Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

I stumbled upon this post by Westminster professor Carl Trueman from way back in 2007:

Listening to Janis Joplin the other day, I was struck by two things. First, my eleven year old son (who had never, to my knowledge, heard Joplin) commented as he heard the first bars of `Me and Bobby McGee’ that he didn’t know I had a Joplin album. To recognise the voice like that at 11 must make him a blues-rock prodigy.

Second, I suddenly realised why I liked her (and, remember, she did win `The Ugliest Man of the Year’ contest at her High School#. It’s the Lutheran lyrics of Bobby McGee: `Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.’ Surely this captures the Lutheran notion of the freedom we have in Christ. OK, she may not have seen it #or Kristofferson who, I think, wrote the lyric#; but I’m sure Luther would have approved and downed a good German beer in her honour. Only when we realise we have nothing to lose because we are in Christ can we truly give ourselves in service to others. That’s why Lutheran #and Protestant) ethics are really so demanding.

via Janis Joplin and Martin Luther – Reformation21 Blog.

I need to add that Kris Kristofferson, the author of the song, was, in fact, brought up in the Lutheran church.  I don’t know where he is spiritually now–perhaps some of you know more about that–but he has other songs that exhibit what we might call a Lutheran sensibility (e.g., “Sunday Morning Coming Down”).

Anyway, I’m struck that Prof. Trueman was struck by that defintion of freedom.  He does not, however, unpack what he means.

How does the line from “Bobby McGee”  express the “freedom we have in Christ”?


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