America's Mayflower Pilgrim roots reach back to 1455 in Germany when Johann Gutenberg introduced his world-changing invention.
Teenager Johann Gutenberg, a devout Christian, started imagining when he received a gift wrapped in paper - a small block of wood with a carved letter on it. When he opened the present, the sap stuck to the paper in a perfect outline of the letter. He began to think in reverse, could the wood be inked so words could be transferred onto paper? For years he experimented. Johann didn’t know it, but at the time, he was creating the internet of his day – modern printing. He wanted to make the Bible affordable so everyone could read it. Proclaiming God’s truth was Gutenberg’s goal.
Gutenberg had no idea Professor Martin Luther was to eventually follow him in 1517 with the same goal.
Luther was wrestling with faith. What he saw in the church didn’t line up with the Bible. ‘Works’ faith, such as elaborate ceremonies or giving money in order to be forgiven from sin, was wrong. One night on his straw mattress, he had a huge spiritual breakthrough; the just are saved by faith, salvation is a personal decision. A church or government could not make a person’s faith choice. His spiritual awakening - the Reformation - was on its way to the world. The Reformation’s first evangelists were Luther’s students. In class, they learned from Luther what the Bible said about salvation and then applied the faith decision to themselves. God sent the students back to their families and hometowns. In hand, they had Luther’s pamphlets printed on Gutenberg presses. All over Europe, Gutenberg presses began to spread Luther’s teachings and Gutenberg’s Bibles.
Who would have thought that a curious teenager and a cast-out college professor would create a communications industry and a revolution in the Spirit?
In 1620, only 100 years later, with personal responsibility to God, the Mayflower set sail for America. A spiritual, political, and social miracle was on its way to the new world. The mission was to freely worship God and be a light on the hill for all the world to see.
The aristocrats of other nations disdained and dismissed the common man. They did not think or want to believe that “commoners” could produce or guide sustainable nations; they couldn’t be smart enough. What elites missed was God’s perfect wisdom upon each person to be individually responsible to Him for his or her own thinking and conduct. Reading their Bibles, the Pilgrims had God’s perfect will and His common sense. To the king and the church leaders, the Pilgrims were misfits.
Persecuted in England and later in Holland, 102 souls came to America for religious freedom to worship God directly – precisely as they saw it in their Bibles. In blind faith, they rejected the comforts of home and civilization and headed to a harsh wilderness to live under the direct guidance of God. Delayed by the English government and cheated by sailors – not once but twice – at long last the Mayflower set sail; they had finally escaped. In a scant one hundred years, Luther’s revolution sparks blew from Germany to England to Holland, and then to America where a newly formed village, society and nation would catch afire.
The Christian Pilgrims of the Mayflower set seven foundation stones for democracy in America.
First, John Robinson, their pastor in England and Holland, advised them to vote in their governor even before stepping onto American soil. Six weeks at sail, with time to pray and decide, they elected John Carver. The Pilgrim’s government would be horizontal; that is, all citizens would share in the direction and obligations of the state as citizen-servant-leaders.
Second, the elected governor would be separate from church. No coercion would take place by the state or church over an individual's faith. Each person would be able to make their own spiritual decisions.
Third, elected leaders and judges were to submit their wills to God for His direction in their decisions. Citizens would be able to verify their elected leaders’ and judges’ uprightness simply by reading their Bibles. Both citizens and leaders would serve humbly under God as one.
Fourth, the Pilgrims held an extraordinary view of Christian society: freedom for everyone to reach for the highest calling they could achieve – for, with God, nothing is impossible. God Himself offered this freedom for His governed in order that no one could inhibit the free exercise of God’s perfect will for each individual. With God-created moral thought inspiring a society, its citizens could trust the Lord for their future direction both individually and collectively. God’s spiritual and natural law was in place to guide them.
Fifth, in a masterstroke of common sense, capitalism was born. William Bradford, the young newly elected governor, who was voted in when John Carver died the first winter, had to address starvation in the colony. Harvests, during the first two years, were insufficient to feed the colonists. Communal living – meaning that everyone would work and share equally, failed. Bradford observed that some people worked hard, while others did not. The hard workers were forced to share equally with the lazy who put in little effort. Bradford said, “‘Plato was wrong … communism does not work.” As an experiment, Bradford divided off land plots for each family. They could keep their entire harvest with no requirement to share. Immediately, everyone got busy tending their plots; never again was there lack. The weight of governmental control that had held the common man in economic bondage was finally removed; hard work and creative genius were turned loose.
Sixth, peace and unity were expected, even among others who thought differently. Confirmed by what he read in his Bible, Bradford believed that the Native American Wampanoags and the Christian Pilgrims were created by God as equals. Together they would fend off evil attacks and hostility by other enemies.
Seventh, the Pilgrims and Native Americans humbly gathered to celebrate and commemorate God’s grace, abundant harvests, and peace: Thanksgiving.
The Mayflower's Christian Pilgrims set in place God’s foundation for governing unique to all of history. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence launched the United States of America.
Think about 400 years ago; then think about life today.
The Mayflower's Francis Eaton, a carpenter, and his wife Sarah, are my grandparents 11 generations back. He survived that first winter but sadly, she died that first winter. Reading the history of the Mayflower, I’ve tried to put myself in their place; come join us.
Imagine sitting around a campfire at Plymouth Rock in the year 1620, and someone says, “You know brothers and sisters, in the year 2020, 330 million people will live in this nation we formed, and 35 million of them will be descendants of ours.” You can hear the laughing. It’s a crazy thought isn’t it?
Yet, it happened.
Today we are called by God to be pilgrims again. This time, it's to correct the financial course of America. In America 2020, money is God. Money's drunken power is ruling America. We have an elitist financial dictatorship controlling our elected leaders and running our nation into impossible debt. Ignoring our children’s and grandchildren's generations, they are destroying the future of America.
Where shall we 2020 Pilgrims sail to escape the money god?
Nowhere; we are to stay here and create a money revolution... right here in our communities. We are to re-engineer finance and get money back into the citizen’s hands to spur home-grown, creative investment. With money here at home, and not in Washington, New York, or China, with God’s guidance, we will rebuild our democracy upon the foundation stones set by the Pilgrims in 1620. Rebuilding will not be done in a day. With our ingenuity, brains, hard work, God, and democracy in money, the citizens of 2420 will look back to us and give thanks to God that He returned money to the citizens’ hands.
We 2020 Pilgrims, we are the ones who will start the revolution and we will create democracy in money. God says, “Despise not small beginnings.”
I am absolutely convinced we common citizens can be the spark upon which a new world is built.