About that idea we call freedom. . .

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We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Freedom is like that. It’s like air. When you have it, you don’t notice it.1 No one can argue that – even on a personal level. Eleven days ago, I rode the stationary bike at the gym ten miles – and now, following foot surgery,2 well I am out of commission . . . yes, my freedom greatly diminished. Can’t put on a shoe, ride a bike, drive a car, not supposed to stand or walk on it much. [This is not a sob story and has a point, so please do not jump ship until you have read to the end] While this is temporary, it is a simple, visual reminder that I took for granted my ability to run or jump in the car to go to the market, walk my dogs or even open the door of the chicken coop. Physically, at least, my freedom is greatly impinged. It is funny because I have heard from so many people who know me (and not even on a deep level necessarily), saying ‘wow, there is no way you are going to stay down for 8 weeks…no way’ and ‘this is going to drive you crazy!’ I would like to say that I have been misunderstood, but I suppose they are right – this is trying. Yesterday someone called and said, ‘So, what have you been doing?’ What follows is my answer and an invitation too. Mostly, I have been studying—good stuff. Would you like to join me? Back in March, I mentioned the Colson Fellows’ Program . . . I applied and was accepted to the ten-month program that I believe will help me craft an informed big picture view of the world as it now is and as God means it to be. With a small group of people locally, I will be reading through 10 impactful books, watching provocative videos, participating in national webinars, listening to podcasts, and gathering together monthly to discuss. While I have been on my own course of study for years, chasing down meaning, greater understanding of the Bible--how to explain it and defend it, seeking to understand how to live more fully and invite others along with me in the greatest adventure ever—the Christian life—I have found myself studying alone. [Like when I had Covid, I read The Question of God - C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud debate God, love, sex and the meaning of life... so interesting]. I am so excited to now be on this journey with other like-minded people! I believe this: Christians who understand biblical truth and have the courage to live it out can indeed redeem a culture or even create one. This is the challenge facing all of us ...3 Here are a couple quotes from the first book: Christianity is a reasonable faith…only Christianity provides credible, defensible answers to life’s most crucial questions, and only Christianity offers a reasonable strategy for how we are to live in the real world.3 In every human being is a deep, ongoing search for meaning and transcendence—part of the image of God in our very nature. Even if we flee God, the religious imprint remains. Everyone worships some kind of god. Everyone believes in some kind of deity—even if that deity is an impersonal substance such as matter, energy, or nature.4 Do you believe you were created in God’s image? Let that sink in for a minute. Because it is written: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.5 And from the beginning, God knew each of us, as the psalmist wrote “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”6 That is because you, my friend, are God’s masterpiece.7 From the other book I am rereading – yes, my copy I had since high school – things such as this, a timely response to ‘why does God allow evil?’ Buckle your seatbelt: God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.8 Who? C.S. Lewis, of course…Mere Christianity. Okay, so back to the thing we call freedom. What if you did not have it? When California shuttered our churches in 2020 (and so much more) as people most needed to hear about True Hope, I realized that freedom is fragile. And as a result, people the world over, are vulnerable. In Jesus, we can know freedom forever, in spite of anything physical. But you and I must be trading in hope daily because we understand biblical truth and have the courage to live it out . . . because then we can indeed redeem our culture (whether that culture is in Rowley, Nigeria, India, Nantucket or the Netherlands). Are you interested in reading these great works or watching some great videos with me, etc.? Hit reply and we shall figure it out. Because why? Freedom matters! It is for freedom Christ came~ Christine Song: Freedom, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKxeZsZvp7E  1 – Boris Yeltsin 2 – surgery on three things: hammer toe correction—now have a long pin sticking out of my second toe to straighten it, neuroma excision and a bunionectomy – all on my right foot. 3 – How Now Shall We Live? Chuck Colson, p. xiii 4 – ibid., p. 54 5 – Genesis 1.26-27, NKJV 6 – Psalm 139.13, NIV 7 – Ephesians 2.10

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