Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Rim of the Broken Wheel" Lyrics by Bruce Cockburn from "Inner City Front" Recording, 1981

[These lyrics by Cockburn came to me after seeing the film, "India's Hidden Slavery," about the Dalits.]

Way out on the rim of the galaxy
The gifts of the Lord lie torn.
Into whose charge the gifts were given
Have made it a curse for so many to be born.
This is my trouble.
These were my fathers.
So how am I supposed to feel?
Way out on the rim of the broken wheel.

Water of life is going to flow again,
Changed from the blood of heroes and knaves.
The word mercy's going to have a new meaning
When we are judged by the children of our slaves.
No adult of sound mind
Can be an innocent bystander.
Trial comes before truth's revealed
Out here on the rim of the broken wheel.

You and me -- we are the break in the broken wheel
Bleeding wound that will not heal.
Lord, spit on our eyes so we can see
How to wake up from this tragedy.

Way out on the rim of the broken wheel.
Bleeding wound that will not heal.
Trial comes before truth's revealed.
So how am I supposed to feel?
This is my trouble.
--Can't be an innocent bystander
In a world of pain and fire and steel.
Way out on the rim of the broken wheel .


beyondwords said...

Cockburn is one of the most convicting prophets of our age. I wish more Christians listened to him.

Anonymous said...

Bruce is not a Christian; he is a Unitarian.

Anonymous said...

No original thoughts? These emotive utterances lack force.

Douglas Groothuis said...

How do you know he is unitarian?

The Cockburn poem has great theological, ethical, and emotive force.

Anonymous said...

First of all, being Canadian, I have followed Bruce Cockburn's career from the beginning, in the early seventies. I have always appreciated his incredible talent. He is well known for his promotional TV and radio adds in support of the Unitarian Church in Canada. A couple of years ago a new Christian radio station launched in Calgary and they were running the radio spots by Bruce Cockburn for the U.S.C. (Unitarian Service Committee) I called to inform them that they were advertising an agency of the Unitarian Church and I got much the same response....What?

Greg McR

Anonymous said...

After doing a little more research I see that Bruce does not shy away from identifying himself a a Christian, but I think his definition of what constitutes a "Christian" is rather fluid and unconstrained by anything outside of his own experience or desires. It's interesting that he uses the universalist tendencies of C.S. Lewis as a "convenient rationale" to justify his own.

"Question 17 (submitted by Audrey Pearson)
This question has three parts, and is the essence of one of our "humans" debates. According to traditional Christian theology, one can only know God through Jesus (John 14:6). Do you believe this? If so, what about the Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Haida, Lakota etc. etc. ie those that do not accept Jesus; do they know God too? And are their Gods and yours the same?
Bruce replies:
Personally, I don't believe that the only approach to God is through the historical/traditional image of Jesus. As a product of WASP culture, this route was most accessible to me, and the one most free from affectation and other distractions. C.S. Lewis theorizes that whatever your faith, you will come to God through the person of Christ in one guise or another, which sounds a little bit shaky, but makes convenient rationale for our acceptance of other people's faiths. I think all cultures have their insights, and I think we're all hungry for the same God, regardless of what face we try to paint on Him."

Greg McR

Douglas Groothuis said...

I cannot get the link to work, but if this is true, very sad. I had inferred he was a Christian from his lyrics. But recently he spoke of "kundalini" (occult, serpent power hailed by yoga) in one of his songs.

I lament.

I doubly lament.

And yet...there is much truth in his early music--and beauty.