interdependence Day.

4 Jul

Yet again, I find myself re-posting the work of a friend.  Though I hope to not make a habit of it, I couldn’t help but want to pass this excerpt along.

The following post was written by Shane Claiborne, and can also be viewed here.  Serving the purpose of creating dialogue surrounding loving God and loving others in the Way of Jesus Christ, feel free to add your own ideas on how we can celebrate “interdependence Day” today and everyday.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of us all being bound up in an “inescapable web of mutuality.” He talked of how we have encountered half the world by the time we have put on our clothes, brushed our teeth, drunk our coffee and eaten our breakfast, as there are invisible faces that make our lives possible every day. That’s why I’ve always struggled with “Independence Day.”

Patriotism can be a dangerous thing if it leads to amnesia about the dark patches of our nation’s history. And it can leave us shortsighted if our nationalism prevents us from seeing pain or hope beyond our borders. As an American, and especially as a Christian, I am convinced that a love for our own people is not a bad thing, but love doesn’t stop at borders. Love is infinitely boundless and all about holy trespassing and offensive friendships.

We are taught to celebrate independence. But independence and individualism have come at a great price. In the wealthy and industrialized countries we have become the richest people in the world, but we also have some of the highest rates of loneliness, depression, and suicide. We are rich, sad, and lonely. We are living into patterns that not only leave much of the world hungry for bread and starved for justice but also leave us longing for the good life and for meaning and purpose beyond ourselves.

The good news is that we are not alone in the world.

This year, let’s celebrate interdependence Day — recognizing the fact that we are part of a global neighborhood. Let’s appreciate all the invisible people in our lives, and let’s lament the fact that the human family is terribly dysfunctional.

It’s not about being anti-American but about being pro-world. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that we need each other and that we are not alone in the world. So, I’ve worked with some friends to brainstorm great ways to celebrate “interdependence Day” this Fourth of July. Here’s what we came up with:

1. Track down old teachers and mentors. Let them know the influence they have had in your life.

2. Babysit for someone for free, especially someone that might really need a night off and not be able to afford a sitter.

3. Try to go a whole week without spending any money. If you have to, barter or beg a little to make it through.

4. Hold a baby goods exchange where parents can bring toys and clothing their kids have outgrown and trade them.

5. Attempt to repair something that is broken. Appreciate the people who repair things for you on a regular basis.

6. Look through your clothes. Learn about one of the countries where they are manufactured. Do some research to discover the working conditions and commit to doing one thing to improve the lives of people who live there.

7. Look for everything you have two of, and give one away.

8. Dig up a bucket of soil and look through it to see the elements and organisms that make our daily meals possible.

9. Spend the Fourth of July baking cookies or bread. Give them away to the person who delivers your mail or picks up your trash the next time you see him or her.

10. Host a rain-barrel party and teach neighbors how to make and use rain-barrels to recycle water.

11. Spend a day hiking in the woods. Consider how God cares for the lilies and sparrows — and you.

12. Gather some neighbors, and plant a tree in your neighborhood together.

13. Hold a knowledge exchange where you gather friends or neighbors to share skills or something they are learning.

14. Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Then, each time you eat that food, remember the folks who made it possible for you to it it.

15. Become a pen-pal with someone in prison.

16. Try recycling water from the washer or sink to flush your toilet. Remember the 1.2 billion folks who don’t have clean water.

17. Leave a random tip for someone cleaning the streets or the public restroom.

18. Write one CEO every month this year. Affirm or critique the ethics of their companies. (You may need to do a little research first.) Consider starting with BP.

19. Wash your clothes by hand and dry them on a line. Remember the 1.6 billion people who do not have electricity.

20. Learn to sew. Try making your own clothes for a year.

21. Eat only a bowl of rice a day for a week (take a multi-vitamin). And remember the 25,000 people who die of malnutrition and starvation each day.

22. Begin a scholarship fund so that for every one of your own children you send to college, you can create a scholarship for an at-risk youth. Get to know his or her family and learn from each other.

23. Visit a worship service where you will be a minority. Invite someone to dinner at your house, or have dinner with someone there if they invite you.

24. Confess something you have done wrong to someone and ask forgiveness.

25. Serve in a homeless shelter. For extra credit, go back to that shelter and eat or sleep there and allow yourself to be served.

26. Go through a local thrift store and drop $1 bills in random pockets of clothing being sold.

27. Experiment in creation-care by going fuel-free for a week — bike, carpool or walk.

28. Go to an elderly home and get a list of folks who don’t get any visitors. Visit them each week and tell stories, read together, or play board games.

29. Laugh at advertisements, especially ones that teach you that you can buy happiness.

30. Go down a line of parked cars and pay for the meters that are expired. Leave a little note of niceness.

31. Connect with a group of migrant workers or farmers who grow your food. Visit their farm. Maybe even pick some veggies with them. Ask what they get paid.

32. Mow your neighbor’s grass.

33. Ask the next person who asks you for change to join you for dinner.

34. Invest money in a micro-lending bank.

35. Start setting aside 10 percent of your income to give away to folks in need.

36. Write paper letters (by hand) for a month. Try writing someone who needs encouragement or whom you should say “I’m sorry” to.

37. Contact your local crisis pregnancy center and invite a pregnant woman to live with your family.

38. Go without food for one day to remember the two billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.

Add yours to the list.

May we celebrate interdependence Day today and everyday. It is a gift to be part of this inescapable web of mutuality.

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5 Responses to “interdependence Day.”

  1. Christopher Godau July 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM #

    Please God help me, and help people who have forgotten You and why you have blessed this country. Independence Day, celebrated of the fourth of July, is the celebration of the founding of this country. A celebration of the experiment in government that recognized You as the one and only true sovereign God—and as such, the true source of the power and blessing of this country.
    The best way to help the rest of the world is to help them realize that to do so is the best way for them to help themselves. I’m tired of people who apologize for America and her success. There is no guilt here, only a celebration of the correct thinking and decisions made by our founding fathers. The correct and just path THEY followed in worship and obedience to God, is the path that allows us to be what we are today.

    Help others as God commanded—tell them about Him.

    You have at it, dig worm and save gas, I will remember my founding fathers with a celebration that honors the military, this country, and my God.

    In a recent poll by Marist discovered that one in four people in the United States do not know why we celebrate Independence Day. May I suggest that if you DO babysit for free, you teach them some history while you’re doing it!

    • The WayWard Follower July 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM #

      Like our founding fathers who pioneered new territory to escape the tyranny and oppression of the ruling regime in search of freedom and responsibility, I too desire to enter into uncharted waters; to embark on an adventure to break free from the boundaries that exist in our far too often self-centered, intrinsically individualistic religion that claims the name of Christ.

      The above response and its tone cause me to ask this question: where is our primary allegiance? To God or to country? To following Jesus Christ or to capitalism, democracy, and Americanism? To following in the example of the image of the invisible God or to following in the traditions of men who (well meaning or otherwise) twist and turn the Good News of Jesus backwards and upside down and tell us that putting Self first is of primary importance, rather than caring for the oppressed, broken and poor? That the mercy, grace and love of God are poured out only on those who measure up to the standards of our chosen community by believing as we do and sign on to our set of systematized beliefs?

      We need to rethink (dare I also say, repent of) our ‘religion’ and follow Jesus; the very Son of God who came to be a servant and gave His life that we might fully live.

  2. Christpher Godau July 4, 2010 at 2:50 PM #

    Our founding fathers escaped the tyranny and oppression of not being able to worship God as they knew to be right, this is the freedom they sought, the tyranny the wished to escape.

    I agree that it is valid to question where primary allegiance lies today, not just once but continually. We come up short as a nation, but if you put back God as the center of everything, all else will fall back into place, just as American society did from the start.

    Our country as founded was blessed by God for their belief in God, and ideal inseparable from the true meaning of Americanism. Our founding fathers put others before themselves, others all over the world. This is the polar opposite thinking to how many of us worship our own wants and desires now. God didn’t pour out his mercy, grace and love unto America for any other reason than America put Him first. You can’t truly help anyone until you get this part right to begin with.

    Capitalism is an engine God has used to allow America to be the salt and light example to millions of its own, and to the rest of the world. Make sure you understand what capitalism is—at least in the sense of wealth given to America for continuing God’s work. Capitalism is still that engine, despite how others have caused its subversion. God continue to bless America because of those who send missionaries to spread His message. It’s an engine that will run dry if we don’t.

    Belief in God equals community, and community must start there. If the “community” decides what people should think, then the foundation is gone and all hell breaks loose.

    What we need to rethink is how we have gotten so far away from what is right, and our quest should be to get back into the charted waters left for us by America when she was greatest. The truth is not something you invent or embrace an adventure to find. The truth is right where it always has been; printed in black and white in the Bible. Something our founding fathers knew.

    Beware not to exchange one set of “systematized beliefs” for another equally as wrong.

    • The WayWard Follower July 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM #

      Disclaimer: I’m not anti-American. I’m grateful for the freedoms I have.

      Still, I’m not so certain that prosperity and a lack of persecution by necessity accompany ‘blessing’ from God.

      Nor am I convinced that “capitalism is [the] engine God has used to allow America to be the salt and light,” as you say. America’s greatest prosperity came no the heels of rebellion against the established authority and on the backs of slaves.

      America spends over 30% of its national budget on military and the promotion of war. Nearly $800 billion dollars a year. It would cost only $30 billion annually to ELIMINATE POVERTY from the entire continent of Africa.

      Americans spend about $20 billion on ice cream and other frozen desserts each year. Global primary education would cost only half of that.

      If we believe ourselves to truly be the salt and light in a world without flavor and color, let us begin there.

      Let us feed the hungry. Let us spend our resources on proclaiming the good news of reconciliation to the afflicted, binding the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners.

      Instead of being proud of America maintaining her freedoms and hoarding their surplus, I see God as saying these words to us today,

      “I hate all your show and pretense–
      the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
      I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
      I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
      Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
      I will not listen to the music of your harps.
      Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
      an endless river of righteous living.”

      Amos 5:21-24

    • . July 10, 2010 at 2:25 PM #

      “Our founding fathers put others before themselves, others all over the world.”…True, if you define “others” as excluding blacks, women, other minorities, and all non-white males for that matter.

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