Stepping Back … June 13, 2012

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In the pursuit of life, what is often lost is the passion which causes the pursuit to be worth the energy in the first place.

Somewhere along the line, we human beings started believing that establishing a routine was a symbol of maturity and therefore a confirmation of our legal status as adults. If it just ended up in a boondoggle of boredom, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But the difficulty with folks who find themselves trapped on a treadmill is that anybody who comes running by with a more enlightened approach is deemed to be odd, and eventually is either attacked or ostracized. Yes, we are all tempted to reject anyone who doesn’t fall into the common death-march of “the same-ole’ same-ole.”

That is why, every once in a while, we must step back and look carefully at our history as a country, so as we try to go forward, we honor the important things that cause us to rise above our own mediocrity. When you take the time to do this, you come up with a very simple, but certainly consistent, result.

Perhaps the greatest man of the eighteenth century was Thomas Jefferson. You can certainly nominate other individuals for such a distinction, but Jefferson blended the ideas and needs of thirteen colonies, congealing them into a document that could be signed as a symbol of all of their “declarations of independence.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident–that all men are created equal.”

In that one statement, he crystallized the freedom and liberty that everyone craved, whether they actually remained faithful to the purity of the concept or not.

Moving along into the nineteenth century, you arrive at the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln, Republican candidate for the ...

Abraham Lincoln, Republican candidate for the presidency, 1860 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although to many people he was gaunt, gangly and certainly not Presidential material, he had the intelligence to retain the integrity of that original piece of wisdom from the Declaration. In Gettysburg, at a memorial service, he spoke and said, “A new nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Say what you will about the Civil War, and cite cases of heritage, states’ rights and loyalty, but here is an undeniable truth: if Abraham Lincoln’s side had NOT won the war, slavery would have remained and therefore, all men would NOT be equal.

Journeying into the twentieth century, you discover a whirlwind of activity and invention, but still, you discover the soul of Jefferson’s contention summed up in the speech portrayed as a dream by a man struggling for freedom, who pined, with great hope, that someday his four children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and, yes–Martin Luther King, Jr. –three men separated by nearly two hundred years, but the same message.

We are now twelve years into the twenty-first century and there are many wildernesses in the voices. There are many opinions. There are countless ideas on how to progress us forward to new prospects of prosperity. What we seem to be absent are the voices of Jefferson, Lincoln and King. What is completely devoid from our consciousness is the notion that “all men are created equal.”

And unfortunately, when that perspective is not thrust to the forefront, what replaces it are excuses about why “we are all so different.” Unity, peace, joy and liberty have never been established by people gathering in a room to acknowledge their diversity. We may feel like we are being extremely open-minded by tolerating other lifestyles and cultures, but unless we are willing to speak aloud that “all men are created equal,” we privately will contend in our hearts some form of personal superiority.

I know there are those who would insist that even though they don’t go around sharing that particular sentiment of equality all the time, it is still at the root of their philosophy. I would have to disagree. The minute you allow yourself to be surrounded by political parties or spiritual prophets who are not daily reminding each and every one of us of equality and liberty, the natural tendency of our species is to manufacture and promote some devious form of prejudice.

“All men are created equal” is the only breath mint which removes the foul odor of bigotry. If it doesn’t ring in our ears every single day, we begin to look for ways to escape from it or admit our weakness in being unable to achieve it. It is not a goal; it is not an aspiration. It is not a platitude. It is what prevents us from being cantankerous, selfish and overly focused on our own personal families instead of putting the spotlight on the greater family of man.

As I stepped back last year and looked at the history of our country, this realization overwhelmed me. With whom do I wish to side? Where do I want my portion of personal consecration to land in the spectrum of our present history? This is why I’ve been traveling the country with the message: “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

Honestly, when I share this in front of an audience, the initial response is passive. Let’s be completely candid–we have all had secret training which has informed us that there ARE people who are better than other people. Matter of fact, there are those who mock my simple little statement of “NoOne is better than anyone else,” as being hopelessly naive, if not innocently idiotic.

But we do not move forward by trouncing on the rights and dignity of others. And even if the ideals we speak are not presently feasible, they still need to be touted as the oracles of God they were intended to be.

  • Without Thomas Jefferson, we do not have the foundation for individual liberty which makes this country great.
  • If you take away the heart and soul of Abraham Lincoln, you are left with a fragmented country, where the value of each human life would vary, based upon provincial choices.
  • And when you snatch the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., from our history, you end up with a people who are freed from slavery, on paper, to be held in bondage in the marketplace.

It is time for us to step back. Otherwise, we may go through an entire one hundred years without sharing the greatest message of unity: all men are created equal. In other words, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

I know that everybody has a life; I know weddings are important and funerals need to be memorialized. But at the forefront of our push towards excellence has to be a reverence and also an application of the equality of all. Without this, we begin to listen to the loudest voices which spout the most statistics, working off the greatest funding.

This will make us barbarians.

This will make us independent of Jefferson, freed from Lincoln … and unable to crown a King.

   

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