Saturday, July 07, 2007

The tension of freedom

Once, in my early Christian walk, I was trying to explain to a non-believing friend why there was "bad" in the world, if God was inherently "good".

Thankfully, I was reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, so I could answer her question as such:

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata--of creatures that worked like machines--would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ectasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free." ~C.S. Lewis

I also have to remember that my children also have this wondrous thing called "free will". At times, they may make a decision, or feel a certain way about something, that maybe I do not agree with. I have to remember they are individuals, not an extension of me or my husband. While they may show certain characteristics of us, they are not us.

A healthy tension, to be sure.

Michael Pollan in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, speaks of food and choice:

Without such a thing as fast food there would be no need for slow food, and the stories we tell at such meals would lose much of their interest. Food would be...well, what it always was, neither slow nor fast, just food: this particular plant or that particular animal, grown here or there, prepared this way or that. For countless generations eating was something that took place in the steadying context of a family and a culture, where the full conciousness of what was involved did not need to be rehearsed at every meal because it was stored away, like the good silver, in a set of rituals and habits, manners and recipes. I wonder if it isn't because so much of that context has been lost that I felt the need, this one time, to start again from scratch."

In essense, he was saying that in order to enjoy the slow food, one has to experience the the fast food. In order to appreciate the painstaking process of slow food, one must know the ins and outs of fast food. (Which he explores more in depth in his book.) Sometimes my children must experience "junk" to know the opposite of it. (Not on purpose on my part by any means.)

Likewise, in order to experience His grace, I sin. (Not on purpose on my part by any means.:) This balance, this tension, this freedom, is a part of life.

Seeing my children as individuals with free will, can be a scary thing. However, my control is illusional. While I do have a certian amount of control of their lives, it is He who has the most control. And if they are in His hands; why, that's the best place they can be.

More on this:Brothers, Embrace the Providence of God


Elise said...

Oh, yes. What a wise woman to quote Mere Christianity to your friend! It is so well written.

These are such good thoughts - especially regarding children. I hold tightly, expecting most times for them to follow in my path. But I suppose, if my path is correct, they might need to experience the rocky ground around it to appreciate the *steadiness* (hopefully) of my path! God's path.

Wonderful thoughts, friend.
I'm off to make a crock pot of pinto beans for after church tomorrow... :)

Beck said...

Beautiful, beautiful.
And true - it's only since I've experience real suffering that I've known true gratitude for God and His mercy.

bluemountainmama said...

wonderful post, andrea. i have been reading "the sacred romance" and so much of that book falls along the same lines. who wants love that is forced?

it is out of God's extreme love for us, that the freedom is given. very thoughtful tie-in to parenting and our children, also.