Naomi quoted Jean Vanier:
Some people flee from commitment because they are frightened that if they put down roots in one soil they will curtail their freedom and never be able to look elsewhere. It is true that if you marry one woman you give up millions of others—and that’s a curtailment of freedom! But freedom doesn’t grow in the abstract; it grows in a particular soil with particular people. Inner growth is only possible when we commit ourselves with and to others.
Our church plant is putting together a core team that will be making several concrete commitments to one another. One of the reasons is to build deep, strong foundations for Christ Church to flourish in mission. But another expected result is that those who commit themselves to this community will grow in spiritual maturity. Freedom does not rise from an obligation-less life, and we never grow spiritually in a vacuum. True spiritual growth and freedom are only possible in the context of commitment and community.
Ben, well said. We have found that our covenant helps to make explicit our expectations and commitments to each other and serves as a bond that holds us together so that we can grow and change. When no explicit commitments are made people entertain options when things become difficult. We tend to move down the path of least resistance. Commitments force us to deal with things that we wouldn’t naturally want to deal with. But those things are the very obstacles to making us capable of communion and therefore critical to our spiritual growth.
Commitment leads to freedom not bondage – freedom to know healing and communion in relationships which is only possible where trust can be established. It’s bondage to be ruled by the tyranny of self which destroys trust in relationships.
Vanier is a well of tremendous insight.