Freedom

O.K., but why?

There are very few things we do or feel that we can’t ask that question of.  The toddler “Why” game is annoying partially because it is nearly endless.  Nearly every single thing we do, we don’t do for it’s own sake.  We do it because it leads to something else which leads to something else which leads to…

I can’t say that things are even all that different in the spiritual realm. 

We read the bible.

Why?

So we can learn things about God, for example that he wants us to pray.  Once we learn this, we begin to pray.

Why?

Sometimes, we pray to share our sorrow with God.

Why?

Because God wants us to.

Why?

You get the picture.

Perhaps this is why Galations 5:1 grabbed me today.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Christ set us free?

why?

For freedom.

Isn’t this circular?

Yes, it is.  And what’s the problem with that, exactly?

There is something about freedom that is just so inherently good that being free can’t be explained.  It’s so basic that it doesn’t boil down to anything else.  There is no why.

How often do we feel set free by Christ?

Early on in our walk with Christ, probably so very often.  Later on… maybe not so much.  This is a natural time to ask what has became the refrain of this post:

Why?

Is it because there are buildings and organizations that call themselves churches, and these buildings sometimes are only distantly related to what they were supposed to be?  Do these human, fallen, imperfect organizations masquerade as Christ himself and burden us with the yolk of slavery?

Do we simply forget what our lives were like before Christ?

I don’t know.  But I’d be hard pressed to find many other claims, even in the bible, that a thing is so inherently good that we don’t need words to explain it’s basic goodness.  There are so many means, and so few ends, it seems like we ought to cling to them, hold on to them, because if we lose what we’re doing things for, everything else is a moot point.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Freedom”

  1. You’re free to dance-
    Forget about your two left feet
    And you’re free to sing-even joyful noise is music to Me
    You’re free to love,
    ‘Cause I’ve given you My love
    and it’s made you free
    I have set you free.

    Lyrics to Free by Ginny Owens
    Stand firm and do not let yourselves be yoked by slavery…indeed!

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  2. I love the comment “There are so many means, and so few ends, it seems like we ought to cling to them, hold on to them, because if we lose what we’re doing things for, everything else is a moot point.”

    not sure I follow the beginning so much with your speaking in parables 🙂 but the idea of not forgetting why we do things so that we do the right things for the right reason so that there is no mistake in what it is that we are trying to accomplish is great. Even being a part of organized religion or being a follower of Christ in everyday life can seem bad and against what I want and we can feel enslaved if we forget why we need to be and desire to be a part of it.

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  3. i too enjoyed the quote that Steve pointed out. My thought when i read it was first that we should choose our “ends” wisely. The “ends” often shape the course and character of our “means”.

    A great deal is learned about the truth of someone’s “end” by the “means” they employ to reach it.

    Weeds out the pretenders indeed.

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