The fourth of July represents, for many Americans, freedom. It is, so many would like to believe, a solution to any and every problem. Without trying to sound or be un-American, let me suggest the following. Freedom is and of itself incomplete. Freedom is a partial solution that we often abuse and take for granted. Freedom comes and needs strings, though the strings are not always what one would think they are.
Freedom is the label we give the options and ability to do anything anytime, how we think and believe, and the right to choose and express. It is easy to think in contrast to alternatives. Who would want exploitation to continue? Who would willingly choose a government that taxes without some, tenuous as it might be, link to a popular vote. Is anyone proposing that every rules and conduct of a community follows the dictation of someone removed from that group? Freedom is the realization of equal opportunity, fair representation, and the ability to choose.
Some argue that freedom without accountability and boundaries isn’t freedom. While avoiding the semantics, I would agree that freedom without accountability is not responsible freedom. I also would, at some level, agree that a community has the right to set frameworks. Within both people have the right to opt out, obviously with changes in the responsibilities and relationship of a community to that the individual.
Yet accountability and boundaries are not enough. Freedom comes, I believe, in two flavors. One flavor has the “I” principle tempered with just enough community that those promoting this view would like others to believe that the individual and the community win. In contrast is the “We” principle. The “we” is founded on the concept that compassionate, merciful, and unconditionally accepting freedom achieves the community and, as a result, “I” win.
Today is a celebration for humanity. Make sure you know what you are celebrating.
“The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don't make anything happen. Every word I've spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making.” (John 6.63)
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