Liberation…I think about this a lot as a minister. I remember reading my first texts on ‘Liberation Theology’ as a college student, and realizing that God was bigger than just the ‘rules’ of Christianity; now I can easily say that God is bigger than even Christianity. Today, my thoughts continue to to focus on liberation, although I find myself in a new context while living in southern Florida.
So I was on my day off a few weeks back, and waiting for a friend to call me back. I found myself at ‘TJ Maxx’…yes, I’m a ‘maxxinista’ :). As I was rambling through the isles looking for a new accent rug, I stopped. I looked around. All around me were other human beings intent on finding the deal that will make their day. As I stood standing there, I thought back to other Saturday afternoons: days dancing in downtown Chicago, hiking mountains in Colorado, or even watching my Ohio State Buckeyes football with my friends. One thought came to my head: ‘if this is going to be my life from now on, I rather be dead.’ I know it’s a horrible thought, and by no means do I advocate any violence…to anyone ( I ‘shooshed’ a nest of wasps away today from my office instead of dousing them with poison), but regardless of how inappropriate the thought might have been, there was a certain element of truth to it. If my life, and as an example of that my day off, is going to culminate in shopping on a Saturday afternoon by myself at TJ Maxx, I’m not as ‘liberated’ as I preach about on Sunday mornings.
There are certain things that simply cannot accept at this point in my life. And on the opposite end of that spectrum, there are values of life that I believe Christ calls us to live up to each and every day. While this can easily become a very negative post about things I can’t stand, especially down here in Florida, I rather focus on more ‘life affirming’ thoughts.
I consider myself to be a ‘liberation theologian.’ And as part of such liberation that Christ offers this world, I believe in the following (as silly as some of these may sound):
- I believe we should ‘create’ something every day that benefits the world.
- I believe that there should be more music in the world.
- I believe that people should have the courage to speak to those who are not like them, and seek understanding in the other .
- I believe Christians should open up their eyes to see all of the hurt and hate that they espouse in the name of ‘biblical authority.’
- I believe in laughing heartily, loving passionately, and living with a zest for life that is reminiscent of one’s first breaths.
- I believe in spending as much time outside as humanly possible.
- I believe in learning our neighbors’ names.
- I believe in traveling the world, and realizing that life exists outside of the US…and [gasp] not everyone sees the world the same way.
I can go on and on, but I think this at least begins to make the point. Long story, short: we don’t have to live our lives at the whims of capitalism, materialism, and individualism as most of today’s advertising tells us. We are called to live as free beings, our chains broken by the Good News of God’s saving love for the world (for me through Jesus Christ). And we are called to live each day with the joy of creation in every breath we take.