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For an inclusive covenant

January 13, 2011

The New Year?  Suddenly, no sooner than it began, 2011 seems very old.  The attempted political assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and multiple murders in Arizona immeasurably darken our personal moods and our national mood.  Yet if any good can come from this evil, President Obama surely pointed the way with his magisterial address for the memorial event in Tucson on January 12.  He asked us to memorialize nine year old Christina-Taylor Green, killed by the shooter, by committing to be a better, a more civil, people.  Amen!

A few years ago the concept of “civil religion” in America was much discussed.  Some said there is no such thing, or shouldn’t be, if there is.  But what we heard from Mr. Obama were the healing words of a true national leader. James Luther Adams would have called his words both priestly and prophetic. They were strong, direct, potent words, words addressed to our hearts as well as to our minds, words transcending and subduing our suspicion, anger, fear—the emotions that grievously wound the national community.  Healing words are essential if hope is to be renewed—a strong example of the links between “religious thought and social development” here to be explored.

Some years ago I wrote the following meditation, “We Are a People”:

We are a people called into community.  We are here to announce the goodness and grace of the common life we have known.

We bring many gifts.  We come to ready our hearts for thanksgiving, and to sustain one another in times of pain and trouble.

We are stronger than we know.  We put petty complaints behind us, for our task is too great for small-mindedness.

We hate violence.  We disavow vengeful motives in our personal lives, and in the public life.

We will not be divided against ourselves.  We are of many minds, yet single-minded, a people who believe that mercy and justice shall yet prevail.

We appeal to reason and good will.  We announce the inclusive covenant which joins people of faith in every age and every land.

We answer to the Spirit of life.    Amen.

From For Love’s Sake Alone: Meditations and Prayers, by George Kimmich Beach

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 3:35 am

    Great to see you have started this discussion. Keep writing! Looking forward to being your neighbor.

  2. Roger Butts permalink
    January 21, 2011 9:27 pm

    I’ve used your work from For Love’s Sake Alone for many years now and I especially treasure this reflection on community. Thanks for launching this blog. I look forward to the JLA workshop. Roger Butts, Colorado Springs (

  3. David Dawson permalink
    January 25, 2011 6:45 am

    I echo what Roger said. I have not used this reflection on community for some time now but it resonates powerfully for me especially in this day and time. I appreciate the e-mail letting me know about this blog and will follow it in the weeks ahead.

    I retired from the Commonwealth of Virginia this past summer where I had been working in mental health services for children and adolescents. My wife and I have moved to Washington DC (from Charlottesville, Virginia) for the time being where I have had an opportunity to work with street people many of whom have been substance abusers. The experience is continuing to open my eyes and hopefully my heart to the need for true community.

    Thanks Kim for keeping the flame of JLA alive.

    Dave Dawson

  4. Jack Keever permalink
    January 26, 2011 5:47 pm

    Kim; It’s quite a journey you are still on from our high school days. Best Wishes, Jack Keever

  5. Linda McHugh permalink
    January 26, 2011 6:02 pm

    Kim, I’m delighted you’ve decided to blog. I’ll share this with a few other liberal theology folks I know and we’ll see what happens. Congrats.

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