7 Questions About Liberatus
Today we're celebrating another milestone in the life of Liberatus! We launched our site on May 20th, 2015; today marks one year of publishing a weekly journal on how to bring Truth and Beauty to American politics, written by people on the inside. To mark the occasion, here are seven questions whose answers illustrate where we're headed.
1. How can I help celebrate one year of the weekly journal bringing Truth and Beauty to American politics?
The best way to celebrate with us is to share Liberatus with a friend or coworker! A vision like healing is deeply personal, so we need your help sharing it if we're going to grow. In fact, the most effective way Liberatus will grow is through personal relationships. You and your friends can get involved by applying to write with us, subscribing to the journal and joining us for a Subscriber Coffee (small group conversations on our journal topics designed to build community within politics), or by making a purchase in our store to fund the movement.
While Liberatus is structured specifically for people working in American politics, especially in the Washington, DC area, everyone is welcome to follow along. In fact, because we live in a Democratic-Republic, everyone with the right to vote has a measure of authority over our political discourse. Even if you're not actively working in politics, Liberatus offers insight on how to engage from a point of Truth and Beauty for anyone who is desperate for it.
2. Why are personal relationships so important?
There’s a lot of pressure in today's culture to offer nifty new products with catchy marketing. The vision of Liberatus is much deeper: we can look inward, face our demons, and actually bring healing and restoration to American politics in whatever capacity we engage in it.
3. What is Truth and Beauty?
We all know what Truth and Beauty are intuitively (although some may argue the truth is relative, or only a matter of how one sees the world—both of which deny obvious reality but that is a journal for another day). When we say American politics could be defined by Truth and Beauty, we all know without thinking very hard that these aren't the defining characteristics of politics. Some people might argue that this is too philosophical. But it's funny to me when I hear that, because you have to be pretty philosophical to hear the message that American politics could be defined by Truth and Beauty, intuitively know that idea would have vast practical implications for work culture, communication, and personal well-being, and then write those practical changes off as mere philosophy.
Bringing Truth and Beauty to politics won’t be easy, though, and that's why we’ve created a weekly journal to reset our affections. The truth is, our way of engaging in politics is tied directly to what we believe. If we believe healing, restoration—Truth and Beauty—are possible in politics, it will radically reshape our work culture, communication, and personal well-being. But we're going to need to hear this message over and over to get us there. We're going after our affections first; if we do that well, the practical steps (which we've begun outlining through our weekly action items) will fall into place.
Ultimately, though, we're not just leaving the answer to this question to everyone's inner intuition, and the myriad answers that would bring. Truth and Beauty are capitalized because we're talking about Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven, and his work to restore all things. We're imagining life in the Kingdom, letting that change our perspective on politics now, and talking about practical steps that are a natural result of this new ethos. We believe the creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty is freedom; it's time to bring a freedom deeper than anything we have yet imagined to politics. Through our core values, we've outlined how Truth and Beauty are impacting our own work.
4. Why is photography a key element of Liberatus?
The most obvious and simple way to communicate Truth and Beauty is through nature. No one has looked at a sunrise and walked away wishing the Artist had done a better job. Because these elements are often undeniable in nature, being in nature is often a restorative experience, especially for an audience that spends too much of its time in a crowded city. Through photography, we are communicating our vision intuitively, bringing a little of nature's restorative elements into our work day, and encouraging people to get out of the city and recharge as needed so they can come back and offer themselves, and a restored perspective, more deeply to their work.
We're writing a new story of freedom, founded even deeper than the American ideal. It's an adventure that's just beginning, and nature photography can communicate that better than words. We could have created a specific set of rules to follow from the beginning, but we'd miss creating an empty space for others to bring their own ideas and passions and join us in this adventure. We’ll arrive at the destination much more deeply moved that way.
5. What is Liberatus not?
We're not a nifty new $0.99 app that will make your life a dream. We're not a catchy new slogan, a political ideology, or another in-your-face bullhorn trying to shout at you until you listen. We're not a journal of fluff pieces that avoid the harshness of reality, and we're not naive in thinking American politics will become magical if we just say the words Truth and Beauty enough. We're not a trite sound bite to solve all of your problems, and we're not a scorecard that tells you who's a hero and who you should hate. We're not here to play the political game.
6. Where is Liberatus headed?
In the long run, we’re looking at hosting retreats around our vision of healing through freedom to build relationships and then move our ideas forward practically. At the beginning, I talked a lot about building projects on Capitol Hill to demonstrate what a deeper knowledge of freedom would look like. Today, those ideas and projects have been combined and focused into three ways to join the pursuit: apply to write, subscribe to the journal, and fund the movement.
Our goal is to empower writers in American politics to lead cultural change through a weekly journal telling the story of healing through freedom. One of the best ways we can empower beyond creating the journal is by getting people out of the city and into a place where their minds can wake up, refresh, and renew perspective, so I imagine taking retreats with our writers, subscribers, and donors.
Currently, through our weekly action items, we've started outlining a framework for cultural change, but as we grow and interact with more writers and subscribers, we will begin putting those pieces together with more specificity. As people give to fund this movement, we'll have the ability to hire writers and grow our writing team, host Subscriber Coffees consistently, and increase the reach and impact of the vision of healing through freedom.
7. What's your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge right now is fundraising. To grow as noted in the previous answer, we've set a goal of raising $250,000 by the end of 2016*. In order to maintain a high-quality journal that actually is a creative outlet for people on the inside, we have to have the ability to hire two full-time writers and at least a part-time graphic designer, and to do that we have to have certainty for two years. Hitting that fundraising goal will allow us to plan for the journal over that two-year period, which in turn will allow us to serve more writers, meet with more subscribers, and ultimately bring Truth and Beauty to American politics.
*Update as of July 15: At the time of this publishing, we were in the process of making a fundraising ask that would have covered the majority of the costs of running the journal and hiring staff for two years. Opportunities to make asks that large may be rare; while we still hope to raise the funds necessary to grow our full-time writing team, in the short-term we need people who share the vision of healing to join us by contributing monthly.
We need to raise more funds to continue writing a new story of freedom:
“I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading Liberatus. It causes me to think and has also led me to draw closer to the Lord and actually listen to His will for my life. I'm not sure where it will lead, but I just wanted to thank you for playing a part in strengthening my faith. Something that was sorely needed.” -Grassroots Activist
"I am so overwhelmed by the ideas and writing [of Liberatus]." -Liberatus Subscriber
"I came to Washington with high ideals and big dreams, but the reality of Capitol Hill culture came close to making me give up. However, through Liberatus I have had the opportunity to view my work through a new lens. I no longer see the workday devoid of meaning, but instead, I see it as an opportunity to speak truth and beauty into our broken system. Ideas are powerful, and I believe that God is working through Liberatus to change Capitol Hill." -Current Congressional Staffer and Liberatus Writer
"It's poignant and inspirational. It's always a great read to have early in the morning while the day is still quiet." -Liberatus Subscriber
"The young generation of Christians currently in public service has a calling to bring restorative 'good news' to bear in the way we work. Only the gospel possesses the power to end the trench warfare that is our political dialogue. The Liberatus message of truth and beauty resonates with my deep desire to play a role in answering this call." -Current Congressional Staffer and Liberatus Writer
"It's so encouraging to be part of a new, creative, and refreshing approach to our nation's political climate." -Current Congressional Staffer and Liberatus Writer