Live Free or Join?
After this post from the other day, I got some responses that seemed to say, "We're glad you're back!" But I'm not back. I haven't returned the same man. Even though I sensed a strong recall of what I'm to be doing: inviting people to freedom, and once they're there or on the way, to work to provide a community where this freedom is not jeopardized. And this, I've come to experience and know, is rare as hen's teeth! You see, once I'd seen the dark side of organized religion and managed spirituality, I would be a fool to go back into it the same way. I have seen the dark side... many times. I could solve it personally by retreating into the solitary life of a hermit. And believe me, I've been seriously tempted. But that's not my task. My task is to do what I said above, and that requires community. How can people be free and also love others? Is it possible for a liberated person to commit themselves to others? Is it possible to be a free person as well as a part of a group or even society? Is it possible to be free as well as responsible? Is it possible to be free and married? Is it possible to be free and have children? Is it possible to be a child and be free? Is it possible to be free at all in community? These are serious questions that must be asked by communities and their so-called "leaders" everywhere, never mind religious ones. But nobody seems to be asking them. What seems to be consuming our time is exploring how to make our loss of freedom more tolerable. We are more concerned with how to make the community more pious, permanent, plausible and prosperous without making coercion, manipulation, abuse and bondage too obvious or distasteful. We are so into means-to-an-end theology that everybody everywhere seems willing to sacrifice their liberties for the sake of the herd. To me, this is a critical mistake and a fatal error, not only to the individual but to the community. We are like a dysfunctional family protecting an alcoholic. No one's willing to rock the boat by addressing the real problem. Rather, we tweak, adjust, fine-tune, renovated, reform and accommodate in order for the community to succeed according to its own wishes. There really does seem to be only two options out there: leave the community in order to be free; or give up freedom for the sake of the community. Neither, in my opinion, is healthy or helpful. There must be another way, but so few seem to care. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Howard Nowlan. It is cropped for your viewing pleasure. I used it today in reference to being "back". Haha.