“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians12:26 – ESV).”
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THE YEAR OF THE VIP
Happy New Year’s Family!
As we step into the year 2016, my hope is that the human family embodies the words of the Apostle Paul, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians12:26 – ESV).” The thought is that we each aspire to achieve VIP status. And by VIP I am not referring to “very important persons” but rather that we each become a “victor in peace, prosperity and power.” I claim this victory in the face of the several struggles that are so very real for countless peoples in various places throughout the human family. After all, humanity will never mitigate struggle without the presence of peace, the prevalence of prosperity and the acquisition of collective power.
In the presence of peace, “Everyone Matters”! This means that instead of simply looking out for “me and mine” only, we also recognize and engage the need we in actuality have for each other. We are all necessary in the efforts to end human struggling. Alternately, a “Black Lives Matter” or a “Trans Live Matter” movement does not negate this. They are merely lanes in justice work that people choose and decide to work in. To borrow a piece of a quote from Maimie Till, “…what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.”
The creation of prevalent prosperity is aided when we become about the “business of us all” which leads to the adoption of people-centered priorities. We all face the same human development needs that ultimately form the basis of long, healthy and productive lives. Those things include: health; education; safety; the ability to form families; the capacity to engage in decent and productive work; having safe housing; participating in government; and so on. Besides, as we have learned from the experience of other movements, i.e. the African-American, Women’s and now the LGBT movement, equality agendas don’t actually seek to change systems; they seek only to be part of them. When in the end, it is always about lived equality more so than just legal equality. Consequently, the goal of every social movement should also be to help people to achieve a better life and not just an equal one.
The fact then that people tend to respond in many different ways can adversely affect our collective power. Some will take to the streets and some will work in ways we can’t see. But criticizing the actions of those who decide to do something alone is not helpful. People-centered movements should link their respective work to the work of one another in order to combine individual priorities into goals that improve the lives of all people. This collective formation in turn can become a power base that virtually assures workplace equality; develop programs to reduce unemployment; create housing agendas that cut the number of homeless youth and elderly; shrink transgender poverty; or decrease child poverty particularly in Black gay households. All these things are possible-with God’s help and guidance.
Finally, regardless of whatever we envision for the year ahead, let us not waiver from our pursuit to obtain VIP status, i.e. a “victor in peace, prosperity and power.” Let us go forward with great hope that this year is filled with the things that are truly good- and not only for “me and mine” but for us all – the comfort of warmth in our relationships, the strength to help those who need our help and the humility and openness to accept help from others. And in those moments that we fall short of our quest to be a VIP, let us pray to God to reconnect to the words of the Apostle Paul,
Yours in fellowship….Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor