Thirty-eight years ago last week, on April 30, 1973, a group of people gathered at the site of a restored Shaker village near Harrodsburg, Ky. It was there that the Shakertown Pledge was written.
The Shakertown Pledge called for group action by Christians to rectify the problem of the unequal distribution of global wealth and resources.
The Shakers, as most of you may know, were members of a religious sect that was similar to the Quakers in some ways; the group was most active between 1750 and 1850.
The Shakertown Pledge itself was a response to the unequal distribution of global wealth and resources, and called for group action by Christians to rectify the problem.
Here is the Shakertown Pledge in its entirety:
Recognizing that Earth and the fullness thereof is a gift from our gracious God, and that we are called to cherish, nurture and provide loving stewardship for Earth's resources, and recognizing that life itself is a gift, and a call to responsibility, joy and celebration, I make the following declarations:
1. I declare myself a world citizen.
2. I commit myself to lead an ecologically sound life.
3. I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world's poor.
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4. I commit myself to join with others in the reshaping of institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which all people have full access to the needed resources for their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.
5. I commit myself to occupational accountability, and so doing I will seek to avoid the creation of products which cause harm to others.
6. I affirm the gift of my body and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical well-being.
7. I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others and to attempt to relate honestly, morally and lovingly to those around me.
8. I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation and study.
9. I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith.
I encourage everyone to consider carefully the content of the Shakertown Pledge. Further, I invite you to not just think about it but to go on and make the pledge.
I first became aware of the pledge when I read Adam Daniel Finnerty's book, "No More Plastic Jesus: Global Justice and Christian Lifestyle in the Late 1970s," making the pledge then and renewing it a few days ago.
Making the Shakertown Pledge now may not have a great influence upon the world in the years ahead, but it will have some impact.
And it will also make a difference, a positive difference, in the lives of all who make, and live up to, the commitments contained in it.
Leroy Seat was a missionary to Japan from 1966-2004 and is both professor emeritus of Seinan Gakuin University and pastor emeritus of Fukuoka International Church. This column appeared previously on his blog.