Chuck Swindoll “Of Parrots and Eagles” in “Come before Winter”, pp 83-85

“…Content to sit safely on our evangelical perches and repeat in repad fire falsetto our religious words, we are fast becoming over populated with bright colored birds having soft bellies, big beaks and little heads. What would help to balance thing out would be a lot more keen eyed, wide winged creatures willing to soar out and up, exploring the illimitable ranges of the kingdom of God … willing to return with a brief report on their findings before they leave the nest again for another fascinating adventure.

Parrot people are much different than eagle thinkers. They like to stay in the same cage, pick over the same pan full of seeds and listen to the same words over and over again until they can say them with ease. They like company, too. Lots of attention a scratch here, a snuggle there and they’ll stay for years right on the same perch. You and I can’t remember the last time we saw one fly. Parrots like the predictable, the secure, the strokes they get from their mutual admiration society.

Not eagles. There’s not a predicable pinion in their wings. They think. They love to think. They are driven with this inner surge to search, to discover, to learn. And that means they’re courageous, tough minded, willing to ask the hard questions as they bypass the routing in vigorous pursuit of the truth. The whole truth. ‘The deep things of God’ – fresh from the Himalayan heights, where the thin air makes thoughts pure and clear, rather than tired, worn distillations of man. And unlike the intellectually impoverished parrot, eagles take risks getting their food because they hate anything that comes from a small dish of picked over seeds … it’s boring, dull, repetitious, and dry.

Although rare, eagles are not completely extinct in the historic skies of the church. Thomas Aquinas was one, as were Augustine and Bunyan, …

…Who are those wh forge out creative ways of communicating the truths of Scripture … so that it’s more than a hodge podge of borrowed thoughts, rehearsals of the obvious which tend to paralyze the critical faculties of active minds?

Eagles are independent thinkers.

It’s not that they abandon the orthodox faith or question the authority of God’s inerrant Word … it’s simply that they are weary of being told, ‘ Stay on the perch and repeat after me.’ Eagles have built in perspective,  a sensitivity that leaves room for fresh input that hasn’t been glazed by overuse…

I find myself agreeing with Philip Yancey, who admits:…

…Christian books are normally written from a perspective outside the tunnel. The author’s viewpoint is already so flooded with light that he forgets the blank darkness inside the tunnel where many of his readers are journeying. To someone in the middle the mile long tunnel, descriptions of blinding light can seem unreal.

When I pick up many Christian books, I get the same sensation as when I read the last page of a novel first. I know where it’s going before I start. We desperately need authors with the skill to portray evolving viewpoints and points of progression along the spiritual journey as accurately and sensitively as they show the light outside the tunnel.

Yancey is saying we need ‘eagle writers’ who come to their task with the abandonment of that keen minded Jew from Tarsus. If you need an illustration, read Romans. Like a careful midwife, Paul assists in the birth of doctrine, allowing it to breathe and scream, stretch and grow, as God the Creator designed it to do. And he isn’t afraid to say it for the first time, using a whole new vocabulary and style that is as original as it is accurate. There’s not as much as a parrot feather on one page of that one of a kind letter.

So then, which will it be? If you like being a parrot, stay put. But if you’re an eagle at heart, what are you doing on that perch? Do you have any idea how greatly you’re needed to soar and explore? Do you realize how out of place you are inside that cage? Even though others may not tell you, eagles look pretty silly stuck on a perch picking over a tasteless pile of dried seeds.

I’ve never heard anybody ask, ‘Eagle want a cracker?’

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