Liberating our Interdependence

by Mark Votava

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In the last ten years of my life I have been getting a taste of what a life of interdependence could be.  As I have lived in the same neighborhood for a decade, I am beginning to see the illusion of the North American independent life of isolation and separation.  I am beginning to understand that we have a communal God who want us to share life together with one another in all our diversity and commonality which is a beautiful thing indeed.

  • Experiencing a disconnection

My life of independence began to fall apart as I started to experience a disconnection with going to church services and the lack of any meaningful connection in everyday life.  I remember being so frustrated one time as I left a church service riding my bike away from the building and screaming at the top of my lungs as I rode down the street to enter my week alone with very little connection with anyone.  The screaming felt good to me, but it seems this kind of frustration and angst is not acceptable.

  •  Just be happy

I was told to just be happy and believe that Jesus has completed me.  But it has felt like an opiate or a cliché where we do not have to be honest with ourselves.  I cannot live like this and will not be okay with it.  Love is compelling me to something more authentic.

  • Celebrating the success of the individual apart from the community

My friend Mark Scandrette, the Executive Director of Reimagine, a center for spiritual formation in San Francisco’s Mission District neighborhood, claims that “our interconnectedness should seem obvious – except for the fact that many of us have been groomed by a society that celebrates the success of the individual apart from the community.”

  • Interdependence needs to be liberated

We need more prophets of local, relational living within the body of Christ who will inspire our imaginations toward a more relational way of life together within a particular place.  The ways of individualism need to be subverted.  The ways of interdependence need to be liberated and celebrated in our day and age.

  •  Things that do not promote togetherness

The mental illness of this disease of individualism is corroding our humanity into something that is ugly and mutilated.  It is not natural or right to dismember the body of Christ this way.  The local church should be the most interdependent, caring fabric of relationships around.  We have frightfully let our days fill up with things that do not promote togetherness.

  •  Living more wholly through interdependence

We do not relate to each other on a daily basis in ways that foster life, reconciliation and hope.  How long will we live this way and destroy our relational imaginations of generosity, compassion, care, and hospitality toward one another?  If we could get back to interdependence with one another in life, we would live more wholly.

Why do we value independence over interdependence