Friday, October 07, 2005

Freedom in Christ

I am currently reading Traveling Light, by Eugene Peterson, kindly lent to me by Ms. Momawag. It is re-awakening things in me that, to a degree, people around me (and Satan, the one who chokes and devours) had convinced to be false, untrue, and invalid. I am remembering that this freedom that is hidden in the depths of my soul is bestowed onto me by God's love for me and by His image dwelling in me. Quoted from Galatians, on p. 59 of Peterson's book, "While we were in conference we were infiltrated by false brethren who slipped in to spy out the freedom we have in Christ Jesus that they might reduce us to servitude. We didn't give them the time of day - we were determined to preserve the truth of the gospel for you."

I have experienced this lately with some of my Christian brothers; somehow this doesn't surprise me, even this moemnt, as it is what I was raised to be accustomed to. I have also experienced this recently within the world, my whole life really, but especially recently. I have been bitten to the core of my soul by the servitude built into the very system of my Architectural profession, and bigger, into the very system of our American politics, this so-called "free" country. Peterson mentions early on in his book that the spiritually sensitive among us, that is, those who have experienced the freedom from God's grace upon us, are super-sensitive to any effort at the squelching of our God-given freedom. And the efforts persist abundantly.

"There are people who do not want us to be free. They don't want us to be free before God, accpeted just as we are by his grace. They don't want us to be free to express our faith origianlly and creatively in the world. They want to control us; they want to use us for their own pourposes. They themselves refuse to live arduously and openly in faith, but huddle together with a few others [or with millions of others] and try to get a sense of approval by insisting that all look alike, talk alike and act alike [or, as Architect, make buildings that look alike, talk alike, and act alike], thus validating one another's worth. They try to enlarge their numbers only on the condition that new members act and talk and behave as they do. These people infiltrate communities of faith 'to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus' and not infrequently find ways to control, restrict and reduce the lives of free Christians." (p. 67).

My boss at work is realizing that I am free, and that I see quite clearly right through him that he is not. And I am meeting resistance from him for it. I intend to resist his efforts to mold me into a fulfiller of his own lowly purposes that are guided by his own insecurities and lack of faith. He thinks that he has power over me by grudgingly handing me a pay-check; but he does not realize that he has not power but that which is given to him from my Father in heaven.

In E4, we have recenlty been reading and learing about exodus for the oppressed in the world. In this context, I am realizing that what is truly so moving to me is less the pragmatic efforts to empower the poor (but of course that), and more God's originally intended plan for us to live and bask freely in His love. I am realizing the core of what urges me so deeply to "free" the oppressed. From p. 65 of the Peterson book: "Our attitude toward the poor is still one of the surest tests of our freedom. The moment freedom is used to avoid acts of mercy or help or compassion, it is exposed as fraud. A free person who finds ways to enhance the lives of the poor demonstrates the truest and most mature freedom. A free person who diminishes the lives of the poor by dealing our ridicule or withholding gifts is himself diminished, is herself diminished." Not by coincidence, my boss has found excueses not to help the poor, saying that they choose it, which is the the most clever of excuses. He is a smart man, enabling himself to avoid his own freedom so craftily, using such an astounding vision of and power for free choice.

"Excuses need excuses, to keep your ego fed...Love your self, and I won't be in your way." (Chris Pierce). More primally, "Let God's love for you dwell in you", but nonetheless, Chris Pierce has a point here.


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