Sunday, January 13, 2008

John Locke etc.

It's been since college since I read any of the writings of John Locke. You know, he's the guy who first talked about those inaliable rights to life, liberty and happiness. Except for originally, those rights were to life, liberty, and the persuit of property, and they only applied to white guys living in England. Women, children, and people of color were distinctly not included.

Now I know that good ol' Locke was on to something. And certainly his thougts have shaped our American culture. But I'm not sure agree with Locke, and I absolutely take issue with the fact that John Locke did not believe that what was good for the goose was good for the gander. But I'm letting my femenism derail me...back to the issue at hand.

Here's the deal, as Christ followers do we really have the right to life and liberty and happiness? Yes, I know we were enslaved to sin and that when Jesus died on the cross he losed sins death grip on our collective jugulars. We are saved! We are free! That is the Good News. That is the Gospel.

But there is a flip side to this story, a juxtaposition. We are free from sin, but we have been bought with a price. A steep one. We have been ransomed from sin and death. 'But if I call myself a Christ follower I need to follow Christ. That would mean submission to His authority. I am not my own. I have chosen to love, and follow and submit to the authority of another. I have surrendered my rights to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness, or property or whatever.

Here is the great hiccup, the thing that Locke didn't account for: Jesus explodes the notion of inalieable rights. He says that its only in surrender that we can be free. He says that what law was powerless to do Jesus accomplished in his Grace. So we cannot have these tidy little camps. There is no freedom /slavery or or law /grace. Somehow it is a messy mix of both. And the only way to muddle through it is to hold tightly to the hand of the One who refuses to be confined to our little theories.

I'm always looking for a new system, or theory that I can apply to my life to streamline its messiness. You should see the elaborate excel documents I have. Impressive, but not particularly useful. They can manage my life for a time, but to really live I've got to walk in the presence of the One who made me;I've got to obey his still small voice. And this is a hard elussive task, one that I need to be traained in, and one that is not compatible with holding tightly to the rights I think I have.