Pastoral Letter Part II on King’s Call for Unconditional Love

Dear neighbors,

I wrote last week about the sign in front of our church that quotes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
Unconditional love
for all, now an
absolute necessity
for our survival.

You can read what I wrote last week by clicking here.

King insisted that “unconditional love” meant not a sentimental feeling but a practical ethic for governments and corporations to be held to as much as individuals, and a policy to guide international relations as much as interpersonal ones.

King was calling for an evolution of cultural consciousness that would lead to a revolution of cultural values.  He saw that this is an absolute necessity if humanity is to survive.  We know now that it must happen in our generation, in this decade.

It is possible.  Rapid cultural evolution has happened many times in history.  If you look at the founding of most major religions you will find that a community formed with a new consciousness that was more universally loving, compassionate and caring.  Over time they may have lost their way from their pure ideal–two steps forward, one step back–but human civilization has evolved at those moments into a more just, peaceful and loving form.

You can read a description of that happening in Christian history in the Bible, and prepare to be shocked at what the pure teachings of Christ looked like when lived by his followers (Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-35).

The Enlightenment is another more global example, from the late 1600s to the early 1800s.

Paul Hawken has documented that a similar evolution is currently underway. 

You can read his book, “Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice and Beauty to the World”  or you can hear him summarize it at (See below.) Hawken estimated in 2007 that there were two million organizations working on what Dr. King called “racism, materialism and militarism” or as our congregation’s vision statement puts it, “peace, justice and the care of God’s creation.”

If King is right that unconditional love for all is now an absolute necessity for our survival, then we can be grateful for every little thing all these groups do locally or globally to evolve consciousness and revolutionize the values of human culture.

We also can be extremely grateful that world leaders have come together on two practical documents that translate “unconditional love” into the values and principles on which our survival now depends.

The documents are the “Global Ethic” of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the “Earth Charter.”  Both have been endorsed by thousands of leaders and institutions around the world. Here is a summary of their main points and you can read the details by following the links:

The Global Ethic
1. Respect for life
2. Economic justice
3. Truth and compassion
4. Women’s rights
5. Care for the Earth

The Earth Charter
1. Respect and care for the community of life
2. Ecological integrity
3. Social and economic justice
4. Democracy, nonviolence and peace

You can read a beautiful translation of what these principles look like in everyday life written by our neighbor, Gus Speth, and published recently in the Valley News at

Thanks to Dr. King, and Strafford’s William Sloane Coffin, Gus Speth and Vanessa Rule, and countless other visionary leaders in all fields, we have everything we need right now to create a sustainable global civilization based on unconditional love, universal compassion and the Golden Rule.  We have the guidelines, technologies and rising consciousness that our evolution requires, and we have the incentive of absolute necessity and the voices of our children begging us to act for their survival.

Everything we do to make Strafford a more loving and neighborly place, everything we do to increase resilience, sustainability and harmony with all life here, is contributing to creating this new world, as well as making our lives better.

So again, thank you for all you are doing.  Please continue to speak out and live in ways that speed the needed change.  Please do not despair at the counter-forces at work in the world.  As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King sang with absolute conviction, “We shall overcome.”

Pastor Tom Kinder

One Comment on “Pastoral Letter Part II on King’s Call for Unconditional Love

  1. Pingback: Pastoral Letter on King’s Call for Unconditional Love | United Church of Strafford, Vermont

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