Commitment in a world that flees obligation
This week, GraceAnna Castleberry made waves with her article (http://cbmw.org/topics/feminism/thediorwomanandtruefeedom/) on “The Dior Woman and True Freedom.” She was commenting on the new commercial from perfume maker Christian Dior. In it, Natalie Portman stars as a runaway bride, who abandons the altar, casts off her white wedding dress, and runs in a black cocktail dress to a nearby cliff where a handsome man is waiting in a helicopter to fly her into the sunset and the “freedom” she craves. The clip is just over a minute long and so we’re left to interpret the details, but Castleberry has a healthy suspicion of its message. She says this:
“Have we really reached a point where freedom is portrayed by such petty play things like a little black dress, a helicopter ride, and a man to kiss but not commit to? Is freedom merely the absence of responsibility? If that’s the definition of freedom, I don’t want it. It has such an achy hollow feel it hurts.”
Castleberry speaks from the perspective of a home-maker, who sees her commitments to her husband and children as rich investments rather than burdensome obligations to be thrown off like Portman’s wedding dress. Her words reminded me how counter-cultural commitment is in our world today and how strong the allure to “freedom” is for many. I think that she is right in identifying marriage and child-raising as two responsibilities that more and more people in our culture are wrongly viewing as obstacles to their version of freedom.
I wonder whether there are other areas where the allure of freedom at the expense of commitment has influenced you or those you love:
- Fellowship: Getting close to other believers infringes on our time, and makes us vulnerable to their opinions and advice. But committing to healthy relationships in the church is what helps us grow and develop as believers.
- Church membership: In church membership a believer says, “I submit to this local church and its leadership.” It moves from a person from a vague position of attender to a clear position of commitment and brings with it strength and accountability and trust.
- Service: Most Christians would like to serve in some way, but most serving infringes on our freedom because we have to commit to serving at a certain time regardless of how we feel or what competing opportunities come along.
- Bible reading: Committing to a specific reading plan for the Bible can feel like an infringement on our freedom because it might feel like something that “we have to do.” But most people don’t end up doing anything with consistency that they haven’t made a firm commitment to.
- Faith: Perhaps the biggest threat to the Miss Dior version of freedom is faith itself because in it we submit ourselves to Jesus as Lord and live in light of the sacrifice He made for us.
Obviously the list could go on and on. I shared above how Castleberry rejected “Miss Dior’s” definition of freedom. But I love the positive description she gives of Biblical freedom:
“… True freedom doesn’t come in what I rebelliously cast off but in what I humbly accept. For love to exist there has to be a taking on of responsibility. It was the ultimate groom who taught us this when He bled for his bride, the church. There was the deepest of pain, but the love.”
I thank God for the many at Grace who have embraced a Biblical view of freedom that includes a healthy view of commitment. With the dawn of a new year approaching, I’d encourage you to look at ways that Miss Dior’s view of freedom may have influenced you. And ask whether there aren’t commitments you might make before God, out of gratitude for the Saviour who sacrificed not only His freedom, but His very life for you. And while you do, thank God for the people in your life who chose not to ride off into the sunset in a helicopter, but instead made sacrificial commitments to invest in your growth or health or faith or well-being.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
In awe of Him,