We don’t believe that freedom exists without responsibilityBy Lisa Pay BA '86
Professor of Social Work, Anderson University
For the believer, freedom is a divine paradox: it is only possible when defined by responsibility. At Anderson University, students encounter opportunities to experience a freedom that broadens and deepens their faith. I think of the story of the Prodigal Son. He had to lose everything and experience the consequence of his pride to receive his true identity. He hadn’t really grasped the beauty of who he was and all that he had until he suffered. Amazingly, when he returned he was given back all he had squandered in his rebellion and more. He was smarter and truly free because he recognized and embraced the boundaries of his identity as a son of the Father. We don’t know if the older son ever learned or embraced his true freedom from the legalism that bound him, but we see clearly the contrast between the brothers. We know the younger brother chose to accept what the father offered when he returned. It seems that we can’t be fully responsible to exercise freedom without a choice. Grace will exist whether I live in it or not, but I get to choose.
The fruit of freedom is what we do with our lives. In the classroom, in the social clubs, in campus ministries, in my office, in chapel, in the resident halls, and in students’ eyes, the tension between responsibility and freedom yields an abundant harvest on this campus, producing responsible, bright, and servant-oriented students who embrace their identity as they come home to who they have always been.
Visit Signatures Online to read additional essays and a Q&A with President Edwards on the project of revitalization at Anderson University.