“Freedom. The power of self-determination–that is, of deliberately choosing and following a course of action.”* Freedom without boundaries feels a lot like anarchy if you ask me. The absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual is not the freedom our forefathers were seeking when fighting England during the American Revolution. Even when considering Thomas Jefferson’s separation of church and state, there was always an assumption that God’s will would frame the will of humans and justice would mirror the justice that Jesus stood in for. The separation was necessary so Americans had a choice how to express its understanding of God, not so that we had a choice if we expressed our understanding of God. I may be old fashioned or too traditional or out of step, however, I believe that without knowing right from wrong or good from evil, we have no self-determination. We sway and bend any which way that feels good at the time but has no depth nor breadth. David Brooks suggests that,
“Our society suffers from a crisis of connection, a crisis of solidarity. We live in a culture of hyper-individualism. There is always a tension between self and society, between the individual and the group. Over the past sixty years we have swung too far toward the self. The only way out is to rebalance, to build a culture that steers people toward relation, community, and commitment-the things we most deeply yearn for yet undermine with our hyper-individualistic way of life.”
We need this swing back to this balance between the individual and society because when we become so individualistic – we become so self-centered we don’t even consider the will of God, nor anyone else. That, my friends, is a miserable way of living. Instead, living in God, the choices of how to live multiply exponentially – because with boundaries comes great freedom. I say, Let Freedom Ring!
Happy Fourth of July!
Blessings, Rev. Mary
*O’Collins, G. and Farrugia, E., A Concise Dictionary of Theology
Brooks, David. The Second Mountain (p. xvii). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.