Sometimes We Make Our Own Chains

Sometimes we are bound in chains of our own making.

Sometimes we are bound in chains of our own making.

Freedom of Religion is Based on Healthy Interpersonal Communication and the United States of America prides itself on this concept of freedom. Ironically it seems that more people are in bondage than ever before in the history of the country. Debt, substance abuse, greed, spiritual callous, and many other masters have enslaved Americans showing no quarter. Even before the colonies separated from the British, men like Roger Williams had a strong conviction that government and religion must have a wall between them. This wall was intended to protect the church from becoming corrupted by the government and visa-versa.

Another advocate for liberty sprang up in the twentieth century, Parker J. Palmer. He was an activist, educator, and leader for social change. I believe it is in his book, Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead he states, “Material realities … are not the fundamental factor in the movement of history. Consciousness is. Human awareness is. Thought is. Spirit is. Those are the deep sources of freedom and power with which oppressed people historically have been able to move immense boulders and create remarkable change.” Parker continues this thought, “consciousness precedes being, and consciousness can help deform, or reform, our world.” He seems to be saying self-awareness makes the difference in those bound and those who are free.

Paul the Apostle puts yet another unique spin developing this concept from looking past our own imprisonment toward that of others. After preaching (in bondage) what must have been a persuasive sermon before Festus and Agrippa he finishes, “I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.” It appears that Paul’s openness and vulnerability may have been tugging at the heart of Agrippa that day. The most powerful imagery in this story is this, Paul is the only man in the room bound in chains, yet he clearly communicates that not only is he free, but he wishes they were as free as he was. Do we have the same opportunity to stand before this world in the bonds of debt, substance abuse, greed, and spiritual callous, along with many other masters and profess the same kind of liberty and freedom as Paul? What ever I am lacking in openness, I want to discover how to open those closed doors to my heart and then share the liberty with others.