I once read a book called “Games Criminals Play” by Bud Allen and Diana Bosta. It was published 35 years ago, but its truths ring today. In the book, Allen and Bosta posited that freedom is intrinsic to human nature; that when we try to bottle it up – or cage it – people will always try to break free. They were talking in particular about our penal system that forces persons into cages and that consciously and unconsciously those who are incarcerated will do whatever it takes to break free – even if it’s just moments of freedom. And this in turn makes them try to “cage” their captors, with bribes and then threatening exposure. This creates a vicious cycle as people try to cage one another, with violence being the outcome.
Their theory, which I subscribe to and witnessed firsthand as a jail chaplain, got me thinking about freedom in all its forms. We - particularly Americans, but I think all humans - don’t like to be caged, whether that is of mind, body or spirit. We long for places where we can be truly free, unlimited and able to be fully who we are. I think that’s why Unitarian Universalism appeals so much to me. While we might often fall short, this is our goal. Whether it is a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” or the “goal of a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all,” I don’t think any other religion can claim to hold freedom so closely to their hearts.
I feel blessed to be on this journey with you all!