Independence vs. Interdependence



You ever watch “McFarland, USA” before?

Great movie.  Yes, corny Disney movie.  But the concepts from this true story that come out of it are too good not to share. (Check out above youtube video for more of a background).

See, as you may already know, today is July 4th.  That day we celebrate our independence as our own country, free to have our own democracy, religion, choices, etc. given by our forefathers who made a heck of an effort to give us that independence.

One of the sad things that I think has developed from our independence is that our more affluent America can so easily leave us isolated.  Dependent on our own selves.  Doing our own thing.  Protecting what’s “ours.”

Believe me, I feel there are so many beautiful reasons to live in this country.  I just want to shine light on a concept that Jesus talked about and that I saw played out in this great movie.


The people in the McFarland community had to often help their families by being “pickers”: working the fields to earn extra money for survival for their family.  The community worked hard for what they had and nothing seemed to come easy.  Each family had to be independent in that sense.

But, when Coach Jim White moved to McFarland, in time, they felt the love and family atmosphere of the community that they had never fully experienced before in suburbia America.  People worked hard (independence) but still needed God’s help and their community’s help as they provided for each other (dependence).  The movie was showing the beauty in the interdependent nature of the community of McFarland.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” (Matthew 6:5, MSG).

The contentment and joy of living in interdependence I believe is what we were all made to have in this life.  Then life is truly about the loving relationships with God and people in our lives.   Without realizing it, our independence can get in the way of allowing others to enter in and help us and vis versa.

So, in our much deserved and exciting celebration of our country’s independence 240 years ago today, may we also remember and embrace having the freedom to live in interdependence today.




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