 
He is trying to cover up the truth because the truth threatens his position as Wizard. What is the truth? It would seem that the truth is that we all possess something special. This something special allows us to contribute to the world in a way that could be life changing, revolutionary in fact. If those who live in Oz would stop for a moment and see past the differences to the special, we could perhaps work together. Do we all have moral dilemmas that we need to work on? Of course we do. The Wizard brainwashes the people into believing that only those who are different or special have moral dilemmas to work on and that those moral dilemmas are actually damning to their existence. I’ve been reading some books on this subject, and they have varied thoughts on this subject. My favorite book on the subject says something very different than what I was taught in the wizarding classes of Oz.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

The Wizard would not like these teachings making their way through Oz. I think the Wizard might even try to stop these teachings. How would he stop these teachings and countless others? Easy. Just persuade with doublespeak that those who reject the ways of the Wizard are wicked. After all, what’s the harm in turning those who are different into villains? No one mourns the wicked.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Witch Is Not The Only One Who Is Green

We recently took Caroline to New York for her birthday. Part of the trip included seeing Wicked at the Gershwin Theater. The show was spectacular. I’m in a bit of a rebuilding phase of my life after opening lots of compartments of my life that I have kept hidden from practically everyone I have ever known. Watching Wicked at this particular time in my life was useful.  Elphaba’s struggle with what others saw as a flaw hit close to home for me. I have come through what I think is the worst of it now. Here are some conclusions I have drawn.

 I am not the sum total of my flaws. 

I may be broken in many places, but that brokenness does not define me. 

I am no more special than anyone else, but I am just as special as anyone else. 

The repair work I have done does not erase the history of abuse I experienced. The repair work does, however, take that history and uses it to make me stronger, to draw me to deeper compassion, and to celebrate the me that I am becoming.

I am loyal, faithful, and caring. These traits are not perfected in me, but they are being perfected in me and will continue to be until I cease to breathe.

I cannot dwell on my failures - times when I have been less than honest or times that I have been uncaring and unkind. I can look squarely at those failures, seek forgiveness for those failures, and live in authenticity and with pure intent so as to reduce the likelihood of repeating those failures. 

I love my family more than I love my life. I love Karen, Daniel, Caroline, and David. I will not hurt them by remaining in the prison of betrayal. I will come out of the prison, and I will live for perhaps the first time in forever.

I refuse to be labeled. I am not a Christian man, a church man or a non-church man. I am not a straight man or a gay man. I am not an abused man, a weak man, or a strong man. I am simply a man. That is all there is to it really. I am simply a man on a journey to somewhere unknown.

I will not settle for walking with a limp. I will learn to run with the limp. I will learn to soar with the limp. The limp may always be there. I don’t know right now, but I suspect it will be. I do know that I cannot pretend the limp is not there. I reject anyone or any organization that would have me dress up and pretend the limp is not there. I do not live in Oz. I think I’ll try Defying Gravity.