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Last week I wrote a brief recap for week five of the Summer Book Study. You can find that story here, along with a link to the audio of Fr. Bryan’s teaching.
“It is hopeful and reassuring to know that even a wayward Augustine found freedom in Christ,” said one study-goer following the close of the Summer Book Study. “Something about his story, because I’ve doubted, rebelled, and dishonored God too, reaffirms my belief that none of us are too far gone. God is presently pursuing each of us, just like he pursued Augustine all those centuries ago.”
During the 30 years leading up to his conversion, Augustine believed he was living in freedom; a self-determination that actually kept him in bondage. It was not until he questioned the nature of freedom altogether that Augustine finally realized he could not escape his conflicted will. According to Fr. Jonathan, Augustine identified three stages of freedom:
Following his lecture, Fr. Jonathan asked table groups to confront their notions of freedom. In whose will should we find ourselves? Does Augustine’s description of freedom and bondage compare with personal experience?
“I can easily pinpoint seasons in my life characterized by varying views of freedom,” one parishioner confessed. “‘It’s my will! No, I’m sorry Lord. Lead me in your ways.’ Back and forth, over and over again; it’s a real fight.”
As Fr. Jonathan closed out the Summer Book Study, he challenged Christ Church parishioners and visitors to spend time writing their own confessions; to meaningfully engage with the questions posed by St. Augustine.
“To be converted to Christ is to be set free from a bondage of which we are often unaware, and from which we cannot free ourselves,” Fr. Jonathan concluded. Thanks be to God for providing a way to true freedom. Let us rejoice that God has freed us from bondage!
For full audio of Fr. Jonathan’s teaching on Books VIII and IX of Augustine’s Confessions, please visit our media page »
Nate WilsonWriter & Storyteller
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