In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Expensive Freedom


I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of John Stuart Mill, but he has said some things worth repeating. Today, as I'm here thinking on what the upcoming Memorial Day is all about, I'm reminded of one of my son Devon's favorite quotes from Mill:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

I'm so grateful for the men and women in our armed services who have been willing to fight for America. I'm grateful for the freedoms I get to enjoy because of the sacrifices these people have made.

19 comments:

David-FireAndGrace said...

Thanks for the reminder.

I have just written two blogs to be published on Monday on Fire and Grace and Kingdom Bloggers.

Honestly, it is hard to fathom war, freedom, death and the sacrifice of those who have lost loved ones in battle.

I often think of the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan or the videos on You Tube of Saddam whipping the bottoms of the bare feet of those who were opposed to him.

In the end, freedom is worth fighting for - and that sacrifice is huge.

And then there was Jesus.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Tracy, that is probably the most appropriate quote I've read to represent this weekend. Thank you for sharing it. That's perfect!

photogr said...

Comming from a military family with a long history of family members fighting for freedom back to 1776, Memorial Day day does have special meaning to me.

Lets hope we never forget the sacrifices our military did to protect our and other nation's freedom.

JD Curtis said...

Thank you to the Vets!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Thank you for remembering and reminding others what Memorial Day is truly about, my friend!

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THE OLD GEEZER said...

Tracy, I praise God that the USA has a national holiday to remember the sacrifice of our military men and women. We need to lift up our active soldiers in prayer daily.

Ron

GCT said...

"In the end, freedom is worth fighting for - and that sacrifice is huge.

And then there was Jesus."

Isn't this a contradiction?

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - not in terms of sacrifice. It is extraordinarily honorable to give up one's life for the freedom of his countrymen. It is eternally honorable to give up one's life for the Kingdom of God. And it is unfathomable for a man without sin to die for the sins of all mankind.

GCT said...

David,
"It is extraordinarily honorable to give up one's life for the freedom of his countrymen."

Agreed.

"It is eternally honorable to give up one's life for the Kingdom of God."

How so? Whose freedom is one giving one's life for in that case? god is a ruler who demands obedience to him, not freedom.

"And it is unfathomable for a man without sin to die for the sins of all mankind."

So that we can all be servants (not free) for god?

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - it seems that you're perception of God is like an angry, old, controlling drill Sargent.

Serving God is the greatest pleasure of my life. More so than family, work or any of the cool stuff that I own. Giving my life to a God that I love and who loves without words. I am convinced of my eternal home. Even the reward is really no big deal to me. The joy that I have in giving in any way that I can, makes it all worth it.

The Bible say that even the evil know how to give good gifts to their own, but learning to love everyone, regardless of who they are - even enemies, is beyond that which even a soldier will do for his country.

Serving God certainly would not make sense to one without the Spirit of God. But for those that have it, it is a natural part of spiritual maturity. To do for others without recognition, in secret even, is a great joy.

I don't what your definition of being a servant it, but mine is wanting to do anything for the one that is passionate for me.

Blessings.

GCT said...

Reading the Bible is completely obvious that god is a very controlling sort. He demands obedience above all else. IOW, he demands that you give up your freedom, and you seem to be seconding that - that you want to serve god and do what he commands. If that's what you want, then fine. But, don't pretend that it's on par with someone who fights for the freedoms of others. There is no freedom with your god.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - interesting perspective. Thanks for responding.

I am trying to understand - so is it the rules that you don't like?

IE: Galatians 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

When in return for our faith we get:

Galatians 5:22 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

I don't know if you have kids, but there is no sane father that wishes his kids harm. God is the same way. I find it interesting that most dads "watch their language" around 4-year-olds (well maybe) and at some magical age it becomes OK to use the "f" word.

We could take this object lesson to things like knives, fighting, and drinking to excess. My point is this. God is out to give us enough "rules" if you will, to insure a decent life.

In this country we have laws, and when they are broken there is a penalty to pay. There are consequences for in the spiritual realm as well.

But we are free to break all the rules that we want to. The jails and detoxes are full of folks that have done this.

If you had a child would that be what you wanted for them, jail, hurtful and irrevocable consequences? I would doubt it.

So, where is the control? There is none. Is gravity control? We jump from a 4th floor balcony and it is going to hurt. There are people that make choices that have negative consequences. And as much personal pleasure one may get from committing adultery or getting blind drunk, there are consequences for those choices, and those around them. Choices - not control.

This is not Clockwork Orange.

The freedom in following the rules - especially because you love someone, has nothing to do with control. It has to do with love. As a kids I mowed the lawn, not because I liked it, but because it pleased my father and he'd take me out for an orange soda. It was a relationship that I enjoyed. However; if I didin't do my chore - I had a choice to not receive my allowance, or go for and orage soda.

As you well know, you don't have to do anything God asks of you - but He still loves you. THat does not remove the consequences. In the same way someone lights up 1 cigarette, it probably won't cause cancer. It is the 20 or 30 years of daily smoking that has dire consequences. Folks are free to smoke - God obviously doesn't control it - but there are damaging consequences making that choice over and over.

And as a Father, I am sure that is grieves Him.

GCT said...

David,
"I don't know if you have kids, but there is no sane father that wishes his kids harm. God is the same way."

That's rather hard to swallow as at all believable considering the Xian mythos. According to Xianity, we are all going to hell to be tortured for eternity for being sinners (simply by virtue of being created imperfect) and can only get to heaven if god sheds his grace on thee. What kind of loving father only sheds his grace on some of his children (bad) and actually sends other children to be tortured for eternity (worse)?

"So, where is the control? There is none."

Except for 2 things:
1) The control comes in from god demanding that you do what he wants, whether you want to or not.
2) This is reminiscent of the "protection racket" that is employed by the mafia. Sure, you have the freedom to not pay your protection, but don't be surprised when they show up and bust up your place of business or bust you up. It's called extortion, and it's no different than a god that says, "Yeah, you have the 'freedom' to do what you want, but don't be surprised when I throw you into hell and torture you for it." It's not freedom but extortion and dictatorship.

As a different example, think of the mugger who holds a gun to someone else's head. Sure you're free not to give the mugger your wallet, but the consequences might be death. It's not a free choice if one has a gun to one's head.

"As you well know, you don't have to do anything God asks of you - but He still loves you."

Loves me so much that he'll torture me for infinity for not being lucky enough to be granted his grace, right? If that is what passes for love, who needs enemies?

"And as a Father, I am sure that is grieves Him."

How can an omni-max being that is perfect ever feel grief for anything?

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - my 19-year-old thinks that I am mugger too - forcing her to come home at 11 pm, clean up after herself, and participate in the family by washing, drying and folding the towels once a week. And in retrun we provide her tolilet paper, food and shelter. She hates the rules. I think that she even said she hated me in anger not long ago, but I don't. I love her more than ever. She has a choice, but chooses to stay. She gets mad and doens't wanst to talk to me, but I text her that I love her anyway. She usually doesn't reply.

BTW - You did not comment on the rules that I posted from the Bible. I thought it was a pretty fair trade, what do you think?

GCT said...

David,
"my 19-year-old thinks that I am mugger too - forcing her to come home at 11 pm, clean up after herself, and participate in the family by washing, drying and folding the towels once a week."

Nice try, but I think you know the difference. Following rules is one thing. We live in a society where we agree to abide by certain rules, for instance. god, OTOH, tells us to do something or else he will torture us for eternity in hell. It's no different than holding a gun to someone's head. Do you really want to compare your actions of making rules to holding a gun to your daughter's head? Do you think she feels that you're holding a gun to her head?

"You did not comment on the rules that I posted from the Bible. I thought it was a pretty fair trade, what do you think?"

You didn't post any rules. You posted a statement that people who are sinful act in one way while people who are faithful act in another way - which, BTW, is demonstrably false.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - No, I don't see the difference. If my daughter is in by 11, there is no punishment. If one lives by faith, there is no punishment. Neither God nor I prefer to exercise punishment. There is no pleasure in it. We'd prefer obedience any day of the week. How would it profit anyone to just do as they please, infringing on others, without consequence?

You anaogy is bogus because God doesn't force anyone to do anything. He just sets up consequneces for those that don't.

And no we don't agree on the rules. That is why we have lawyers, courts, Congress etc. And even then, we don't agree on the rules. That is why health care passed when even the majority of Americans didn't want THAT package. Add to that the rules are different in Iraq based on their sense of morality or lack there of, than they are here.

If a country does not embrace your personal sense of morality, fairness or judgment, then they are backwards, or whatever name you have for cultures that don't see it your way.

God's law is fair and just to every human. No one is without sin, so He has provided a way for that sin to be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. It's a good plan, you have freedomn of choice to do whatever you please.

It is fair, just and simple.

Regarding the passage in Galatians 5, you are judging others by those standards, how about GCT? Does s/he measure up? You are avoiding the comparison because there is no logical reason to agree that NOT committing those sins listed there, is a fair trade for the love, joy and peace that God will give the one who by faith, refrains from them.

Looking forward to your response.

GCT said...

David,
"No, I don't see the difference. If my daughter is in by 11, there is no punishment. If one lives by faith, there is no punishment."

Here's the differences:
A) Your rules are made in order to help her learn to live responsibly - god's punishments are purely punitive. Also, your punishments are benign compared to eternal torture.
B) Your rules are morally neutral in the sense that you haven't already convicted her before she transgresses while god slates us all for hell unless we receive god's grace.
C) god's rules don't actually lead to heaven - one does not avoid punishment by following his rules
D) god's rules are extortive in nature in that he's making you do something for him specifically and punishing you severly for not doing it. (Although realistically, he'll punish you anyway unless he decides to give you his grace.)

"You anaogy is bogus because God doesn't force anyone to do anything."

Sure, you could keep your wallet from the mugger and choose to be shot by him...

"If a country does not embrace your personal sense of morality, fairness or judgment, then they are backwards, or whatever name you have for cultures that don't see it your way."

Well, yeah. That's because I have reasons for why they are wrong and can rationally and objectively determine such things.

"God's law is fair and just to every human."

No, it clearly is not. Does the aborted fetus go to heaven, yes or no? Either way you answer you show that it is not fair. And, that's just one example. Another example is what you said after what I quoted - that we are all deserving of hell. How is it fair for god to create beings that will sin simply because of the way we were created and then condemning the majority of them to eternal torment for being created that way?

"No one is without sin, so He has provided a way for that sin to be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. It's a good plan, you have freedomn of choice to do whatever you please."

I fail to see how it's a good plan. 1) Can you choose to believe or not believe? Can you choose to believe in Zeus for a day? 2) Do you have freedom of choice to not be destined for hell unless god bestows his grace? 3) Can you really do as you please or is someone going to torture if you make the wrong choice? 4) Does belief confer any sort of morality or is belief itself a moral action? 5) How does killing someone absolve others of sins? Etc. I could go on.

"...how about GCT? Does s/he measure up?"

Measure up to what? You are fundamentally misunderstanding the passage you quote there. It's saying that those who live in the spirit will act in certain ways. It's demonstrably false. But, what am I supposed to be asking what I measure up to? Whether I have faith? I don't, that much should be obvious. Does not having faith mean I engage in drunked orgies? If it's supposed to, then I've been missing out.

"You are avoiding the comparison because there is no logical reason to agree that NOT committing those sins listed there, is a fair trade for the love, joy and peace that God will give the one who by faith, refrains from them."

I'm not even sure what it is you're saying here. Are you asking whether I think I deserve to be tortured in hell for eternity? I don't believe that ANYONE deserves that.

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