When You Want to Skip July 4th This Year

When You Want to Skip July 4th This Year July 3, 2017

July 4th Angst-2.jpg

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. 

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  • Thank you for sharing this, Kathy. I needed to hear the voice of someone who feels the same as me. There are times when I just want to pack up and leave but I know that Trump isn’t forever and things will hopefully get better. Hugs!

    • thanks, shelby. yes, we will make it through. it’s bumpy and hard and tapping into deep things for many, but resilience is a beautiful thing. hugs from across the miles!

  • Guthrum

    I never lose hope. I will watch some fireworks from the yard, grill some burgers, and sit in the shade.
    Have a great 4th.

  • Kathy, thank you for this reflection; I agree with the sentiment and feel the same distress you describe. However, you mention: “We’ve lost so much integrity, dignity, trust and hope.” I very much agree except that I have not lost hope. The day will come when this part is over.

    • thanks. i like that reminder because hope is my favorite word and it is true i have not lost it all, and a shred of hope can go a long way. i have much more than a shred still, not for this administration, but for what will come out of it in the end, and that’s a good thing! thanks for reading and taking time to share!

  • Meredith Indermaur

    I needed this right now. Thank you, Kathy.

    • i’m glad it resonated. love from colorado today.

  • How do I hold onto hope in this age and era of trump? Here is a quote I like from CS Lewis Mere Christianity.
    //My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?//
    this quote resonates with my mind and heart. How do I know that things could be different? How do I have hope? Where do I find the power to resist the status quo? Short answer: a deep inward feeling.
    In the age of trump I find that there are many who are falling off the addiction to power and privilege Wagon. When one is addicted to either of those emotion drugging and numbing things, I think especially, when the political propaganda is delivered Sunday after Sunday in an institution with a hired Shepherd, a whole lot of shaking goes on until one’s dysphoria from cognitive dissonance has shaken one loose enough to seek a better way. When that happens one must take up the task of not going along with it anymore to get along.
    Here is a quote I like from Morgan Guyton blog:
    // within AA there is a recognition that a change of heart is what matters and a pragmatism that seeks “whatever works” to foster that spiritual transformation.//
    And this!!
    //alcoholics are forced by their condition to seek God desperately.//

    I was very happy to encounter this attitude in Alcoholics Anonymous. On top of being a drug and alcohol abuser I was detoxing from being a Evangelical Fundamentalist. I was happy to set the burden down and realize I no longer needed to evangelize anyone on my terms.
    I think it’s ironic that one can become a grateful alcoholic!! Actually grateful for the disease!! what a paradox!!
    I wouldn’t have found God except for this flaw in my character and my biology.
    I like this I read today in your blog:
    //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?//
    I feel led to share this from the faith chapter in Hebrews 11
    13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
    14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
    15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.
    16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

    This last quote from your blog has particular significance for me for today’s dilemmas and double binds.
    //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.// https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/69290c077863571133c7d7da05880b4a7025645a9ebe6bf8ad7cbe2221311ac6.jpg

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Church is boring.