We Are Set Free


How do you begin to capture in one word the expanse of life to the full? Even in asking the question, our eyes start to gloss over. Our minds perhaps get excited for a brief moment, and then slip back into a fog, the awakening forgotten.

But underneath the surface, when you barely notice, it’s there. It’s a rhythm that won’t stop. There is a longing, to be sure, but there’s something deeper, something more foundational. It’s a constant, relentless beat. Steady, though it will rise and fall. Like the drum beat deep in the Mines of Moria, it’s there, almost as if waiting to be released. Indeed, we fear its release, as if it would tear you to pieces like a band of orcs in broad daylight.

It is your heart. It is beating, and you are alive.

Alive, and yet – so dead. Look down at your hands. They are dying; your flesh is dying, you are dying.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We could hear this to the end of our days, and yet never fully comprehend it.

Now, any real conversation on matters of the heart must give a nod of thanks to writers like C.S. Lewis and John Eldredge, and there are of course many more. I’m currently reading Waking the Dead – which I highly recommend – but the goal here is coming up with a word to capture the promise of life to the full.

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Life, abundantly—not a spirit of slavery. Can anyone describe a presidential election this way? Congress? In the rest of life there are glimpses, of course. You rent a sleeps-23-beach-house in Delaware, fill it with friends, and for the first time in an age you’re just free. You sit down at a giant table, and pass around more food and drink than you could possibly stuff in, gathered together just because there’s a Father who’s adopted all of you into one big family, and in whose presence you feel safe and free, and because without him you wouldn’t even know each other.

And then your grandpa - or someone close to you - dies, and you leave the funeral and dinner that follows and go back to his cramped little room where he closed out the days of his beautiful life and there’s pictures and clothes and whatever belongings he had left dumped all over the floor and you just have to look at it all and decide which pieces of someone you love you throw away forever and which ones you put into your backpack and bring home from Ohio with you, as if you can somehow do an entire life justice by keeping a wristwatch, some Navy photos, and the copy of 1776 you gave him for Christmas in 2008. 

And in moments like these, you know there is life coming but you just want to be serious and get on with life and then you realize it was almost nice to have gotten a stomach bug two days before because now you can just be worn out from puking all night thinking about how broken the world is and how this isn’t the way things were meant to be.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Shocking. And yet—there’s the sigh again—if only we could just grasp this.

We will.

We see glimpses of our deliverance from slavery and fear in the great stories we love. Perhaps images of citizens – a community – clothed in white garments walking victorious after a great battle among Greek columns, surrounded by rugged terrain, an ancient spirit of liberty in the air, a beat we’ve ignored for too long flash through a distant recess of your mind, accompanied by a woman’s voice calling out, singing ancient and forgotten lyrics like from the soundtrack of Gladiator. Eventually traces of that spirit would found the greatest country the world has ever known, and it’s over recapturing it and restoring it that we fight to this day.

When the ideas for this new venture began forming, I wanted a word that would capture this idea of liberty in a way that would shake us, that would help us see again the lost and forgotten fullness of it.

Libertas. It’s Latin for liberty—almost is liberty, and yet not quite. And perhaps the Latin could draw you in, with a sense of awe and wonder—there’s something deeper here than we’ve realized before now, you could think. We say we fight for freedom, for liberty, and yet—do we?

If we let the drum beat rise out of the depths of our souls would it be a song of freedom or would it be a terrifying monster more evil than anything we could have imagined? In each moment, day by day we have set our faces to pursue one or the other—or if not pursuing, resting in one or the other.

Really, which is served by the spin, the political hatred, the assumptions that people who don’t vote like us are the enemy? I mean Grandpa was a Democrat; it’s as if I should think his motives were some sort of sinister plot as soon as I landed back at Reagan. We’ve all been there, sucked into the culture, living it, breathing it, feeding on it. We’ve all given in to the dark thoughts, the fear that some people aren’t worth redeeming, that they are the object of the war.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Darkness shattered. We are the objects of the war. Every single one of us. It’s a war of love for our souls, for our bodies, for our heartbeat. There is one who came and entered the war—fought it for us—so we could know him.

 “The Truth will set you free.”

Libertas was taken. It wasn’t a name that was available in the state of Virginia. A new name was required; the old one wouldn’t quite do. We would have to find a new identity.

“The Truth will set you free.”

Open Google Translate. English to Latin. Type in “set free”.  Translate.

Suddenly, the whole vision and concept matured a thousand years. Libertas is what we were born for, but we walked away. And ever since there’s been a war over the drum beat deep down there, over who’s heart it would beat in rhythm to. The beauty of it all is stunning. We needed to be redeemed to walk in liberty again. We are offered life, abundantly, and a heartbeat, an anthem to go with it. We needed to be set free to live in freedom.


LIBERATUS—we are set free.

Issue 002: The Heartbeat - PT 1