I have been helping teach a Sunday School class this winter. We are using Tim Keller's book, The Reason For God. This past Sunday our topic was framed using these two questions, "What give you (Christians) the right to tell me how to live my life? Why so man rules?"
We began by watching a 20 minute video of Tim interacting with non-believers. Simply wonderful to see a healthy conversation like this take place.
After this finished we began to have our own conversation. One of our focus points was on the idea of freedom. We discussed the rules that are in place to preserve the rights and freedoms of all people. So then do rules cause a form of slavery or a cultural standard by which we are governed for the good of all, for the community.
One of the ideas that has been stirring in my mind is that of the community verses the individual. I come from it from this position. When the desirers of the individual are greater than that individual's desirers for the community does that individual's freedom enslave the community. When we flip this idea are we then caught in a catch 22.
Where's the balance in freedom?
Tim doesn't answer this question, but he said something I found to be profound on this idea. As Christians we are called by Christ to Love God and Love our neighbor. We are called to serve those in need.
I'm not sure I see individualism in these Christian truths.
Tim does try to emphasize that Christianity offers more freedom, than rules or slavery. Our freedom comes in the form of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Our freedom comes as we claim our identity as a child of God. It is out of our identity and from a place of grace that we want to Love God our Father, Love our neighbor as brothers and sister and serve them.
I see that as a Christian our individual freedoms exist, but not at the cost of God, our neighbor or the community. In a christian community the balance of freedom may exist as we live out the Christian truths, but it is difficult because of our own brokenness.
We see that balance as we bring God's kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.
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