2012-06-18 19:15:37

The ABC of Religion: A Parable


A. A girl walked down a sidewalk she had walked down many times before, when she suddenly noticed a new building she had not seen before. Looking in the window, she was stopped by an odd sight. There was another girl, about her age, standing in a far room of the building, doing what looked like a kind of dance, or at least a dance done from the waist up, for her feet hardly moved at all. She seemed to be biting the end of a metal rod. She was holding the rod in her hands, out to her right side, and she seemed to have the other end of the rod in her mouth, biting it, or at least chewing on it. As she bit it, she moved a little, a kind of gentle swaying motion.

The girl could not see clearly, for the window was dirty, or cloudy. Still, it was the strangest sight! She began stopping by this building each day to watch the strange dance, always about the same, and soon found herself wondering whether perhaps she wasn’t looking into the window of some kind of a hospital’a hospital where they put people who did these slow little dances while biting metal rods.

B. One day when she walked by, the window was open. And now, when the girl looked in, she heard the sound of a flute playing. It was a flute player, not a dancer, and the point of it all had not been the movement, but the music, which the girl had never heard before. ‘Aha,’ said the girl, ‘now I understand!’ Then, no longer interested by the spectacle, she turned to leave.

C. But the flute player saw her, and called out to her. Surprised, the girl stayed by the open window as the other girl approached. ‘Here,’ said the flute player when she reached the open window, ‘wouldn’t you like to play? This is yours, after all, and it is your turn now.’ With that, she handed the flute through the open window to the girl who had, until then, been only a spectator.

And then the flute player disappeared, the whole building disappeared, and the little girl found herself standing there with her whole life still ahead of her, holding a flute ‘ and trying to remember the movements, and the music.

Davidson Loehr is author of the book

America, Fascism, and God: Sermons from a Heretical Preacher


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