THE FIRST STEP
How do you make American politics beautiful? Why are we so often stuck with dysfunction, wishing for something better? We say we fight for liberty, that we have been set free—but deep inside we’re caught longing for something more.
What if we began writing a new story of liberty, founded deeper than even the American ideal? It was for liberty that the Truth has set us free—and in the Kingdom, we will creatively pursue Truth and Beauty forever.
The creative pursuit of truth and beauty: this is liberty. What if we could begin restoration—the healing of the nations, and the people within them—by creatively speaking a story of truth and beauty into American politics and culture? And how do you begin to take this message to the global scale it deserves? The foundation must go deep; its roots must be impenetrable, grown out of unchanging, eternal truth.
We begin by establishing The Journal, a place where we write our truest thoughts. It’s in The Journal where we will develop our vision fully, from work culture, structure, and leadership; messaging, communications, and political debate; and personal well-being, including rest, fitness, health, and nutrition – and offer it as political communication to the world. The vision of LIBERATUS is healing through freedom, and we believe Capitol Hill is Ground Zero. Opportunity for global impact will naturally be immediate. In this place we will be able to fulfill our mission both to pursue Truth and Beauty creatively through The Journal, and to invite others into this pursuit.
As we engage on Capitol Hill, we will develop unused talent, offering a creative space for future writers and thought leaders to grow. Growth from the foundation of redefining liberty to match our work in the Kingdom means they will have even more talent and restoration-based perspective to offer the offices in which they serve. And as they grow by laying the vision foundation for the growth of LIBERATUS, we will also gain critical insight to continue pursuing healing through a deeper understanding of freedom.
From the overarching LIBERATUS brand we create in The Journal, we want to continue inviting others into this pursuit. Over the coming year we want to do that by growing The Journal's community of writers and adding content; write and publish a research paper on work culture aimed at making Capitol Hill a place of cultivation; publish The America Quest: A Thousand Year Dream of Freedom, a book that tells the story of our deeper freedom in a fictional narrative; continue growing the LIBERATUS brand within political culture as an organization based on truth and beauty as we seek nonprofit status; and continue looking to the future, expanding the reach of healing through freedom. This adventure is just beginning, and the opportunities for impact will be limitless. Together we can shake up our political categories and find a freedom deeper than we have yet imagined.
If we don’t act, our politics will continue to be lifeless and dysfunctional, and we will miss an opportunity to bring deep restoration to Capitol Hill. Instead we will engage, knowing we have nothing to fear. LIBERATUS—we are set free!
Journal Entry #1
LIBERTY REDEFINED: THE STORY
It came to me sitting at a traffic light on my way to community group. I grabbed my phone to save it, trying to hurry before I had to start driving again.
Liberty is the creative pursuit of truth and beauty.
At the time, I wrote out a longer definition. In the time leading up to it I had been trying to capture into words a deeply human experience, like the sense of excitement and awe you feel when you step onto a wide open beach for the first time in months, or that moment when you catch a first glimpse of the world around you from the side of a mountain you’ve been climbing.
Or what about that part of you that lights up inside when you see a North Face ad – a snowboarder or free skier twisting through the air, white-capped peaks in the background –and the caption comes on at the end, Never Stop Exploring? It’s like a command you can’t resist.
There are other ad campaigns that do the same thing: Nike’s Find Your Greatness – makes you want to run from DC to California – or Gatorade’s Win From Within featuring a sick Michael Jordan winning the NBA Finals anyway.
And what about the actual real-life moments in sport, anyway? Abby Wambach connects with the cross from Rapinoe that strikes true to its mark late in stoppage time, sending the ball to the upper 90 with her head. Beautiful. A huge ball from Tim Howard, a run by Clint Dempsey, and Landon Donovan brings an entire nation to its feet in the middle of the day on a Wednesday.
So all of these thoughts are building up in my head over years and years really, and in the one of those I-don’t-know-where-this-is-coming-from-and-why-did-it-have-to-hit-when-I’m-driving-again-but-it’s-good-so-I-better-write-it-down-fast moments, I grab my phone and tap out:
It’s that feeling when you stand on the beach, your feet touching the edge of the ocean, your breath swept away into the sky by the wind, and you realize you’re less than a grain of sand inside the great universe, and you fall in love with life all over again—and not just life itself, but the Giver of Life, the Creator of all things true and beautiful.
Libertas is the creative pursuit of truth and beauty.
The next morning I went back to my job in Congress, where you sit in a cubicle, watch multiple TVs, and as is the culture there, spend a large amount of your time in a partisan dump trying to out-manipulate your neighbors who you must always think of as the enemy unless they think EXACTLY like you do, and even then they probably have a different legislative strategy, and well, there goes another would-be hero down to the dumps of America’s destruction.
It’s no wonder the place has a 12% approval rating – and contrary to popular jokes, not even the people who work there approve of the job Congress is doing. And speaking of the dumps, it’s like it would be more uplifting to listen to Anne Hathaway sing her emotionally charged “I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living” on a constant loop, because at least a thought-window would open to our own humanity, our own desperation. The Miserables. That’s about right.
And yet, there are moments of brilliance. You shake hands with Paralympic athletes, one who once ran 100m faster than Oscar Pistorius, another one a Navy vet who swims blind. You tour a nuclear energy facility in South Carolina, a border crossing near Buffalo, a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, a coal mine in Wyoming, airborne school at Fort Benning, the oil sands in Canada. Creative pursuits of truth and beauty, every single one of them. And there are thousands of people working on Capitol Hill who are working hard to keep it that way, who are doing a great work and no matter what they aren’t coming down.
The problem is, there’s not a person in the country who doesn’t think the system is broken.
But there is an answer, a solution. We need to think of our work to govern as a creative pursuit of truth and beauty – not subconsciously, or accidentally, but intentionally.
It was for freedom that we were set free – so what’s that all about? The Truth has set us at liberty, and when all things are fully restored we will be given work to do, and it will be a creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty forever.
If we could think of liberty in this way now, it would change everything – and the change everything is why LIBERATUS exists – but the thinking comes first. We could bring healing and restoration to a broken political mess that desperately needs it. We could make Congress be as inspiring as the Olympic Games – not just for the people who work there, but for the people we represent, for the ones we are tasked with leading well. But most of all we could connect our work today and our hope to a Kingdom that will be unshakeable, where we will sing for eternity, “LIBERATUS—we are set free.”
Journal Entry #2
LIBERTY REDEFINED: WHAT IT MEANS
When you have a thought that builds and builds over years and years out of life experience and emotional energy, and you suddenly catch it one day, as you’re driving around in the car, you have to stop and look at it and think about it because there’s a lot tied into it. That was most certainly the case with the idea to redefine liberty as the creative pursuit of truth and beauty.
The truth is, there’s a lot here and it will take a long time to digest and it’s a big enough idea that we’ll have a lot to say about it, probably for years and years. But, that’s why pursuing Truth and Beauty in The Journal is the mission of LIBERATUS. Ideas have consequences, and there are, quite frankly, enough unwanted consequences on Capitol Hill. The core of the dysfunction behind the work of leading a great nation is most definitely not that we spend too much time carefully thinking about how to govern wisely. With that in mind, the second half of the LIBERATUS mission, as we create The Journal, is to invite others into this pursuit.
Another key note regarding this new definition of liberty is that it transcends time and government and culture, and we’re starting in a place of global impact. We were called to go into all the world, and the core idea of redefining liberty is rooted in the gospel. So naturally it makes sense to build a foundation of ideas that can support inviting others into this pursuit in all areas of life. We need to thoughtfully build a foundation that will enable us to advance liberty on the scale it deserves. But—building that foundation requires us to start where we are, and where we are is a stagnant political culture with lots of undeveloped or unused writing talent on Capitol Hill.
So, an idea to capture abundant life into a definition of liberty has created an entire vision and framework and platform to recruit and build up and grow and bring healing to all of the talent in Congress that doesn’t quite have space to live.
As we build out our team of writers from here, there will no doubt be hundreds of ways of looking at liberty as the creative pursuit of truth and beauty, and ways to live it out, but to begin, there are seven immediate take-aways:
- It assumes we have been created by a Creator.
- It recognizes that we have been placed in nature to live.
- It requires relationship with our Creator, engaging our emotions and mind, and by loving life, relationships in community.
- It creates space for us to work – and to be fully engaged in it creatively. In fact, it assumes our work is a creative pursuit, and that our work culture will be structured to foster creativity.
- It calls us out of the center of our own story, and into one that is epic.
- It ties truth and beauty to each other inseparably—reminding us that we are nothing without love.
- It reflects an infinite pursuit. No longer will we think of freedom as politically living without restraints. It’s a pursuit that goes on forever, just like our work in the Kingdom of Heaven will.
LIBERATUS was founded because these ideas have the potential to change American politics – and the world – on a massive scale. But first, we lay this new foundation, rooted in liberty even deeper than the American founding. And the heartbeat behind it all? LIBERATUS—we are set free.
Journal Entry #3