Week 2: Two Essays

Essay 1

"Free on the Inside"

by George, CLF member incarcerated in Ohio

What is freedom? Is it an ideal, concept or right? Why are there so many people who are locked up inside themselves?

I’ve seen those who had to come to prison before they could learn what it meant to be free on the inside—it’s liberating.

True freedom starts when we remove self-doubt, stop limiting ourselves, and find the things that empower us. Freedom is not the pursuit of happiness—that pursuit is in opposition to freedom. Seeking happiness is like trying to get to tomorrow. It never comes!

Freedom is being free from restrictions, limitations, social norms, expectations, false hopes, etc. Freedom also is knowing that we are made of God. Every cell within our body is infused with God’s energy.

Therefore, we are created to be divine. We are more powerful that we know—we are free!

Essay 2

"Is This Your Religion?"

by A. Powell Davies

We are the consummation of thousands of years of religious history. We are thousands of years that have stripped off superstition and battled with tyranny; thousands of years that struggled to take fear out of religion--to take it right out of human life; thousands of years that have marched, sometimes joyfully, sometimes in agony, toward spiritual emancipation. We are indeed the consummation of something.

Yet in this world of blood and sorrow it is scarcely important, hardly worth mentioning, unless in addition we are the beginning of something, unless our religion is new--the religion that has always been new in every prophet who died rather than forsake it; the religion that has been buried over and over again in creeds and rituals and sacred sepulchers and yet has always come to live; the religion that today is new all over the earth, stammering itself into utterance in every language known to humankind.

The religion that says freedom!--freedom from ignorance and false belief; freedom from spurious claims and bitter prejudices; freedom to seek the truth, both old and new, and freedom to follow it; freedom from the hates and greeds that divide humankind and spill the blood of every generation; freedom for honest thought, freedom for equal justice; freedom to seek the true, the good and the beautiful with minds unimpaired by cramping dogmas and spirits uncrippled by abject dependence. The religion that says humankind is not divided--except by ignorance and prejudice and hate; the religion that sees humankind naturally one and waiting to be spiritually united; the religion that proclaims an end to all exclusions--and declares a brother and sisterhood unbounded! The religion that knows that we shall never find the fullness of the wonder and the glory of life until we are ready to share it, that we shall never have hearts big enough for the love of God until we have made them big enough for the worldwide love of one another.