living through death

"The only way that you can accept life is if you can accept death.” –Leo Buscaglia

A short reflection on the meaning of freedom

with 2 comments

Can we make sense of the phrase “freedom in Christ?” It has been said that all outside of Christ are not free, but in bondage. On the other hand, it is suggested that to be in Christ is to be free. Is there any meaning to these words now for those of who doubt literal understandings of Scripture? I’m inclined to think so. In fact, I think the recognition of the non-literal mode of much Scripture opens up the possibility to cut past the credulity of the ancient imagery and grasp the insight of the tradition.

That said, here’s what I think the tradition is on to. As is corroborated by contemporary constructive developmental psychology, only a fully-centered individual can rise above the compulsions of biology and psychology, i.e., those elements of our existence that “drive” us. To transcend compulsion is the meaning of freedom. The only way to be a fully-centered person is to have accepted one’s ultimate acceptance. This is the meaning of Christian faith. This is the truth of the gospel. This is also the truth of the phrase “freedom in Christ.”


Written by Alex

December 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

Posted in Theology

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Are you equating ‘freedom in Christ’ with libertarian freedom (in the philosophical sense)? This suggests it: “rise above the compulsions of biology and psychology, i.e., those elements of our existence that ‘drive’ us. To transcend compulsion is the meaning of freedom.” If not, then what is it that “freedom in Christ” could mean for someone who rejects even a quasi-literal reading of the Bible? It can’t mean freedom from sin, for sure. And “freedom from biology” and “freedom from psychology” don’t even make sense. (I’m pressing you on this to hear more.)

    Greg S

    December 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  2. Interesting. You might have some good integrative potential in here vis-a-vis libertarian (whether conceived as absence of constraint, capacity to choose otherwise, multiple live options, or something similar) and compatibilistic (choosing what you want) senses of freedom. Transcending compulsion allows you to satisfy each of these construals (and in my opinion might become most significant around choosing the security of acceptance and love we want and need on the deepest level).

    Shane Moe

    December 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm

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