(35:40) Reading of Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr and Helmut Richard Niebuhr were brothers who are considered to be two of the foremost theologians of the 20th century. "Atheists for Niebuhr" was a small group of secular academics—including the historian Arthur Schlesinger—attracted to Reinhold Niebuhr's political ideas and moral outlook that pervaded his speech and writings.
The Millennium Evenings at the White House were a series of lectures and cultural presentations hosted by President Clinton and the First Lady in which scholars and visionaries spoke about life in the second millennium. As part of the fifth evening, Marty spoke on the topic of religion and history, citing a passage from the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr's work, The Irony of American History:
In my closing word, a quotation from Reinhold Niebuhr—a Christian, but one who spoke also to and for others, who put the meaning and the search into this context. He said, “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true, or beautiful, or good, makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”
Such belief, for many of us, demonstrates reasoning that goes beyond our own end, as well as creative reasoning about the end. Such faith can help citizens find meaning for the millennium, even if we cannot claim to have found the determinative and decisive meaning of the millennium.
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders
"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous