For Liberty

September 1, 2017 Justin Peter Gudel

When I write about PunkChiridion, I find there are times where the words and phrases used might be lacking in clarity.  Over time this happens in any social group or platform when viewed from the outside — the uninitiated.  A shared language is an important defining characteristic when it comes to a tribe.  

One of our stock phrases is DIY Christian, or Do it Yourself Christian.  Since we use it as much as we do, it would behoove me to share several aspects of what we mean with its usage.  

First, what it’s not.  A DIY Christian is not a lone wolf that doesn’t connect to a church.  A DIY Christian isn’t a person who does good to buy their way into heaven, in fact, we aren’t even saying that this person is making an altar call decision for Christ.  

What we are saying, is that a DIY believer is one who has what they need, to advance the kingdom of God.  Not only do they have what they need, but they are also actively pursuing this goal.  There are at least five tenets (that’s a random guess) that make up this personification.  One of which is the following.  

From Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  

Free.  A DIY Christian is free.  Free from what?  Or free to do what?

The Greek word used for freedom here is eleutheria.  The strong definition of the word is liberty.  Both liberty and freedom can be synonyms to each other.  But connotatively there is a difference.  

For example, birds are often described as free.  They are free because they can fly.  They are free because they don’t have the worries that weigh us down.  They don’t care about politics or retirement. 

But are they liberated?  What would they be liberated from, gravity?  No!  Gravity plays a real role in how they fly.  

Liberty, on the other hand, describes the removal or displacement of some force that was once hindering or limiting you.  When Patrick Henry said, Give me liberty or death.”  He was demanding a separation of the British control over the colonies.  He was forcefully stating his desire to be free from their yoke, the burden that they placed on the colonists.  

You see, this verse isn’t saying that we are free to do anything that we want.  That would be chaos.  What this verse is instead teaching is that we are no longer bound.  

In fact, the next thing that Paul goes on to say is that if your faith is determined on circumcision (a Jewish practice that some believed as necessary for salvation), then Jesus will be of no value to you.  He was writing to Jews who were dogmatic in their observance of the law.  And while the law has an important role to play, it misses the point when it doesn’t include Jesus.  Jesus is the fulfillment.  With Jesus, we can now go forward where we never could before.

PunkChiridion is about DIY Christians liberated from sin.  They are no longer slaves.  I have never met anyone who has even been a slave, but I have known several individuals who have overcome an addiction.  Each of them acts and speaks in a way that is almost foreign to me.  They describe their past in terms of being trapped and without hope.  They talk about their future with words that suggest near/limitless potential — or at least the ability to do things they would never have believed were possible before.    

A DIY Christian is free/liberated from the result of sin.  A DIY Christian is free from obligations of mere ritual.  A DIY Christian is free from the pew.  They don’t need to wait for a sermon to raise their voice.  They act.  

As time goes on, It is my hope that PunkChiridion can help other Christians capture this feeling —  this idea that they are now free.  I hope that we can capture it in a way where every time we speak, those around us hear our earnest liberation from this world.