Peterson on Freedom

I was on the verge of returning this book from a shelf in my room to its regular resting place in the living room, when I started skimming one of the early chapters and again my heart said yes, yes, yes! Here are some of my favorite quotes from a man who has easily become one of my top 5 favorite authors.

We are born into a world that shows everywhere the signs of some great primordial catastrophe. There are vast beauties and breathtaking virtues in this present age, but nothing pristine. The sign of our birth is a scar. The world into which we are born is dangerous. The parents to whom we are born are flawed. The governments under which we are reared are corrupt. Are we free to live? Or are we only allowed a meager energy and a compromised space to cope?

Sin is the fact of separation from God’s presence and purposes, experienced variously as restriction, limitation, inadequacy and weakness. Every interruption of the will or impulse or desire interferes with freedom. And the interruptions are endless. Life lived under these conditions cannot be called free, even though there will always be unforced and spontaneous moments that preserve a sense of the possibilities of freedom. Sensitive and thoughtful persons are often acutely aware of enslavement. Paul’s explosive “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24) is archetypal.

The rescue is not from the world, and not from limitations or boundaries, but from sin, that which separates us from God and his purposed creation and destined redemption. And the rescue is God’s work. Nothing else will do for a beginning. If there is no rescue from sin, there is no point in talking about freedom at all.

Remembering the Joseph story, we realize that no pit or prison is inaccessible to the freeing, delivering, rescuing power of God, and that freedom, once established even in one person, extends itself into political and social relationships and cultural movements.

We never develop the freedoms of maturity and wholeness and strength on our own, but always through the shared life of others in the faith.

Fear is a normal response to the chaos around us, the threat of being overcome by hostile forces or of being ineffective or hurt or thwarted or fated to poor and mean and scrubby lives…

It takes a certain bold courage to receive freedom. The free life is a strenuous life. Living in freedom is demanding and sometimes painful. If security is our highest priority, we will not want to live free.

Eugene Peterson, Traveling Light


online wanderings (and freelance wonderings)

Why is it so difficult to isolate my myriad thoughts into succinct writing ideas? I can be in a thoughtful, creative mood but lack the ability to organize ideas. It seems the best method to combat this ill is to tackle it head-on, and simply write. Since this is my blog, I suppose it’s a good place to “just write” without a specific goal.

The sheer volume of text-based information on the internet astounds me. Blogs, e-zines, e-books, print magazines with an online presence, online news sites, and more. As I research potential markets for freelance writing efforts, I often emerge from the digital world with google-eyes (having nothing to do with, although it is my search engine of choice). Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind. In one sense, it’s exciting and encouraging to know there are so many possible venues for writers. It isn’t as if we’re all submitting stories to the same magazine, with one chance in a million of getting a “yes.” In another sense, it’s discouraging to spend hours sifting through information, feeling at last like I’ve learned a few things but lost precious hours of life in the process. (Isn’t it always that way with the internet, though? It’s the great time-stealer of our age.)

But yes, the volume. The vastness. Am I ready to plunge into it strategically? If not, I’ll probably drown in a sea of words and undeveloped ideas.