You may say I’m a dreamer

John Lennon would’ve turned 70 this coming weekend, had he still been alive.

People took offense when he commented, in the 1960s, that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.  People took offense again when his song Imagine dared to say “imagine…no religion, too.”

In what some might chalk up to a ‘hippie lifestyle’ or perhaps avant-garde art, I tend to think that Lennon was trying to free people from constraints that society and culture put on them.  …and I think he was successful, largely!

If we can get over the things that keep us from each other – or, worse, keep us fighting with each other – we can accomplish all kinds of good.  If the “-isms” (as Lennon referred to them in “Give Peace a Chance”) were to vanish, we might find humanity on, more or less, the same side.

Can we really be free in our society?

If we’re free, we so often take that to mean free from responsibility.  We take it to mean my personal rights and freedoms.  Instead, if we could see the good of being freed for good, or freed to be who each of us are, or free to join in community, if we could see ourselves as joining in that kind of freedom – just imagine…!

I think we do need to ask questions about how we are free, or what we’re freed for in our society. There are institutions that, for their own sake, will put dampers on peoples’ freedoms.  (And, briefly, I’m not completely against having certain limits for the sake of upholding standards and safety of the whole.) But what of those institutions that will actually work against the collective good because they fear their own survival?

Here is a short case study.  A local post-secondary institution does not engage with religious groups of any kind, and so will not engage even with those who may share its values.  So, when an opportunity arises when some food can be collected for a local agency that works for those in need, the school will not work with a church group to collect that food – and the school would even work at doing its own collection (having to navigate what’s involved to start up such an event, etc) because, apparently, it sees its own preservation as more important than the need it also wants to address.

Can we be free? Can we trust one another, instead of fear, so that we might accomplish more together?

I think we can.  We need to work at learning about each other, and sharing in each others’ lives.  We need to work at building relationships so we can learn of one anothers’ gifts.

This kind of work towards freedom also works towards peace and life for all.  It means caring about each others’ welfare.  It’s counter-cultural, but it’s worthwhile.

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Posted on October 7, 2010, in Tyler's occasional web log. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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