February 27, 2012
Dear Marketplace Friend,
Equality is a magnanimous objective; no one would risk being named as the one who wants to deny equality among people, in American culture or politics. In fact, no famous person would expect to retain their status unless they signed the petition calling for equality… right?
Last night, at the Oscars, there was an expected wall of separation in place. The Red Carpet was reserved for the crowd arriving with tickets – dropped at one end of the Red Carpet by black limos – and sought by Ryan Seacrest for inane comments on their way in the door. Behind the Rope Line were the press and the proletariat; the Great Unwashed watched it from their living rooms, live, on ABC. Where was the equality? The Elite gathered under the care of Billy Crystal: “So, tonight, enjoy yourselves because nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues.” A comedian, making serious sense…
Oh, to be rich and powerful. It is the undercurrent of ambition unchecked: embrace equality… until you have the chance to become one of the dreaded – but, envied – 1%, the foam on the latte of life. What is this “equality” business about, anyway?
As framed by one of our leaders: “ It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, education, or wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society – the farmers, mechanics, and laborers – who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.” (Andrew Jackson, America’s 7th President and Founder of the Democratic Party).
Equal Opportunity? Or, Equal Consequences? That’s where the friction produces the heat. The rest of 2012 will be played-out as America decides who will sit behind the wheel for the next four years of the trip: will the next president steer toward equal opportunities for all, or equal consequences for all? What will equality mean in America, when we convene in January 2013 for the Inauguration?
God has an observation, from above the Red Carpet and the Rope Line: “ The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.” (James 1:9-11)
I've always wanted to be rich and powerful; it took me some years to realize that was available to us, no matter what the morning headlines might be.
Rich? “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33) Gates and Buffett can’t buy what you and I already have in knowing God, and having His Word.
Powerful? “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:16-17) There’s no power shortage in your life – or, mine – if He is alive in us.
As one Rich and Powerful member of the family of God to another… how can we lose, today?