Part 1: Same $h!% Different Century

In 1864 while making an address at the Sanitary Faire in Baltimore, MD, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the meaning of liberty this way:

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

This is fascinating to me because it is the same thing that I am saying today regarding the different definitions of the same words by different populations of people – each of which mean something completely different, used in a completely different way, and each group believing they have the correct definition.

The biggest challenge for our culture today is to know what it means to work with people who have a different baseline moral framework than yourself. We haven’t figured it out yet. And from what Abraham Lincoln said, it looks like this struggle has been going on for a really, really long time. I guess it’s going to take that much for time to hopefully shift cultural engagement in a more peaceful and productive manner.

As cheesy as it sounds… That change in cultural engagement must start right now with you.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

 

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://www.graceground.com Sam in San Diego

    Andrew, you’re saying the right stuff. This is a no-brainer.

    In a few years, gay marriage and other equal rights for LGBT’s will be the law of the land. Look at the demographics. Every poll I have seen shows that the 35 and under (often the 40 and under) age group overwhelmingly approves of these things. Roughly speaking, two thirds of the youngest one third of voters approve, whereas only one third of the oldest one third of voters approve. Guess what is going to happen in a few short years?

    Trying to legislate against an unpopular minority only works so long. Trying to legislate “morality” rarely works at all. Some people see these things as the role of the church. Others of us see them as an activity of over-zealous religious people, an activity that is mostly political in nature. Isn’t it like so obvious that certain politicians take an anti-gay stand on these issues to attract the votes of a certain demographic? Is anyone naive enough to think that most of these people really believe what they’re saying to get votes?

    The church is going to lose in a big way on this one. Organizations like Focus on the Family and others that have made Christianity a political cause have diverted a whole generation from serving Christ by loving and serving others to political activism. In my opinion that was a huge, huge mistake. These groups have hijacked the word “Christian” for their own political purposes, even though they vociferously deny doing so.

    There are those who will listen to you Andrew. Then there are those who will take their bigotry to the grave, and in the meantime will oppose you and what you have to say. It goes with the territory.


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