Happy Moltmann Monday! Some thoughts on freedom, love, and community for you:
The truth of freedom is love. It is only in love that human freedom arrives at its truth. I am free and feel myself to be truly free when I am respected and recognized by others and when I for my part respect and recognize them. I become truly free when I open my life for other people and share with them, and when other people open their lives for me and share them with me. Then the other person is no longer the limitation of my freedom; he is an expansion of it…
‘Divide and rule’ is the old, familiar method of domination. As long as freedom means lordship, everything has to be separated, isolated, detached and distinguished, so that it can be dominated. But if freedom means community, fellowship, then we experience the uniting of everything that has hitherto been separated. The alienation of person from person, the division between human society and nature, the dichotomy between soul and body, and, finally, religious anxiety are abolished; liberation is experienced when people are again one: one with each other, one with nature, and one with God. Freedom as community is therefore a movement that counters the history of power and class struggles, in which freedom could only be viewed in terms of lordship.
Freedom as lordship destroys community. As lordship, freedom is a lie. The truth of human freedom lies in the love that breaks down barriers. It leads to unhindered, open communities in solidarity. It is only this freedom that can heal the wounds which freedom as lordship has inflicted, and still inflicts today.
-The Trinity and the Kingdom, p.216
The older I get, the more amazed I become at how adept we are as humans at creating barriers. We can do this with such great subtlety and complexity that it boggles the mind. Last night a Journeyer and I were talking about the crazy idea of God loving all of us, even the terrible ones of us, even US when we are terrible, and we had to sigh a moment and shake our heads, exhausted at the very idea of attempting a love like that. Love that breaks down barriers is hard work, and we know it. Dear God, we know it. But as Moltmann says so well, the truth of human freedom lies there- hidden right in there, waiting for us like an unwrapped present behind those barriers we’ve worked so hard to construct. You know what else is hard? Trying to be part of/create/encourage/pastor an unhindered, open community in solidarity with our world. Dear God, that’s hard, too. The upside, however, is that if we believe this crazy love of God to be true, the effort is absolutely worth it. Our freedom’s in there, and everyone else’s, too, waiting to counter the history of power struggle and heal the wounds created by a false freedom predicated on lordship. The truth of freedom is love. Always has been, always will be.