Monday, September 2, 2013

Sweet Liberty.

Romania Breaking off Her Chains on the Field of Liberty - Constantin Daniel Rosenthal

Eventually, those of us who have strong political opinions will end up shoving our views into our writing. We can't help it. Real political feelings run too strong, too deep, not to be expressed. On top of all that, no two impressions are the same. I'm sure I disagree with most of my readership on a host of fiscal issues. This is not the place to discuss that, however, we are going to talk about politics in writing. Specifically, we're going to talk about liberty, or freedom.

In our books and films we talk a great deal about liberty. We use our character to fight for it, whether they are hobbits or Scottish highlanders. We talk about freedom almost constantly, but do we ever stop to wonder what it is?

When some people think of freedom, they think of liberty to do whatever they want, so long as it does not directly hurt another person. Freedom is the chief of modern virtues, I even might say it's the only modern virtue. However, when coming at this from a christian perspective, we're faced with a problem. Sin is slavery, and how can we say that our characters are fighting for freedom when they are fighting for people to be able to sin, and destroy each other if they want? That's hardly a moral cause.

On the other hand, I've heard christians say that the only real freedom is freedom to do good. I think in a sense that's true, but it can be misconstrued so easily that I don't like it.  If freedom is only freedom to do good, than any small sin could be punished. So who would be the arbiter? The church? The state? The family? We can't reasonably make sin illegal, because it's omnipresent in our fallen world. So that brings us back again to the question; what does freedom mean?

I think freedom means not only the freedom to do good, but also the freedom to make some mistakes along the way. It's not a permit to do whatever we want, but grace covers the mistakes we make as we strive to improve. We have liberty to do good, and liberty to stumble in our pursuit. It's liberty to get back up again and fight, not to roll around in the dust.

That is the definition of christian liberty.

1 comment:

  1. I think that there are really two types of freedom: Christian and non-Christian.
    The non-Christian freedom, which is the type that is supposed to be supported by American law, tries to ensure that you are free to make your own decisions, as long as it does not risk damage to other people(and which should include the ability to express yourself without fearing the government's intervention).
    But Christian freedom is quite different. It is not American law, now with the all-new protection of God. Instead, it is the ability to submit to God. Paul even describes it as enslavement to God. I know. I can feel you shuddering.But really, since God knows far more about what's best for us, and what will make us really free than we do, it is the better kind of freedom.