XXXXXXXX XXXXXX points out: > It was the extreme of a relationship of "the Lord is MY shepherd", with > the emphasis on MY. The notion of Israel as community that was community > with communal aspects of salvation was quite foreign. Southern Baptists brought me into a rich understanding of the "Lord Jesus Christ" as "my personal savior." In the Episcopal Church I have come to understand Jesus as the savior of absolutely everybody. Even the Southern Baptist had a universal scope in the hymns they taught me. By six I was singing not only "Jesus loves ME" but also "Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world, red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." Yet in apartheid Alabama in 1942, the only blacks allowed in our church were the janitors and the cooks and delivery persons. We funded a missionary to Nigeria, but the graduates of his school could not matriculate in any Southern Baptist university or college even by the mid-1950s when the missionary's daughter and I were classmates at Baylor. Recently Kim Byham took me to an excellent presentation sponsored by the alumni association of his law school at NYU: God and Government in the Age of Fundamentalism Featuring NYU President John Sexton and Noah Feldman, NYU Professor of Law Sexton and Feldman dazzled us with their brilliance and their commitment to find a way for those in the United States to live together as richly diverse, respecting our differences and not annihilating each other over them. Sexton reported that a steady stream of visitors come to him trying to learn how New York City itself has succeeded in being so diverse. Noah Feldman recently served as an adviser to those drafting the new constitution of Iraq. He pointed out that it is far easier to write a good constitution than it is for the constitution to have efficacy. You can guarantee rights on paper, but those rights won't happen unless people on all sides of the divide are willing to live by them. You can sing Jesus loves ALL the little children, but it won't mean much if your own behavior adds the meaning, 'so I have to love just my own children.' Lest we feel smug about the status our own U.S. Constitution, Feldman reminded the alumni of its genesis. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the "Declaration of Independence," was already U.S. Ambassador to France by the time of constitutional convention, and he was appalled when it arrived in the mails to see that the constitution left out the protections of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Jefferson appealed to his friend James Madison, who replied that likely they could get those restored as amendments, but warned that no "Bill of Rights" will be worth much unless all the people are committed to live within the constraints they impose. Note how long it it is taking us to live into the promises of our own Bill of Rights, the professor concluded. How hard many are finding it to honor their solemn vows to uphold the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church. Louie Newark deputation
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