A literary look at the walls that protect us—and keep us captive
At the heart of her narrative is the fate of two political ideals: liberty and popular sovereignty.
The intersection of race and sexuality is the ur-story of American culture.
In the Bible, freedom is always more than a simple choice or the absence of coercion.
American liberty has been corrupted, and it’s up to us to restore it.
Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus have something to say about living authentically.
Yaa Gyasi's novel reveals the freedoms and captivities we all inherit.
American Christianity has faced theological-political crises before. Repeatedly, visions of what is possible for the nation have fallen short of reality. In the past, periods of change pushed faithful people to reconsider what they believed, not only about the nation but also about the meaning of God’s call to justice. In each critical moment, for good or ill, Americans altered their religious views, and the horizon of what was possible expanded or contracted. In revolutionary America, disunity resulted from debates over whether faith required obedience to the king or a revolt.
President Obama’s speech in Newtown on December 17 included this pivotal question: “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” The president is bristling here at the way our political discourse reflexively leaps to claims about individual rights and freedoms.
Every pastor needs to address the issue of freedom and accountability. It's part of the pastor's role in nurturing a church community: neither a laissez-faire atmosphere nor a judicial one helps people grow as disciples.
Franzen has turned his considerable novelistic talents to a kind of inquisitorial examination of the American ideal of freedom. He shows how freedom is negatively construed—focused on what we are free from and not on what freedom might be for, what worthy ends it might be used to pursue.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Leonard Bernstein was there to celebrate with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The great chorus did not voice the familiar "Freude, Freude" ("joy, joy") but instead sang "Freiheit, Freiheit" ("freedom, freedom"). That simple, direct, unambiguous moment, however, is not the norm for thinking about freedom.