Here is a quote that I read at the service this last Sunday. The quote comes from the book Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire by William Cavanaugh. I realized after I read the quote aloud in the service that it is quite a lot to take in when just hearing it , so I thought that I would post it here so that people could mull over it a little more effectively. Also, to contextualize this quote a bit, the author is addressing questions of what it means for Christians to be free in a world where certain free market ideologies articulate freedom as defined purely by the ability of an agent to get what they desire without the interference of external actors.
“Freedom is something received, not merely exercised. Therefore, in order to determine whether a person is acting freely, we need to know much more than whether or not that person is acting on his or her desires without the interference of others. In Augustine’s view, others are in fact crucial to one’s freedom. A slave or an addict, by definition, cannot free himself or herself. Others from outside the self — the ultimate Other being God — are necessary to break through the bonds that enclose the self in itself. Humans need a community of virtue in which to learn to desire rightly.” (9)