The Logical Song

Have you ever heard a song after not hearing it for many years, perhaps decades, and see a whole new set of symbolisms and meanings that you never saw before?   This happened to me yesterday, when I heard The Logical Song by Supertramp (1979).    Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I only saw it applying to the educational system (like the public or private schools).  But yesterday, I saw how it can apply to the religious educational system I’ve experienced too.

I have always been spiritually sensitive.  I’ve known God as far back in my childhood as I can remember.  It was wonderful, beautiful, a miracle, even a magical time in a child-like sense.  I loved nature–the birds, the trees, the clouds, little furry animals–and in nature I encountered God, a loving God, a compassionate God who delighted in watching me play, even laughing with me.   He was there to comfort me after my father beat me as a toddler, and protected my psyche as I saw my father physically abused my mother.  Then, life happens–my family life fell apart, my father left my mother, and I and my 2 younger brothers were sent to boarding school, a Christian boarding school.  There I learned to memorize Scriptures, and I was told of a God that watches over me like a judge, and will punish me if I’m bad (and the disciplinary actions at the school enforced this image of God very well too).    Throughout my childhood, I was taught in Sunday School to be wary of the affirming entity in my heart that I’d known, that it’s really my own deceitful heart (some would even say it’s the devil), and I was introduced to a god who’s full of wrath, waiting to punish me whenever I do bad things, and to judge everyone in the end, destroying the bad ones in an eternal fire.  Suddenly the focus was all on being good and doing good to keep peace with this wrathful and holy god.  Now there are rules I needed to follow to be a good Christian, to be sensible, dependable, spiritual, acceptable to this god.  I didn’t see it then, but I really had been conditioned to be a mindless vegetable, just following the rules I was told God wanted me to follow.  God then became a distant tyrant, and I forgot all about the times I had shared with him in my younger days.

When I was alone and left to my own thoughts, the questions would be there.  But when I asked those questions of the people teaching me about God, I got answers that only led to more “but what about. . .?” questions.   Soon I learned it was futile to ask questions, because nobody really knows the answers and they didn’t like having to admit that they didn’t know, so I just kept the questions to myself.

Long story short, when I was between the ages of 19 to 21, I’d made choices and did things that I still regret to this day, though I’ve since come to terms with it with the real God.   Back then though, the guilt and shame of failing to live up to the perfect standard this wrathful god expected of me led me to such self-loathing, I expected this false god to destroy me, because I had learned well what the people who do such abominable things deserved.   And when I continued to breath and live, I figured that I was so detestable, I wasn’t even worth destroying.  I couldn’t stand the emptiness, the unresponsiveness from this god, so I attempted suicide to end the pain.

As much as I wish my life had not come to this dark moment, I’m glad it had, because that’s when I saw the merciful and loving God I used to know in my young childhood again.  How he saved my life is another story in itself to be told at another time.  I’ve learned since then that He’s been there all along, but I had believed in what I was taught about Him instead of trusting in what I had experienced and known in my heart, and so I couldn’t see Him for who He really was, is, and always will be.  From that moment on, I felt a freedom to ask questions, but not to the religious leaders. I asked God Himself.  I’ve discovered Him to be very different from the god I was taught about.   This true God loves me deeply, unconditionally, and it pained Him when I couldn’t see myself through His eyes, and chose to destroy myself instead of coming to Him, letting Him love me and heal me.  He is a God of justice, but also one of mercy.  In Him alone can anyone find the perfect balance between love and justice.  And, in my experience, the majority of people who are teaching other people about God don’t really have it right, and tend to lean too far to one side or the other.  What’s saddest is they’re fighting each other all the time, and that grieves God very much.

It’s been nearly 27 years now since God rescued me from that dark pit. We have had quite an adventure, and I’ve asked Him many questions. I still don’t have all my questions answered, and I probably won’t, because to know all the answers would literally blow up my mind and kill me.  My finite mind just can’t contain all the wisdom of God.  But I am at peace in not knowing everything.  I’m OK with the mysteries, because I know the One who knows.  And since I now really know who I am, or more precisely, Whose I am, life is once again beautiful, wonderful, and definitely, a miracle.   So I guess I’ve come a full circle, becoming a child again.  Fitting, really, for Jesus said unless you be like a child, you will not see the Kingdom of God.  It truly is wonderful to simply be like a child, resting on His lap, living each day in the awareness of His deep affection for me!

THE LOGICAL SONG   As performed by Supertramp in 1979

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world’s asleep,
the questions run too deep
for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re
acceptable, respecable, presentable, a vegtable!

At night, when all the world’s asleep,
the questions run so deep
for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.