"Free Love" - The Hippy Life
At the end of my last post I described the love of God as given freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. These four descriptors of love come from a teaching called the Theology of the Body, a series of talks given by JP2 during his papacy about sex, love, and God. Yes, Popes talk about sex.
In this post and the next three I’m going to unpack how God’s love for us is free, full, faithful and fruitful, and how we can love in our relationships in such a way that will blow the minds of this world and make the heart of God jump for joy. Because that’ll be a cool thing to do. Let’s start with ‘free love, baby.’
A lot of my friends would call me a bit of a hippy. I love nature, music and dancing. Most of my clothing is floral and/or very colourful. I have a number of tie-dyed items and I HATE wearing shoes (unless it’s really cold). I’m creative by nature and listen to a healthy amount of Bob Dylan.
If there are two things I’m most passionate about in the world, it might be the hippy ideals of freedom and love. But I’m not a fan of ‘free love’ in the cultural sense of the phrase. I’m the biggest fan of real, true, free love.
When people talk about ‘free love’, they mean something that’s not really free, and not really love. The Googlemeister defines free love as ‘the idea or practice of having sexual relations according to choice, without being restricted by marriage or long-term relationships.’ The term basically implies the idea of being able to sleep with whoever you want, whenever you want, without any consequences. This lifestyle kind of sucks. It takes the beautiful principles of freedom and love and twists them into something that isn’t either.
The problem is with our understanding of freedom. Contrary to popular belief, freedom isn’t the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. The opposite of freedom is slavery. We have this habit as humans of not realising when we are enslaved by our bodies’ carnal desires and our ‘feelings’, as opposed to being free to acknowledge our desires, but choose what we truly want instead – love.
Blindly following our immediate sexual desires, without figuring out if they are the most loving choice is not true freedom. It is slavery to lust. True freedom is the ability to look at the situation, at the opportunities before us, and choose to do good. Choose to love truly – through true self-gift.
Jesus did not have to die for us. The scripture even demonstrates that on some level, He didn’t want to. He wanted this ‘cup’ to pass from Him. But using His free will, He chose to do what He knew would set us free. For love of us. For love of you.
For love to be love, it has to be given freely. It has to be a choice. God created us with free will, because if we were unable to choose to love Him, our love would mean nothing. God knows the value of our freedom and holds it so highly that He risked our dismissal in order to have a shot at being truly loved by us. In the same way, if we are unable to choose to love others – if our ‘love’ is forced, or coerced, or if we are enslaved by sexual desire, we are not able to truly love.
All love should be freely given, but that doesn’t make it cheap. The gift of ourselves that we give away is priceless. We need to be free to choose to love well.