Josiah Royce first used the term “The Beloved Community” to describe a condition of reconciliation. Royce also founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation, of which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a member. King popularized the term. The Beloved Community was not meant to be a vision of a heaven in the clouds, but a practical possibility humanity could create, on earth, as a spiritual goal. In Beloved Community, love and justice rule, people of all identities are equal and included, and conflict is solved by nonviolent means of reconciliation.
If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching privilege to difference.
Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.
We cannot sit around and talk about the beloved community.
We are living in an historic moment. We are each called to take part in a great transformation. Our survival as a species is threatened by global warming, economic meltdown, and an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor. Yet these threats offer an opportunity to awaken as an interconnected and beloved community.
You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.
We have come a long way in America because of Martin Luther King, Jr. He led a disciplined, nonviolent revolution under the rule of law, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go before all of our citizens embrace the idea of a truly interracial democracy, what I like to call the Beloved Community, a nation at peace with itself.
Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
Our goal is to create a beloved community. and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method … is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community…. Yes , love — which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one’s enemies — is the solution.
Resistance and nonviolence are not in themselves good. There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community.
The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of nonviolence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.
The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.
There is an elementary aspiration which undergirds the humane impulse in our history and our culture and binds us together as political activists. This is a simple, irreducible, indisputable aspiration. It is the ‘dream of justice’ for a beloved community, in which the level of terror in people’s lives is sharply reduced or maybe eliminated. It is the belief that extremes and excesses of inequality must be reduced so that each person is free to fully develop his or her full potential. This is why we take precious time out of our lives and give it to politics.
The larger your beloved community, the more you can accomplish in the world.