Reader lukepop left an excellent comment to my Embracing Crisis post that I’d like to respond to here. Here is what he wrote:

a ’slave’ to revolutionary love? I thought it went, ‘the truth shall set you free’?

what’s the difference between this alleged slavery to music and your current admitted slavery to religion? as a former Christian, I fail to see how that is better.

addiction to music may be bad, but dogmatic religion is worse, regardless of how ‘revolutionary’ it is branded by modern evangelists to be.

Sorry, lukepop, that’s “Christianeze” irony. Let me explain.

Just like Muslims, I believe that “true freedom is surrender to God.” How? Well, it works something like this. God designed and created humans, and then he told us the best way to live (he gave us the owner’s manual). When we live in opposition to God’s recommendations (and do the opposite of the manual’s “Warning! Do not use this product to…” statements), we actually become less human, and our free will becomes captive to things like addiction (to drugs, music, praise, routine, etc.), living under increasing deception, etc. But when we choose to trust that God knows how we should live better than we do, and when we obey him, that is when we can truly be alive and fully human. Surrender to God isn’t surrendering to a dogmatic system of religious rules, it’s surrendering to a mindset wherein we are totally free to be who we really are, rather than some shadow of who we were meant to be that is corrupted by sin and brokenness and addictions.

Consider, for example, the pursuit of wealth. It might seem that a capitalist society has given me great freedom to work however I want and make as much money and get as much stuff as I want. But in the pursuit of wealth, and happiness via wealth, I actually become a slave to my possessions. I constantly worry about how I am going to keep all my stuff, how I’m going to get more stuff, how I’m going to keep up my standard of living, etc. My free will is imprisoned by my stuff and my wealth, and it keeps me from acting in total freedom. But if I surrender to God and submit all my possessions to his purposes, I am free from any hold my stuff could have over me, and I can act in who God really designed me to be.

The above case is also an illustration that “true power is having nothing to lose,” which is not a Christian principle but it does explain why Osama and radical Muslims may have more power than George W. Bush. And it explains how Christians could be the most powerful force on earth if they chose to live with the revolutionary love of Jesus Christ. What if all Christians gave up their excess wealth to feed the poor and combat AIDS? What if all Christians took to the streets, found the homeless and the abused and the prostitutes and invited them into their homes to love and care for them? What if all Christians responded to hate and violence not by destroying their enemies (in the Iraq war, for example), but by laying down their lives as Jesus did? What if all Christians focused on winnowing away the sins in their own hearts instead of judging the sins of others? What if all Christians ascribed unsurpassable worth to everyone they met instead of being critical on petty matters? If Christians actually loved the way Jesus did, they would be the most powerful force in the world; and not the type of force that comes over people and forces a change in their behavior but not their hearts, but the type of force that comes under people and encourages a transformation of the heart by way of relentless, sacrificial love. There is nothing more powerful than agape love! But it is so rarely used.

Thanks for your comment, lukepop. Let me know if it helped.