Remarks prepared for delivery
Liberatus is a weekly journal on how to bring Truth and Beauty to American politics, written by people on the inside. Our vision ultimately is healing through freedom, through a deeper knowledge of freedom.
We believe that as we connect our concept of freedom to our work in the Kingdom, that we can redefine freedom as “the creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty.” In all reality, “the creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty” is a loaded phrase. There is much more that could be said on each of these words individually; much more so when they are combined into a phrase.
As we consider how to unpack these ideas, there are two disclaimers that should be made. First off, anyone watching American politics, whether from the inside here in DC, or from a distance, immediately knows “Truth and Beauty” don’t really describe American politics; at the same time, each of us knows intuitively what it would mean if Truth and Beauty were the defining characteristics.
The second disclaimer is that there is much that needs to be said and explained regarding these ideas: thinking of freedom in this way would yield radical changes to our work culture, communication, and personal well-being. What I mean is, healing through a deeper knowledge of freedom is a holistic vision, and that’s why Liberatus is a weekly journal, built around seven-week issues, and written by people on the inside.
The truth is, the vision of Liberatus—the vision of healing—will take us to the bottom of political dysfunction—whether it’s spiritual, ideological, racial, geographical, national, emotional, or psychological in nature. The opportunity the journal presents is that we can reset every Wednesday and delve into each of these areas, and come out on the other side more whole as people. Ultimately, our goal is to empower writers in American politics to lead cultural change through a weekly journal telling the story of healing through freedom.
The qualification for this work lies in the fact that our writers are people on the inside. If you work in a political job, you are an expert on how your work is or isn’t restorative. Armed with the right perspective, the person working a job is the best person to tell us how their work can become restorative. But the problems in politics, whether it’s spiritual, or psychological, or ideological, are so entrenched that it’s going to require deep, authentic insight to solve them.
Tonight at 8pm, we published a special journal entry titled “Heal Holistically”, and seven ways Liberatus is bringing solutions to American political culture to achieve this goal and our vision.
So when the question is asked, “what’s your product”, the simple answer is that Liberatus is a weekly journal—and while that’s the structure organizationally, Liberatus is so much more than that.
Let me explain:
With this special journal tonight, we’ve concluded our series on Olympic Gold. This Wednesday, we begin a new series. Before we get to our main announcement and project launch, I wanted to highlight our new series.
Tonight, we’re launching a new project and a brand that’s totally separate from the journal. We chose September 12 for the launch of our new project intentionally: it’s fitting that on the day after 9-11, we are gathered to talk about healing. Because while we all remember where we were that day—and the billboards shouting out “United We Stand”—the current political climate simply does not reflect the unity and courage of people who live free.
I began working in politics in part because of 9-11—because I saw that being involved mattered. But fifteen years later, I look back on much of my work and think that I was probably just making our cultural problems worse.
This journey, and tonight’s project launch, would be impossible without many, many people who have helped shape the vision of healing through freedom.
First of all, my grandparents, Frank and Jean Winegardner, shaped my perspective as a child on what it means to live and love and care for “the other”. In some ways, I’m just now discovering as an adult they ways they have influenced who I am.
Second, Mike and Lauren Landis are our hosts tonight, and have been involved with making Liberatus a success long before today.
Many of you here are from my Redemption Hill Church community—this journey would literally have been impossible without your friendship and support, and contributions.
I also owe thanks to my board, the Liberatus writing team, our subscribers, and all of our donors for joining me in taking a risk to invest in something bigger than each of us.
I should specifically thank Claire Handscombe for faithfully, professionally, and thoughtfully editing nearly everything we’ve published since our launch on May 20th, 2015.
Tonight’s project launch was largely conceptualized by a friend of mine, Matt Vail. The brand we are launching is a remake of a project we concocted all the way back in the tea party wave of 2010. I’ll share more on this shortly.
My sister Hannah is here tonight—and the sacrifices you’ve made, especially over the last two months, are largely the reason the organization hasn’t folded, and we’re launching this today.
Finally, a message that’s true and beautiful requires world-class branding and design. If you’ve ever been on the Liberatus website and thought, “wow, that looks great”, it’s because of the work of my brother David, and his talents. In fact, often what keeps me going and keeps my spirits up in the face of constant uncertainty has been your commitment to these projects, your drive to make them better even with limited resources, and your work product. On tough days, sometimes I just look at what we’ve put together, and that’s when I know I can keep going, that the vision is real, that healing is worth it.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a joyful destination in all of this without our King who we follow—and here’s hoping he returns soon!
At this point, we’re ready to announce the new project. The name is actually the conclusion of the short introduction you may have read when you bought your ticket, except we removed the name and logo.
We are the mob.
We are unruly, untamed, unrefined. We were, until The Calling. It came for the tired, poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. So we came as the world's wretched refuse, filthy, scattered, and tempest-tost.
And we created a new calling--a declaration: all men are created equal. It was a promise, and still is. By its light we are guided; by our strength it is guarded.
The truth is, we were all the mob once: rebellious, defiant. We won independence and out of many, became one. Uncivilized, afraid; we are no longer. Now we live and breathe as free; it was for freedom that we were set free. Out of the ashes, we rise to a new allegiance.
We are Freedom's Mob.
Freedom’s Mob is a fundraising project of Liberatus. It’s a lifestyle brand calling Americans to once again stand united, living as people who are free.
The meaning of the name has evolved and matured since its inception in 2010. At the time, I was working with Matt Vail to create a grassroots network of people taking action to defend freedom. The name was born out of a comment made by Nancy Pelosi, about how the tea party and others opposed to President Obama’s healthcare bill were using “mob tactics” to defeat it. At the time, the name was an affirmation that yes, we are the mob, we are angry, and get your hands off our freedom.
But since then, my perspective has changed, not as much on policy but on how we engage and govern as free people, regardless of policy. Today, the name Freedom’s Mob is a reminder that we have been purchased by Freedom, and we no longer have to live in isolation, fearful, as an angry mob out to protect what is precious to us.
When we started Liberatus, one of the problems we identified from the beginning is that the message, while available to everyone, isn’t quickly digestible—it’s not very accessible as a brand to the common person.
Launching Freedom’s Mob as a separate brand creates the opportunity to reach that audience, to carry the message of healing to many more people in a way that’s easy to understand, and even easier to market. As a bonus, Freedom’s Mob will allow us to grow our subscriber base for Liberatus, and offer the deeper insight on healing for those who are drawn in and want it. And ultimately, by selling t-shirts, it creates an additional way to raise the money needed to continue publishing the journal each week and empowering writers on the inside to lead cultural change.
Finally, for anyone dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in American politics, it give you the opportunity to speak, to choose against the dysfunction and disunity offered us. And Freedom’s Mob will serve as a declaration for each of us that freedom, properly understood, is a place where we can all live together, where someday we truly will stand united.