In honor of the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Indpendence, I invite you to participate in today's Independence Day edition of the Friday Five! We'll be looking at all kinds of "independence," so please join in!
1. How does one typically celebrate your native /adopted land's Big National Holiday?
July 4, Independence Day, is most often celebrated with parades, barbecues, and fireworks... lots and lots of fireworks! I've read that the western United States have bans on fireworks this year because of the drought and the large wildfires they are still working to contain. But family/ friends togetherness makes up for a lack of fireworks, in my opinion. And I know the pets prefer a quieter holiday.
2. How do you personally celebrate the holiday described in #1? Any unusual twists on the typical celebration? Is it something you enjoy or endure?
My family nearly always cooks out, though the threat of thunderstorms means that we didn't yesterday. So, we had cook-out food indoors... hamburgers and corn on the cob (which I serve with chive butter, from my home grown chives) and gas-stove-cooked S'Mores. Our holiday celebrations always include a movie, as well. I remember taking my son to see "Independence Day" as a nine-year-old, the year that came out, and another year we all saw "Men-In-Black." This year none of the current big movies appealed, so we settled in with a DVD of that great American classic (to me, at least), "The Big Chill." What's more American than mid-life crises with a side of college football?
3. What does the word "independence" mean to you, whether in a political or personal mood? How has that understanding changed throughout your life?
Independence means doing what I know is right for me, without regard to the opinions of others, most often, family. At one point in my life, that meant moving from the church of my childhood to the church of my call-to-ministry (even though my mother asked me to wait until she was dead... don't worry, she came around). Independence has also meant, in recent years, learning to be a single head-of-household. (True confession: there may or may not have been a flexing-my-muscles-in-a-mirror moment post my first simple household repair.)
4. When did you first feel that you, personally, had gained independence? Was there a 'rite of passage' you would like to share?
I knew I was independent when, in my twenties, I was working for a living and managing adult responsibilities reasonably well. I believe my personal rite-of-passage involved the first income-tax return.
5. Tell us about your favorite "indie" film, music label, book store...
Film: Too many to name, but recent favorites have included the Brit Marling film, "Another Earth"... It looks like sci-fi, but is really a beautiful meditation on the dreadful mistakes we make and the efforts we put into rectifying them. Thanks to the great podcast "Filmspotting," I've also been watching a lot of Iranian films lately, including the really wonderful "A Separation," about a troubled marriage, and the dominoes that topple, one after another, when life situations change. Music: I am a huge fan of the band Girlyman, now on hiatus, but with so many great albums to sample. Here's one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Supernova."
Bonus Question: Is there a time you remember going "against the tide" of advice or precedent, or in some other way? Or perhaps a time you wish you had done so? Share it here!
Four years ago I decided to share some pretty personal information with my congregation, the fact that I was in a relationship with a woman. To my surprise, I received some push-back from some good friends. But I knew it was right for me and right for my congregation that I should share it, and hopefully, go forward together with a greater level of transparency and trust. I am so grateful that I followed what I believe to be the Spirit's promptings. All relationships involved have only deepened as a result.