Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Born Free

When I run outdoors I am filled with a great sense of freedom. I love being able to go anywhere under any weather conditions. It feels so liberating. Over the last few months, my freedom has been limited because of a minor foot injury. I have been longing for a good, long run outside.

This past weekend, my longing for freedom and running aligned in unusual fashion. Nancy and I were in DC, and I awoke Saturday morning with a chance to go running around the National Mall. As I ran from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument, I began to think about how wonderful it is to live in a free country.

The outermost point on my run was to the Jefferson Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial was constructed under Roosevelt’s presidency to honor Jefferson’s legacy. Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States and a vocal advocate for freedom and for separation of church and state.

As I stood inside the open air memorial, I began reading the inscriptions chiseled into the walls. One quote from Jefferson became lodged in my mind.
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

Jefferson was referring in this quote to rights given to all men by our Creator to be free, which was taken from a paper written by Jefferson about the rights of all citizens.

On my way back to the hotel, I was considering the basis for Jefferson’s argument. Jefferson appealed to the central ideology that Americans in his day believed in God. I was struck with a variation of Jefferson’s question: Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that there is a Creator God?

Yesterday, I read a recent SBC publication that indicates that 1 out 4 young adults in America do not believe in God. It doesn’t take a prophet or a sociologist to report that we live in post-Christian America.

So what do we do? We can retreat into our churches and rail against the pagan world and bemoan our losses. We can give up entirely and join the rest of the nation under the guise of “loving” everyone. I don’t have all the answers, and I invite you to share your thoughts on this topic.

I do have one suggestion for a response. I propose that we remain faithful to the task of leading people to the One who isn’t surprised by any of the recent surveys. I propose we lead people to the One who can truly make us free.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea.
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory, hallelujah!
Glory! Glory, hallelujah!
Glory! Glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.