Sunday, August 19, 2007

Free to be Angry

Often on the Christian Talk radio station that I shouldn’t be listening to, I hear preachers refer incessantly about the evils of our society. They constantly remind listeners about the problems of gambling or pornography or abortion or lack of prayer in schools. After outlining each of these in detail, it almost always comes to a shaming of the Church for not being more concerned, not being more involved or not being more politically active. In essence, these leaders seem to be saying that the reason people are living together and are having babies out of wedlock is because the Church is not angry enough. To me, the beauty of this country is the foundation of freedom laid out in the Constitution. Freedom is a core concept of the teaching of Jesus. Christ came to give us freedom. It is this very reason that He died. Its’ need is in our very nature. It’s why movies like Braveheart, Gladiator and 300 seem to resonate. They remind us of this fact. My kids disagree with me when I tell them they are free to make their own choices, despite what Mom and Dad say. "But we’ll get in trouble,” they would reply. To which I would say, “Of course you will, but you’re still free to make that choice!” Freedom is not a complicated condition. It means we are free to do whatever we want to do. It means we are free to good as well as evil. Whichever I choose, either way, I will bear the fruit or consequences of those choices. So to lay blame for the behavior of our culture at the feet of the Church seems a little harsh. The Church could be busy drawing lines all day long, but it seems to me that once the line is drawn, human nature feels the need to cross that line in order to see what’s on the other side. At some point, instead of fighting it, shouldn’t the Church just extend freedom and wait for the consequences to kick in? This is what the father did with the son in the story of the Prodigal in Luke 15. The son wanted his freedom, so the father gave it. He even went the extra step and funded it. No amount of rules would change the young man. His wisdom knew that the son must taste it himself. I would hope that the Church of the Future would adopt this approach to relating to its culture. Instead of yelling, picketing, protesting, defending, fighting, resisting, complaining, and opposing in order to bring about change, would it have more impact if it put its energy into living the true life of freedom, thereby experiencing (and demonstrating) the joy and beauty of doing good?

1 comment:

Steve Todd said...

I'm a pastor who ate at Bread and Cup for the first time yesterday for a lunch meeting. Saw a friend/church-member of mine working there. One of the people I ate with tipped me off about your blog.

You have wisdom for all of us. Keep baking and writing.

Blessings, Steve Todd