Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Constrained Freedom

...nothing frees a person so much as knowing surely what their task is. 
- Seerveld

Freedom today is often just another name for fear of commitment. We do not want the task of committing to a person, committing to a place, committing to a church, committing to a job, because to do so would jeopardise our notion of freedom, which is the last sin left.

But a commitment-free life is far from a life of freedom. We have been sold the line that the obstacles to freedom are constraints, boundaries, rules, dependence, particularity, accountability within a community. But the truth is that a life free of these things is bondage to emptiness and loneliness. We become our own tyrants, as Hauerwas and Willimon put it; slaves to the whims of our selfish selves.

Chesterton warned that if we free a tiger from his stripes, then we may well be freeing it from being a tiger altogether. It is these stripes that Seerveld is calling us to know and embrace. These stripes are our vocation, our task as a human being, and without them we can never be free.

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