This week has placed us at two distinct ends of the American spectrum. At the beginning of the week we celebrated the most iconic figure of civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On Friday, we experienced the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, who over the weekend attacked another civil rights icon and rep from the great state of Georgia, Congressman John Lewis. This places us in a conundrum because we find a president who based his candidacy on the premise that America was a Christian nation that had fallen into obscurity at the hands of minorities and therefore needed to be saved from the fires of the abyss. This against the backdrop of Dr. King's dream, which contrary to popular opinion was much larger than, but inclusive of the presidency of an African-American, President Barak Obama. Dr. King’s dream was really the creation of the "beloved community." Per the King Center: "The Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood."
Contrary to popular opinion, America never was a "Christian" nation. Christianity, especially during the second great awakening which was a religious revival movement in the early 19th century and even more with the rise of evangelist Billy Graham in the 1950's, was the socially excepted norm. The overwhelming majority of the founding fathers and creators of the our founding documents where deists and unitarians. Consequently the founding documents show their bend towards deism and Unitarianism. That is why Christian jargon was not used in any of those documents, but I digress. The creation of the beloved community is based on the fact that no matter our religious persuasion, we love all humankind. Since King was a Christian minister he found this as the central theme in Christ's teaching.
Mark 12: 30 and 31 says you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Christ placed a very high importance on how we treat others. We are to care for others with the same fervor and tenacity that we love ourselves. The decisions we make are to be guided by our care and consideration, unfortunately all too often it has been guided by money and how to get more. 1 Timothy 6 verse 9 and 10 says But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced.
When we care more about money than we do the lives of others, it places us in a vulnerable situation. It shows our lack of care for other people and therefore displays weakness. Love is the strongest force in the universe. When used appropriately, it has no boundaries. It is the only force that can defeat poverty, homelessness, hunger, prejudice, discrimination, and prejudice.
Steve Jobs would tell us that what makes a thing great is that "it's done by a team." Indeed that is what makes America Great. It is a nation of people with a jaded past, from different walks of life, different ideologies that come together with one objective. The objective is not to make America great again, but to keep it great and expand our greatness by creating this beloved community. This week, do good, do no harm, stay in love with God and let's keep America great, with liberty and justice for all.
Rev. E. Chip Owens is a graduate of the Gammon Theological Seminary on the Historic Campus of the Interdenominational Theological Center. He has served as a Senior Pastor in the Covington Area. He is a well sought after preacher and Author that has had the pleasure of sharing the gospel nationwide.