GOD’s HAND[s] in HISTORY – CREATION (science) – COVENANT (Israel) – CHRIST (Resurrection)
GOD BLESSED AMERICA (Israel)

ONE NATION UNDER GOD – COVENANT, CALLING, COMMERCE (American Civics)

COVENANT: 

“One Nation Under God”

ALMOST 3,000 YEARS AFTER the COVENANT at SINAI (God, the Children of Jacob-Israel through Moses, 

The PILGRIMS (sons of Joseph – Manasseh and Ephraim) who settled “AMERICA” SAW THEMSELVES as NEW ISRAELites …

BEGINNING with GOD’s CALL to ABRAHAM to “LIFT UP NOW THINE EYES”, and JOURNEY to a LAND, GUIDED by FAITH in GOD’s WORD of HOPE and PROMISE …

EXILES (a CHOSEN PEOPLE) on an EXODUS (escape), CALLED by GOD out of the slavery of Egypt to GOD’s “PROMISED LAND” …

VENTURE and JOURNEY through the DESOLATE WILDERNESS of “sin” … 

to a PROMISED LAND of “MILK and HONEY” … to build a “CITY on a HILL” …

ISRAEL is BASED on the BIBLICAL IDEA of COVENANT … between the GOD of ISRAEL and HIS PEOPLE (Jacob I loved, Esau I hated)

CIVILIZATION and an ETHIC FROM GOD’S WORD … a DIVINE-SOURCE … a HOLY (separated) PEOPLE[s] …

GENESIS 12 – GOD’s COVENANT with ABRAHAM

Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 

GENESIS 15

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make MY COVENANT between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, MY COVENANT is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nationsNo longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham,[c] for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly FRUITFUL, and I will make you into NATIONS, and KINGS shall come from you. And I will establish MY COVENANT between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting COVENANT, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of CANAAN, for an EVERLASTING POSSESSION, and I will be THEIR GOD.”

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall KEEP MY COVENANT, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 

God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.[f] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him

ABRAHAM – ISAAC SACRIFICE

GENESIS 22 – “Take your son, your only son ISAAC, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and OFFER him there as a BURNT OFFERING on one of the mountains of which I SHALL TELL YOU.” 

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, BECAUSE you have DONE THIS and have NOT WITHELD YOUR SON, your only son, 17 I will surely BLESS you, and I will surely MULTIPLY your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the GATE of his HIS ENEMIES, 18 and in your offspring shall ALL the NATIONS of the EARTH be BLESSED, because you have OBEYED BY VOICE.” 

GENESIS 49 – JACOB (Israel) COVENANT BLESSING

Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. 

JUDAH 

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples

KING JESUS – (a promised messiah-deliverer)

JOSEPH (twin sons Ephraim and Manasseh)

JOSEPH is a FRUITFUL bough,
    a fruitful bough by a spring; 
    his (Manassah) branches run over the wall (Ephraim)
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
    shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
    his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
    (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
    by the Almighty who will BLESS you
    with BLESSING of heaven above,
blessings of the DEEP that crouches beneath,
    blessings of the BREASTS and of the WOMB.
26 The blessings of your father
    are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
    up to the BOUNTIES of the everlasting hills.[i]
May they be on the head of JOSEPH,
    and on the brow of him who was SET APART from his brothers.

DEUTERONOMY 32 – The CHILDREN of ISRAEL – INHERITANCE

they are a crooked and twisted generation.
Do you thus repay the Lord,
    you foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
    who made you and established you?
Remember the days of old;
    consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE,
    when he DIVIDED MANKIND,
he FIXED the BORDERS of the PEOPLE
    according to the NUMBER of the SONS of ISRAEL
But the LORD’s portion is HIS PEOPLE,
    Jacob HIS allotted HERITAGE.

DEUTERONOMY 33

And of Joseph he said,

“Blessed by the Lord be his land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,[j]
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14 with the choicest fruits of the sun
    and the rich yield of the months,
15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
    and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 firstborn bull – He has majesty,
    and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
    ALL of them, to the ENDS of the EARTH;
they are the ten thousands of EPHRAIM,
    and they are the thousands of MANASSEH.”

DAVID-ic COVENANT

II SAMUEL 7 – 

thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince[b] over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 

10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more

And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 

13 He shall build a HOUSE for MY NAME, and I WILL ESTABLISH the THRONE of HIS KINGDOM FOREVER. 

14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son

ISRAEL – SCATTERED and RESTORED

LEVITICUS 26

“But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, 28 then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins

And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. 

33 And I will SCATTER YOU AMONG the NATIONS, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a DESOLATION, and your cities shall be a WASTE.

ISRAEL RESTORED

JEREMIAH 31: for I am a father to Israel,
    and EPHRAIM is my firstborn.

10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
    and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who SCATTERED ISRAEL will GATHER HIM,
    and WILL KEEP him as a SHEPHERD keeps HIS FLOCK.’
11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob
    and has REDEEMED him from hands too strong for him.

COVENANT IDEAS the FOUNDATION of “ISRAEL”

… the United States (Manasseh-Ephraim-England), a continued INFLUENCE on AMERICAN LIFE.

From their earliest beginnings, the PEOPLE and POLITICS comprising the United States have BOUND THEMSELVES TOGETHER through COVENANTS to erect a revolutionary NEW WORLD ORDER, FOLLOWING BIBLICAL PRECEDENTS

the RIGHTS of MAN COME NOT from the GENEROSITY of the STATE, … BUT from the HANDS of GOD 

“CONCEIVED in LIBERTY, WRITTEN in LIBERTY, BOUND in UNION, IT WAS MEANT TO INSPIRE the HOPES of ALL MANKIND …. 

WITH EYES FIXED ON the HORIZON and GOD’s GRACE BEHIND US, WE CARRIED FORTH THAT BREAT GIFT of FREEDOM and DELIVERED IT SAFELY to FUTURE GENERATIONS … 

PASSED ON BY GUTENBURG’s PRINTING PRESS, LUTHER’s REFORMATION (the Individual), BIBLE TRANSLATIONS (Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther …)

IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT “WHAT GOD WANTS”, READ the BIBLE … a “SUBVERSIVE” BOOK …

PROPHETS NOT AFRAID to CRITICIZED KING-STATE … (CORRUPT RULERS) 

REFUSING to OBEY EGYPTIAN PHAROAH’s COMMAND to KILL ISRAEL-ite FIRST BORNS is FIRST ACT of CIVIL-DISOBEDIENCE … IF the KING CANNOT by DECEIT, THEY RULE by RAGE …

“LEX REX’ – the LAW (covenant) is KING

WE the PEOPLE are BOUND in COVENANT with GOD … CREATOR and His CREATION …

HUMAN GOVERNMENT by FREE HUMAN CONSENT and DIVINE “COVENANT”

HUMAN DIGNITY SOURCED in PROVIDENTIAL DIVINITY … 

The COVENANT is MORAL and CONCEIVED in JUSTICE (Divine Cosmic Justice … not human “social justice”) 

WE NEED the GRACE of GOD to SUCCEED and HAND it ON to FUTURE GENERATIONS …

The COVENANT, “SOCIAL CONTRACT”, concluded on the MAYFLOWERin 1620, remains the FIRST hallowed document of the AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL tradition.

For the patriots of Samuel Adams it was “solemn league and covenant” against British OPPRESSION; for the framers of the CONSTITUTIONAL compact of 1787; 

JEFFERSON who referred to the young republic in his first inaugural address as a “CHOSEN country” …

Lincoln often characterized the American Union as “a regular MARRIAGE” … for millions of ordinary Americans, the CONCEPT of COVENANT HAS BEEN REFLECTED IN REAL EXPERIENCES from JAMESTOWN to the PRESENT … whereby INDIVIDUALS and FAMILIES HAVE COME TOGETHER to ESTABLISH GOVERNING ARRANGEMENTS BY COMPACT.

The PURITANS: COVENANT Comes to the New World

The first political principles systematicallyenunciated in America were extensions and adaptations of the Puritans’ federal theology which SAW ALL SOCIETY as an OUTGROWTH of the BASIC BIBLICAL COVENANTS BETWEEN GOD and HIS PEOPLE. 

John Winthrop referred to the GOOD COMMONWEALTH AS ONE COMMITTED to “FEDERAL LIBERTY,” or the FREEDOM to FREELY HARKEN to the LAW of the COVENANT.”

The Puritans sought to PLACE ALL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG PEOPLE ON a COVENANTAL BASIS. 

THEY CAME HERE … the EXILE and the STRANGER … to a PLACE WHERE a MAN COULD BE HIS OWN MAN”

Their CONGREGATIONS were COVENANT-FORMED PARTNERSHIPS of “SAINTS” (separated) which came into existence only when potential MEMBERS COVENANTED AMONG EACH OTHER, and survived only so long as the covenantal act remained valid (potentially but not necessarily forever).

All through the colonial era Americans went from compact to compact – a score of compacts and agreements on one frontier after another.”

Richard Niebuhr: “one of the great common patterns that guided men in the period when American democracy was formed…was the PATTERN of the COVENANT or of FEDERAL society.”

a “CONTROLLED EXPERIMENT” in FREEDOM … a “CIVIL SOCIETY” …

MODERN GOVERNMENT STEMS from FOUR REVOLUTIONS …

“SACRED” ENGLISH (1688) and AMERICAN (1776) … 

SACRED – Moses-Torah, Judeo-Christian Values … “FEAR of the LORD is the BEGINNING of WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING” – Proverbs 9

OR “SECULAR”-God-less FRENCH (1789) and RUSSIAN (1917) … Rousseau and Marx … totalitarian terror

COVENANT (Torah-based) … “ISRAEL” vs “INFIDELS” … FREEDOM vs FASCISM … “republics” vs “regimes”

God-less – TOTALITARIAN – GOD=STATE=POLITICAL IDOL-atry

John Adams – “The HEBREWS have done more to CIVILIZE MEN than any OTHER NATION … 

“IF I WERE an ATHEIST I WOULD STILL BELIEVE … FATE HAD ORDAINED the JEWS to be the MOST ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENT for CIVILIZING the NATIONS” … 

MOSES … “OBSERVE THEM CAREFULLY … FOR THIS IS YOUR WISOM and UNDERSTANDING in the EYES of the NATIONS … WHO WILL HEAR ABOUT ALL THESE DECREES and SAY. ‘SURELY THIS GREAT NATION is a WISE and UNDERSTANDING NATION” … (DEUTERONOMY 5 …The Torah – Moses – 1450 BC) 

RABBI JONATHAN SACKS: MOSES believed that there would come a time when the idea of a nation founded on a covenant with God would inspire other nations with its vision of a society based not on a hierarchy of power but on the equal dignity of all under the sovereignty and in the image of God; and on the rule of justice and compassion. “The nations” would appreciate the wisdom of the Torah and its “righteous decrees and laws”. It happened … we see this most clearly in the political culture and language of the United States. 

To this day American politics is based on the BIBLICAL IDEA of COVENANT. American presidents almost always invoke this idea in their Inaugural Addresses in language that owes its cadences and concepts to the book of Devarim. So, for instance, in 1985 Ronald Reagan spoke of America as “one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart, called upon now to pass that dream on to a waiting and hopeful world.” 

In his Inaugural in 1989, George Bush prayed: “There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. Amen.” 

In 1997 Bill Clinton said: “The promise we sought in a new land we will find again in a land of new promise.” 

George W Bush in 2001 said, “We are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in His image.” In 2005 he declared, “From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth.”

Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be SANCTIFIED (separated holy) among the ISRAELites. I AM the LORD who made you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be YOUR GOD. I am the LORD.’ (Leviticus 22:32)

The two commands are respectively the prohibition against desecrating God’s name, Chillul Hashem, and the positive corollary, Kiddush Hashem, that we are commanded to sanctify God’s name. But in what sense can we sanctify or desecrate God’s name?

First we have to understand the concept of “name” as it applies to God. A name is how we are known to others. God’s “name” is therefore HIS STANDING in the world. 

Do people ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, RESPECT HIM, HONOR HIM?

The commands of Kiddush Hashem and Chillul Hashem locate that responsibility in the conduct and fate of the Jewish people. This is what ISAIAH meant when he said: “You are MY WITNESSES, says GOD, that I AM GOD” (Isaiah 43:10).

The GOD of ISRAEL is the GOD of ALL HUMANITY. 

HE CREATED the UNIVERSE and LIFE ITSELF. HE MADE ALL of US – Jew and non-Jew alike – IN HIS IMAGE. 

He CARES for all of us: “His tender mercies are on all his works” (Ps. 145:9). 

YET the GOD of ISRAEL is RADICALLY UNLIKE the gods in which the ancients believed, and the reality in which today’s scientific atheists believe. 

He is NOT IDENTICAL with NATURE. HE CREATED NATURE. 

He is not identical with the physical universe. He TRANSCENDS the universe. 

We are NOT capable mapping or QUANTIFYING HIM by SCIENCE – through observation, measurement and calculation – for He is not that kind of thing at all. 

GOD’s REVELATION – (Oracle Peoples)

HOW then is GOD KNOWN?

The radical claim of the TORAH (HIS WORD) is that HE is KNOWN, not exclusively but primarily, through JEWISH HISTORY . 

As Moses says at the end of his life:

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 

Has any other people heard the VOICE of GOD speaking out of fire, as YOU HAVE, and LIVED? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by TESTINGS, by SIGN and WONDERS, by war, by a MIGHTY HAND and an OUTSTRETCHED ARM, or by GREAT and AWESOME DEEDS, like all the things the LORD YOUR GOD did for you in Egypt before YOUR VERY EYES? (Deut. 4:32-34)

MILLENIA AGO, MOSES KNEW that Jewish HISTORY was and would continue to be UNIQUE and EXCEPTIONAL 

NO OTHER NATION has survived such TRIALS. 

The REVELATION of GOD to Israel was unique. No other religion is built on a DIRECT REVELATION of GOD to an entire people as happened at MOUNT SINAI. Therefore God – the GOD of REVELATION and REDEMPTION – is KNOWN to the WORLD through the (“SINFUL” BUT HOLY “SEPARATED”) people of ISRAEL. 

In ourselves we are TESTIMONY to SOMETHING BEYOND OURSELVES. 

We are GODs AMBASSADORS to the WORLD.

CITY of GOD vs CITY of MAN

IN the WORLD (time) … NOT OF the WORLD (eternity) …

“CIVICS” – human government

a social science dealing with the RIGHTS and DUTIES of CITIZENS 

“ANIMALS” of “The POLIS” …

POWER … RIGHTS … RESPONSIBILITIES … engaging in the political process.

COVENANT with OUR CREATOR …. 

Rulers often had absolute power of life and death over their subjects. Not only were kings and pharaohs heads of state; they also held the highest religious rank, as they were considered children of the gods or even demigods themselves. 

Their POWER had NOTHING to do with the CONSENT of the GOVERNED NOR “COVENANT” with the CREATOR. 

It was seen as PRESUMPTIOUSLY ASSUMED by FINITE, SINFUL (missing the mark) CREATURES (ignoring the Creator) – the OLDEST LIE – “SE SHALL BE AS GODS” … 

… IDOL-atrous POLITICS STEALTHILY SUBSUMED and “WOVEN” INTO the “FABRIC of the UNIVERSE” in REBELLION AGAINST GOD. (The Tower of Babel) 

Just as the sun ruled the sky and the lion ruled the animal realm, so kings ruled their populations. That was how things were in nature, and nature itself was sacrosanct.

The TORAH was POLITICALLY “SUBVERSIVE” (the City of Man) – is a sustained polemic against this way of seeing things in a GOD-CENTERED UNIVERSE.

Not just kings but ALL of us, regardless of color, culture, class or creed, are in the IMAGE and LIKENESS of GOD.

ALL SINNERS IN NEED of GOD’s GRACE … (Book of Romans) 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – In the Torah, GOD summons HIS SPECIAL, CHOSEN COVENANT PEOPLE , ISRAEL, to take the FIRST STEPS towards what might eventually become a truly “DEMOCRATIC” society …

BASED ON COVENANT – a GOD-CENTERED UNIVERSE – in which DIGNITY is DIVINELY SOURCED, kavod, does NOT depend on POWER or WEALTH or an accident of BIRTH.

The DIGNITY of MAN HAD a DIVINE SOURCE …

Hence the concept, which we will explore more fully in parshat Korach, of leadership as service. The highest title accorded to Moses in the Torah is that of eved Hashem, “a servant of God” (Deut. 34:5). His highest praise is that he was “very humble, more so than anyone else on earth” (Num. 12:3). To lead is to serve. Greatness is humility. As the book of Proverbs puts it, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour” (Prov. 29:23).

That is a constant throughout history. We desire, said Shakespeare, “this man’s gift and that man’s scope.” Aeschylus said, “It is in the character of very few men to honour without envy a friend who has prospered.”Goethe warned that although “hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.” Jews should know this in their very bones. We have often been envied, and all too frequently has that envy turned to hate, with tragic consequences.

WE the PEOPLE

When Moses speaks about the reward for keeping the covenant, he does so collectively. There will be rain in its due season. You will have good harvests. And so on. The principle that Jews have collective responsibility, that their fate and destiny are interlinked – this could have been found in the Torah’s blessings. Why search for it among its curses?

The answer is that there is nothing unique to Judaism in the idea that we are all implicated in one another’s fate

COLLECTIVELY CONNECTED by GOD BY CONSENT … NOT COLLECTIVE STATE or GOVERNMENT COERCION

GOD’s PROMISE … NOT STATE PERSECUTION (political IDOL-atry)

The word civics was an American English invention, modeled on politics, from the Latin civicus, “of a citizen” – you are considered part of the nation and have an active role in determining what that nation does

Even in their worst hours, according to Leviticus, the Jewish people will never be destroyed. Nor will God reject them. The covenant will still be in force and its terms still operative. This means that Jews will always be linked to one another by the same ties of mutual responsibility that they have in the land – for it was the covenant that formed them as a nation and bound them to one another even as it bound them to God. Therefore, even when falling over one another in flight from their enemies they will still be bound by mutual responsibility. They will still be a nation with a shared fate and destiny.

A rare, special and EXCEPTIONAL idea, the politics of covenant. Covenant became a major element in the politics of the West following the Reformation. It shaped political discourse in Switzerland, Holland, Scotland and England (all Israelite nations)in the 17th century as the invention of printing and the spread of literacy made people familiar for the first time with the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament” as they called it). 

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: There they learned that TYRANTS are to be RESISTED, that immoral orders should not be obeyed, and that kings did not rule by divine right but only by the CONSENT of the GOVERNED. (popular sovereignty)

The same convictions were held by the Pilgrim Fathers as they set sail for America, but with one difference, that they did not disappear over time as they did in Europe. The result is that the United States is the only country today whose political discourse is framed by the idea of COVENANT. (CONSTITUTION)

In covenant societies it is the people as a whole who are responsible, under God, for the fate of the nation. As Johnson put it, “Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen but upon all citizens.”

the essence of covenant: we are all in this together. There is no division of the nation into rulers and ruled. We are conjointly responsible, under the sovereignty of God, for one another.

In Judaism we are responsible only for what we could have prevented but did not. This is how the Talmud puts it:

Whoever can forbid their household [to commit a sin] but does not, is seized for [the sins of] their household. [If they can forbid] their fellow citizens [but do not] they are seized for [the sins of] their fellow citizens. [If they can forbid] the whole world [but do not] they are seized for [the sins of] the whole world. (Shabbat 54b)

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – This remains a powerful idea and an unusual one. What made it unique to Judaism is that it applied to a people scattered throughout the world united only by the terms of the covenant our ancestors made with God at Mount Sinai. But it continues, as I have often argued, to drive American political discourse likewise even today. It tells us that we are all equal citizens in the republic of faith and that responsibility cannot be delegated away to governments or presidents but belongs inalienably to each of us. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

That is what I mean by the strange, seemingly self-contradictory idea I have argued throughout this series of essays: that we are all called on to be leaders. One may fairly protest: if everyone is a leader, then no one is. If everyone leads, who is left to follow? 

The concept that resolves the contradiction is covenant.

Leadership is the acceptance of responsibility. Therefore if we are all responsible for one another, we are all called on to be leaders, each within our sphere of influence – be it within the family, the community, the organisation or a larger grouping still.

civic knowledge and engagement including considering alternative viewpoints (pluralism), appreciating diversity, analyzing the role of citizens in the political process, monitoring and understanding. current events, and thinking critically about political information.

promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”  Civic engagement includes both paid and unpaid forms of political activism.

RESPONSIBLE citizen has knowledge about his/her role in community, state and the world

RESPONSIBLE citizen has a role in making the world a BETTER place to live.

CHANGE AGENT acts out regarding “DUE PROCESS”  of justice in social, economic, and environmental sectors

VOLUNTARY RESPONSIBILITIES of AMERICAN CITIZENS

  • Voting. While voting is a right and privilege of citizenship, it is also a duty or responsibility
  • Staying informed. … 
  • Community involvement. … 
  • Practicing tolerance. … 
  • Passing it on

 CALLING:

GOD CREATED a world of PURPOSE … MEANING … COMPLEXITY

CALLING… It is the “CREATION’s” RESPONSIBILITY to FIND ONE’s “PLACE” and PURPOSE in GOD’s CREATION… 

PRINCIPLES and PRACTICES that enable PURPOSE … that apply to EVERYONE … EVERYWHERE … EVERYTHING …

“CIVICS” … human government

American “IDEALS” regarding “rights”, responsibilities … impulses and convictions leading to 

ACTION

FREEDOM

TRUTH

JUSTICE 

ALTRUISM (well-being “neighbors” … “strangers”) 

BEAUTY

HONOR

natural rights, social contract, popular sovereignty, limited government and republicanism 

… and their influence on the foundation of the United States of America

democratic republicanism – representative government based on popular sovereignty (“we the people”) … “limited” government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens … protection of the human RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of all citizens

POWER DIVIDED … SEPARATED …

MAJORITIES and MINORITES  … politically, geographic “FEDERALism)

INDIVIDUALism. … “COMMUNITY”

VOLUNTEERism … NOT “COERCED”

“OPPORTUNITY” (equality of  “starting point” … NOT “equity of” “outcomes”) 

Achievement … Action … Work

COMMERCE:

EARNED VALUE … VALUES … TRUE “WORTH-SHIP”

STEWARDSHIP (management) of GOD’s EARTH … HIS PROVIDENCE …

IT IS ALL HIS … HE JUST LETS US “USE” (manage) IT … AS “HOUSE STEWARDS” (Greek – eco-oiko-nomics)

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was PRIEST of GOD Most High.) 19 And he BLESSED him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor[b] of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram GAVE him [Melchizedek] a TENTH of EVERYTHING21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand[c] to the Lord, God Most High, POSSESSOR of HEAVEN and EARTH, 

NOT “COMMERCIALIZATION” … (crass materialism) … NOT GREED … SERVICE of your fellow neighbor …

“ENTERPRISE” (altruism)

“BE FRUIT-FUL and MULTIPLY” …

“GOD’s anti-DOTE (the “work ethic”) to this world’s temporary CURSE of TOIL”

“The PURSUIT of HAPPINESS” … GOD’s PROVIDENCE 

“EARNED SUCCESS” (not “entitlement”)

PROSPERITY as GOD’s BLESSING …. NOT HUMAN BURDENS … EMPIRES of ENVY

NOT POWER … MONEY … BIRTH (position)

Ben Franklin grasped the truth about MONEY’s inability to deliver life satisfaction 

“money never made a man happy yet, nor will it.  

GREED is BAD … ENVY is WORSE …

SUCCESS … SATISFACTION … GOD is our SUPPLY …

DECEIVING DESIRES – The MORE a man has, the more he WANTS.  Instead of FILLING a VACUUM, it MAKES one.”

ARTHUR C. BROOKS … “The Battle” … For Our Economic Souls … 

FREE ENTERPRISE … FORMULA for wealth creationLIFE SATISFACTION

There are THREE BASIC THINGS that make people HAPPY:

  1)MEANING in their lives, 

  2)CONTROL over their environment, and 

  3)SUCCESS in CREATING VALUE in the world. 

… the way people get these things is NOT with MONEY or POWER or FAME– 

… it is with their VALUES

people who are serious about healthy values in their LIVES, FAMILIES, and COMMUNITIES are MUCH HAPPIER than others. 

The data say that these VALUES come in EIGHT CATEGORIESfaith, family, personal liberty, private morality, non-materialism, opportunity, work, and service to others

What HAPPY AMERICANS know is that nothing is more important than these VALUES for building TRUE happiness.

If we know we have the POSSIBILITY of earning success, we know we can IMPROVE (“be fruitful and multiply) our livesand our lot. (“reflection” on the “fruits of our labor”) 

That is one of the GREAT GIFTS of the American FREE ENTERPRISE system – the OPPORTUNITY for people to re-invent themselves, to work toward a future that is BETTER than their past. 

Progressive TAXATION dismantles the cause-and-effect relationship between working hard and achieving success. …(LEVEL-ing … empire of ENVY … EQUALITY in MISERY)

Tax REVENUES will actually DECLINE in the long run because of the negative impact on INCENTIVE for successful people to work and earn 

GOD TAKES OUR SINFUL “INTERESTS” and BLESSES THEM … 

GOD’s PROVISION … NOT HUMAN PLUNDER …

ALTRUISM … “COVENANT” CARE for NEIGHBOR … STRANGER

NOT ALIENATION … COVET … CAMOUFLAGE … COERCION … CONTROL … CONQUER

COVENANT – A GOD-CENTERED UNIVERSE …

GOD … is the KING … SOVEREIGN … ALL-POWERFUL in CONTROL …

NOT IDOL-atrous GOD-SUBSTITUTES …

A “SOVEREIGN (all powerful) GOD” and HIS “SERVANTS” (Greek “douloi” – slaves) … STEWARDS (house managers) … SAINTS(separated) … DISCIPLES (learners) … SOLDIERS (a “cosmic” war) … SONS (children of “inheritance”) … SALVATION (heirs)

The CITY of GOD (tried, trusted and true) … DESTINY

The CITY of MAN (tried and tested) 

Obama’s economic “vision” does NOT produce a “fair” society– “If you think spreading money around BY FORCE seems like an odd definition of fairness, you’re not alone.”   

Americans seek FAIRsociety LIFTING UP (not LEVEL-ing) those in POVERTY   

The SYSTEM that enables the mostpeople to earn the MOSTsuccess is free enterprise, by matching up people’s SKILLS, INTERESTS and ABILITIES

FREE markets … UNequal incomes … be NOT ASHAMED…it’s the ENVY of the world” 

The ENVY (not tnterprise) solution to poverty is SIMPLE: REDISTRIBUTION. 

Re-distribution simply spreads money around. 

Even worse, it attenuates the ability to earn success by perverting economic incentives.  

By shifting wealth from the rich to the poor, they believe they can solve poverty, but this is a FAILING strategy.”  

The PUBLIC “WELFARE STATE” PERPETUATES POVERTY, NOT “LIFTING” PEOPLE OUT of POVERTY, FOSTERING “DEPENDENCE”, NOT INDEPENDENCE.  

HISTORY’s BIGGEST ECONOMIC HOAX #1–

There is “NO FREE LUNCH”… the MYTH of “ROB[BING] HOOD”

RE-DISTRIBUTION DOES NOT “FIX” POVERTY

“RE-DISTRIBUTING WEALTH is STEALING … NOT SHARING

TOO BIG WILLFAIL … based on theft … secrets … lies … DEADLY SINS … are DEADLY …

Bigger bureaucracies, bigger labor unions, and bigger state-run corporations. 

It will be harder to be an entrepreneur because of punitive taxes and regulations. The rewards of success will be expropriated for the sake of attaining greater income equality.

HISTORY’s BIGGEST ECONOMIC “HOAX” – #2? – 

“greed-capitalism” CREATED a WORLD in NEED

HUMANITY was-is BORN “in NEED” … capitalism does NOT MAKE people “selfish” …. 

They are BORN that way …

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT the “TRAGIC REALITY” of “SELF-ishness”? …

UTOPIA = NOWHERE … 

REJECTION of “REALITY” …  a World in “SIN” (missing the mark)

“MISERY” is the “NATURAL” STATE of HUMANITY (“encouraged” by Marx-ism) …

“WEALTH” and ”HAPPINESS” is “EXCEPTIONAL”… NOT the NORM … 

Opportunity breeds happiness and efforts to diminish economic inequality – 

without creating economic opportunity.  It will actually lower America’s gross national happiness, not raise it.  

STIMULATING PROSPERITY, NOT SIMPLY ALLEVIATING POVERTY, SHOULD BE the GOAL FOR HELPING the POOR and VULNERABLE.  

Study after study of impoverished communities around the world shows that PROSPERITY, NOT POVERTY IS THE RIGHT FOCUS IF WE WANT TO ‘LIFT PEOPLE UP”. 

ONLY free enterprise TRULY addresses the ROOT CAUSES of poverty.  

REAL solutions are NOT based on a RE-SLICING of the EXISTING ECONOMIC PIE by government officials and bureaucrats, effectively taking money from the well-off and giving it to the poor through punitive taxation and growing welfare. 

“STIMULUS”: Take a gallon bucket to a swimming pool.  Take a gallon from the deep (“rich”) end.  Then go poor the gallon in the shallow (poor) end.  What effect does this have?” 

They are based on an expansion of the piein ways that will increase everybody’s share through policies and a CULTURE that CREATES INCENTIVES for ALL AMERICANS.

A RISING TIDE RAISES ALL BOATS.”   

It allows the “poor” to tap into the GENERATIVE POWER of entrepreneurshipand ultimatelylets them earn their own success.

Free enterprise is essentially a formula NOT JUST for WEALTH CREATION

… but LIFE SATISFACTION.  

“FIXING” POVERTY is BEST DONE by CREATING-GROWING WEALTH

“ENVY” – “EQUALITY in MISERY” is a FAILED, MARX-ist “BAIT and SWITCH”

ALIENATION – CLASS WARFARE – EQUALITY in MISERY 

MOST PEOPLE are UPPITY” … The MORALITY of MORE – “Be Fruitful and Multiply”

NOT “LOOT-FUL” and DIVISIVE (marx-ist mythology of misery in a “LEVEL-ed” ZERO WORLD)

ENTERPRISE – The MORALITY of MORE…. NOT the “LOGIC of LESS”

Most Americans DO NOT see FREE ENTERPRISE as just an economic matter – it as kind of a LIFESTYLE ISSUE– religious, social, cultural, political

ENTERPRISE – COMMERCE is a FOUNDATION of “AMERICA” …

It’s true that today, the richest one percent of Americans own a third of America’s wealth. 

One % owns 35 %!…  SO WHAT?

Some claim that the RICH GET RICHER at the EXPENSE of the POOR

But that’s a LIE.

The greedy-evil-capitalists-CHEAT-the-poor message (ENVY)

“Wall Street” creepyfinancier, Gordon Gekko – “GREED” WORKS … 

“It’s a ZERO-SUM game. SOMEBODY WINS; SOMEBODY LOSES

A (fallacious) ZERO-SUM GAME… 

IF SOMEONE MAKES MONEY, HE TOOK ITFROM EVERYONE ELSE.

The more the rich have, the less others have.

It’s as if the economy is a pie that’s already on the table, waiting to be carved. The bigger the piece the rich take, the less that’s left for everyone else.The economy is just a fight over who gets how much.

But this is ABSURD

Bill GATES took a HUGE slice of PIE, but he DID NOT TAKE it FROM ME

By starting Microsoft, Gates BAKED MILLIONS of NEW PIES

He made the REST of the world RICHER, too. 

ENTREPRENEUS CREATE things.

Over the past few decades, the difference in wealth between the rich and poor has GROWN.

 This makes people uncomfortable

“RICHES” … RELATIVE

“RICH” … “POOR” … COMPARED to WHAT?  

BUT WHY is it a problem if the poor DID NOT GET POOR er?

It leaves out the INNOVATION that makes life BETTER for BOTHthe RICH and POOR 

Even poor people today have ACCESS …. OPPORTUNITY … to cars, food, health care, entertainment and technology that rich people lusted for a few decades ago.

90% percent of Americans living “BELOW the POVERTY LINE” have smart phones, cable TV and cars. 70% percent own two cars.

WEALTH is RELATIVE …

COVENANT … CALLING … COMMERCE (Civics American)

ONE NATION UNDER GOD