"July is here and I always associate that with Independence Day. I suspect that’s not terribly strange. For this month we’re working with one word: Liberty. You can write whatever you want about that word ... what feelings does it evoke? How do you define it? Do you think you live it? Or not? Those are just some ways you could look at it. You could write a poem, or a story, or a more traditional blog post. Just use the word, 'liberty' as your starting place and see where you go."
In school and out of school, I've participated in discussions of liberty and freedom, and I even found an article that describes both, particularly in terms of Thomas Jefferson's use of the term:
One should distinguish between the terms "freedom" and "liberty." Speaking generally, Freedom usually means to be free from something, whereas Liberty usually means to be free to do something, although both refer to the quality or state of being free. Jefferson's use of the terms almost always reflected those meanings. Thus, he never spoke of freedom as a right, though liberty is listed in the Declaration as one of our inalienable rights. It is safe to say that whenever Jefferson spoke of freedom, he referred to that state that is free from despotic oppression.
Especially in his epistles to the churches at Rome, Galatia, and Corinth, the Apostle Paul frequently proclaims and counsels eleutheria, typically translated into English as "freedom," the kind of easygoing, grace-filled living devoid of fear and anxiety, that lack of attachment to sin we know in Christ Jesus. And truly experience with our entire beings all too rarely. That particular freedom also is the bounded liberty (=liberation) of the children of God―free in Christ, but also keeping our own freedom along with that of our friends and neighbors whole by obeying the commandments. With its neither Jew nor gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, Galatians 3:28 ain't no emancipation proclamation! However, the Apostle Paul's, "but I was born free!" quoted in Acts 22:28 is not eleutheria-liberty at all, but indicates his being well-born as a Roman citizen, and therefore already "emancipated." Emancipated in terms of not being a subject of or potentially subject to slavery, bondage, ownership or control by any other individual or entity. For us in this century, living as citizens of a first- or second-world country with relatively open, transparent, and accountable government structures is one type of freedom, for sure.
According to Nobel Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky: "Freedom is when you forget the spelling of the tyrant's name." I like to counsel myself and others, "Don't let people wag you! Don't let them rent space in your head!" Be your own person.
Although any synchroblog is pretty much a free-choice response, I especially love this month's suggestion simply to start with "freedom" and then go wherever it takes you. So a couple more things for now. One of my favorite contemporary Christian songs by Don Moen insists "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" as it quotes the opening of Romans 8:1-25
July in the northern hemisphere and in southern California is very very summer; by then most schools are out, though there are some year-round elementary schools in these here parts, and of course, for all ages, there's summer school, which I've always loved. By late July we're well into fun activities like picnics, parties, potlucks—vacation bible school will be here soon! Until a few years ago, summer always had been true freedom time for me. By "true freedom time" I mean nothing much bothered me, I didn't obsess about why someone said what they did, why someone else acted how they had—no matter what might have been going on during the previous months, whatever still stood in my way despite its being summer, and even considering what the upcoming autumn schedule looked like. For this almost over July 2014 and for the upcoming months, I'll do whatever's possible to make liberty about being free to be myself. Again. Just as it used to be.
July Synchroblog Participants so far:
- Jerry Wirtley – Liberty …
- Bobbi Ann Allen – My Allegiance Has Changed
- Justin Steckbauer – The Topic Of Liberty
- MinnowSpeaks – The Talk
- Jeremy Myers – Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death?
- Carol Kuniholm – Liberty and Constraint
- K.W. Leslie – Why I Don’t Want Go To Church: No Freedom
- Jesus Without Baggage – Where The Spirit of The Lord Is, There Is Liberty
- James Carter – The Law of Liberty
- Mallory Pickering – Don’t Give Up
- Leah Chang – Free To Be
- Liz Dyer – Fighting For Freedom & Equality