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Today the faith community we call home, made a bold political statement. We agreed to center our existence in this politically and economically charged culture of America upon the love that is God. And, we put it in writing, signed it, and will deliver to the President (whoever that may be), and to some of the other powers that be.

Each week we profess some version or variation of Mark 12:28-31

“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’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: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Today, we finished our journey through the 10 commandments of the pledge that student protesters agreed to abide in Birmingham, AL in 1963, and we decided to not only proclaim our statement for love, we decided to sign it and deliver it.

We have decided as a community of faith to resist the temptations of fear and greed.
“The hallmark of political nihilism is the public appeal to fear and greed, and too much of American politics today as been reduced to such vulgar appeals.” —Cornel West

Instead we have chosen to make a political statement that does not succumb to fear, greed, nor power.

Instead we have chose to make a political statement that does profess God’s love is at the center of who we proclaim to be and the goal we will continue to seek.

Just as MLK and the movement for racial justice did in the sixties, we seek to learn what is our truest expression of God’s love in this time and place. And, for this we rely on those who came before us just as MLK did. For a little background on what I’m referring, read the following from http://www.nathanielturner.com/

While others viewed nonviolence as only one of the alternatives, for Martin Luther King, Jr., it was “only road to freedom.” In September 1948 while a student at Crozer Theological: Seminary, he heard Dr. A.J. Muste and Dr. Mordecai W. Johnson preach of the life and teaching of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of Indian independence. Since his entrance at Crozer, Martin had begun a serious quest for a way to eliminate economic and social evil.

He began a prolonged study of the writings of Gandhi and became a convert to the Gandhian concept of satyagraha (truth-force or love-force) and atmbal (soul-force). King described his conversion thusly:

“As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi, my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time that the Christian doctrine of love, operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence, is one of the most potent weapons available to an oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. At that time, however, I acquired only an intellectual understanding and appreciation of the position, and I had no firm determination to organize it in a socially effective situation.” [Strength To Love, p. 151]

One year later, Dr. King became involved in a crisis in which the philosophy of nonviolent resistance could be applied. On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress was arrested because she refused to give her bus seat to a white man.

When the Black people of Montgomery decided that it was “more honorable to walk the streets in dignity than to ride the buses in humiliation,” they called on Dr. King to be their spokesman and leader of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). The association began a nonviolent boycott of Montgomery’s transit system.

From the beginning a basic philosophy guided the movement. This guiding principle has since been referred to variously as nonviolent resistance, noncooperation, and passive resistance. But in the first days of the protest none of these expressions was mentioned; the phrase most often heard was “Christian love.” It was the Sermon on the Mount, rather than a doctrine of passive resistance, that initially inspired the Negroes of Montgomery to dignified social action. It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love.…

Nonviolent resistance … emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal. In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method. [Stride Toward Freedom, pp. 84–85]

By 1963 the following pledge was being signed by volunteers for sit-in demonstrations in the restaurants of Birmingham:

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

1. MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

2. REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.

3. WALK AND TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.

4. PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

5. SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

6. OBSERVE with both friend and for the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7. SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.

8. REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

9. STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10. FOLLOW the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

Name

Address

Phone

Nearest Relative

Address

Besides demonstrations, I could also help the movement by:

(Circle the proper items)

Run errands, Drive my car, Fix food for volunteers, Clerical work, Make phone calls, Answer phones, Mimeograph, Type, Print signs, Distribute leaflets.

Alabama Christian Movement For Human Rights

Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C.

505½ North 17th Street

F.L. Shuttesworth, President

Today, we seek to become part of this satyagraha, this “truth force” that proclaims at its core, our existence is due to love, and this creator of love is an unstoppable force.

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3 Comments

  1. AMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMEN … it is an honor to walk this path alongside you my brother.

  2. So you would like the government to be God centered by law and enforce a certain religion by force of law? Uh ? like, no.

  3. Rodney, thanks for replying to the post. I agree with you 100%, we do not want governmental oversight by (any) religion or (any) God. Maybe the following definition of politics might help clarify my post…

    “Politics is the process by which groups of people make various decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions.

    Politics consists of “social relations involving authority or power”[1] and refers to the regulation of a political unit,[2] and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.”

    I see this definition applying to myself and my church community(although I do not speak for my brothers/sisters), in the way that I strive to work out all my relations with authority and power. I declare love as my ultimate authority (ie. God), therefore all my political associations within the church, my city, my country should be based on one simple, yet powerful assertion. The assertion that I love my neighbor…all my neighbors.

    This love should shape my participation in the government, the culture, the society…but, it is not the job of love to force itself upon anyone or anything. Love is not love without co-participation. It cannot, nor should not force itself upon anyone or anything. Therefore, I agree with you…I do not want a government based on my beliefs about God, and I certainly don’t want my beliefs enforced by any laws.

    “my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
    my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
    it’s to a king & a kingdom”—Derek Webb

    peace to you my friend,

    carl


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