H. L. Mencken described Puritan fundamentalism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.” There really is something to this. Religious and political thinking that robs people of their freedoms to live and think freely stands in direct contrast to our Baptist heritage. It’s no wonder Roger Williams got kicked out of the Puritan communities in his quest for soul-freedom. We were reminded of this in Pastor Rick’s sermon on Sunday as we reflected on the Hebrew holiness codes of old and Jesus’ newer vision of radical love: “Love, which is at the center of holiness, is not a downer. We need to remember that. We break down the wall between the sacred and profane because an ever-present God demands it of us. Taking on holiness does not allow us to put up walls of superiority and judgment.”
How might we make decisions about how we govern ourselves, our communities, our families, and our own lives if we take the route of free-love rather than limiting-fear? Self-expression, conscious exploration, and social engagement flow from this space of freedom and compassion, they also teach us more about the world and its Maker.