Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Two commandments may be enough

Regular dormgrandpop readers (if any) will have heard me mention the “Speaking of Faith” public radio program and podcasts. I listen to one or more podcasts each morning while I am folding laundry, preparing breakfast and performing other mundane functions that are part of daily living.

Yesterday morning’s podcast was “The personal faith of Jimmy Carter.” According to most appraisals, Jimmy Carter was not one of America’s most successful Presidents, but, in more than twenty years since leaving the While House, he may have become our most successful ex-President.

President Carter’s administration marked the zenith of my modest ‘political’ role in Washington. He cared about issues of sustainability long before they were popular. My global modeling friends and I were called upon to advise the administration, including President Carter’s senior staff. President Carter commissioned the “Global 2000 Report to the President," directed by my Friend Gerry Barney. I was hired as a consultant to prepare follow up recommendations that might shape the President’s second term. I was even a finalist for a senior position on President Carter’s staff, “Director of White House Information Systems.” Fortuitously, in retrospect, I was not offered the job.

President Reagan’s election in 1980 ended that era in my life. In the ensuing five years, I collaborated on three books of which I am particularly proud: “Making it Happen: A Positive Guide to the Future,” “Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global Modeling” and “Ending Hunger: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.”

It is hard to think about the Carter years without these personal reflections, but President Carter’s interview was not about politics. I it was, as the title implies, a rich probing into his personal faith. He was America’s first evangelical Christian President. He taught sunday school regularly throughout his term and continues to do so. He and his wife end each day, whether together or apart, by reading the same Bible passage and discussing it.

The remarkable technology of Podcasting, along with my iPod, will allow me to give President Carter’s interview the attention it deserves, by listening to it more than once. But only one listening was needed to come away with the former President’s most memorable observation. He heard it, President Carter said, from a missionary priest in a poor Latin American community, “Father Cruz.” (I had not known, before yesterday morning, that “Cruz” means “Cross” in Spanish.) Father Cruz told him the essence of Christianity could be reduced to only two commandments:

“Love God and love the person who is standing right in front of you.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father Cruz really only echoes the greatest commandment:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

10:40 AM  

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