Fifty years ago, Betty Friedan’s The Feminist Mystique was published, and 100 years ago Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party led a demonstration at Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Abraham Lincoln published the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago. Fifty years from now what might we look back on? Perhaps the Supreme Court will affirm the right of everyone to marry this year. That would make for some wonderful history.
The history of the world has been one of increasing freedom; it is certainly the history of our country. It is not a smooth road, to be sure, but more people are free now than there were 250 years ago near the beginning of our country. What is always surprising is how much resistance there is to expanding freedom, when it seems so obvious that we all benefit the more freedom we all enjoy.
This can be a lesson for our own lives, too. The less we are in bondage, the better we can become. Whether it be bondage to substances, or old wounds, or work, or anger or hatred – whatever limits us – emancipating our own selves is good. This is partly what we affirm in our faith – that letting go of what binds us is good and can lead to a more meaningful life, just we as we affirm that honoring all beings and working for the freedom of all people will bring about a better world.
Make a list for yourself, a list of where in our world more freedom would be good – there are lots of possibilities to be sure. But then make a list of those things in your life that could use a dose of freedom and then practice that.
Rev. Jim Nelson