Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recognizing Our Common Humanity

Gerald Wallace once addressed the convention of the American Association of School Administrators. In that address, he made some comparisons between the Russian Lenin and the American Lincoln.

Lenin allegedly said, “You must not raise the level of the poor because they will rise up and bite the hand that feeds them.” Lincoln concluded, “God must have loved the common man, he made so many of them.”

Lenin pitted class against class, but Lincoln suggested, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. On the other hand, Lenin urged exterminating all who oppose you, while Lincoln insisted “With malice toward none; with charity for all …”

Lenin wrote, “We will consider nothing right unless it advances our revolution, while Lincoln suggested we “Work toward the right as God gives us the power to see the right.”

When asked what he wanted men to say of him when he was gone, Lincoln reportedly thought a while then replied, “I hope they will say of me that, as I pass my neighbor’s garden, if I saw a thistle in it I plucked it and put a rose in its place.”

Leninism was the Russian application of Marxist economics and political philosophy, that pitted one class against another in an evolving economic warfare led by the Bolshevik party, the vanguard politic that led the fight for the political independence of the Russian working class and ended up with a small dictatorship that controlled every aspect of society and disallowed private ownership.

President Lincoln was elected as our 16th President and the first Republican President, Republicans being the social progressives of that era. They favored common infrastructure at a time when the states were essentially thirteen independent colonies only, brought together by their common resistance to King George and English rule. Lincoln, however, was a bible reader, who took his Bible reading even more seriously than his political partisanship.

So many of our differences throughout history have to do with the teaching of Jesus, who taught us to 1) love God supremely; and, 2) love our neighbor as ourselves. Lenin and Marx utilized a common concern for the masses of humanity by perverting it in the form of Russian Communism that remained atheistic, anti-social, and supremely self-serving for the few in control.

On the other hand, Lincoln’s words reiterate this core teaching of Jesus. His words reveal a behavior that brought together an administration based on ability rather than party. His words reflect a common concern for all humanity as expressed in the Emancipation Act, altho Lincoln was no Abolitionist.

 It is imperative that we love God supremely. Without acknowledging Our Creator, we have no basis for recognizing our commonality as diverse human beings with common blood, common needs, and common aspirations. Only when we understand and accept our commonality, can we love one another as we love ourselves.

Otherwise, we get locked in on serving ourselves … as did Communism … as does much of today’s economic and political partisanship … as does Capitalistic libertarianism … as does fascism. Otherwise, we attempt to “Lord it over others;” we attempt to conquer others; we constantly compete with each other to be the President of the country, the biggest corporation, the best church, the best of all cultures, the right color. The list is endless as we compete to be king of the hill on our global school ground..

I believe Lincoln understood Jesus on the cross, when he said in his oft-quoted address, “With malice toward none; with charity for all …” That has the purity in it of the love that God offered when he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son … that whosoever believed in Him should have life everlasting (John 3:16).

Lifting up the fallen-down, the impoverished, the vulnerable, the unprotected, the throwaways, is one way we can show that we love God supremely. When we do love God supremely, we will become one with lifting up our common humanity.

From Warner’s World, I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

No comments: