Tomorrow is July 4th, celebrating the birthday of the USA and our fight for freedom. It’s a day filled with American flags and barbeques and fireworks.
It’s a day I usually like to celebrate.
I love the USA and have always been proud to be an American.
Now, my language is different—I used to be more proud to be an American than I am today. The election of Donald Trump and this administration has called so many things into question, and even though I am proud of many “Americans”, I am embarrassed about our country right now.
Embarrassed, angry, confused, tired, irritated, and sad.
It reminds me of a similar feeling I experienced when I read the election exit polls in November and the reality that 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump.
As a former evangelical who still is a follower of Jesus, I felt some of those same feelings on November 9th–embarrassed, angry, confused, sad.
While many were cheering claiming God’s victory, there were millions of us reeling.
Now, over six months in, many of us are still trying to make sense of what this election has done to our faith, our souls, our future.
For years now I have been deeply connected with many people from around the US and abroad who are experiencing a radical faith shift, where everything we once believed comes apart and we aren’t quite sure how to find our way forward. There’s so much loss involved in a faith deconstruction. When we lose beliefs, we lose structures that support those beliefs. Then, we lose relationships that were attached to the systems and structures, and often we end up losing the hardest thing to lose—our identity.
Who are we without everything we once held dear?
It’s a question many of us are asking these days, and it’s what I’ll be blogging specifically about here in the weeks and months to come.
But today, I’m feeling really sad about what we’ve lost as a country since November.
We’ve lost so much integrity, dignity, trust, and hope.
These four things are some of my highest values, and their violation feels so familiar to my faith unraveling.
Today I feel little sick about reveling in July 4th festivities when the president of the United States of America is tweeting pictures of him beating the $*#&!&$ out of a news channel, of bullying and degrading women and anyone who dare criticize him, and when I read the lyrics of the song a Texas choir sang for President Trump this weekend called ‘Make America Great Again.”
Yeah, I don’t want to sing God Bless America tomorrow.
I don’t want nationalism to be our Christian swan song.
I don’t want to wake up to another dumb tweet from the office that is supposed to hold the leader of the free world.
I don’t want to revel in celebrating freedom when racism and sexism and classism is on the rise.
I don’t want to pretend I’m proud when I’m really not.
I don’t want to lose more when I’ve already lost so much.
I really just want to skip July 4th this year.
But I won’t.
I’ll hang out with my friends who remind me that integrity, dignity, trust, and hope is still alive and well.
I’ll see Jesus embodied in their lives and remember no one can take that beauty and goodness from us.
I’ll celebrate the amazing freedoms we do have that I know many other countries do not.
I’ll say thanks for resistance, persistence, and so many people standing up for change.
I’ll hold on to what I know to be true for today.
I’ll avoid the news and keep my focus on real people who are right in front of me, in the flesh.
And I’ll keep hoping that next July 4th feels a little more free.