Several years ago while I was in Los Angeles, I heard a lecture by a spiritual leader and mystic named Ishmael Tetteh. The speaker was from Accra, Ghana. Several months earlier, I had visited Accra and noticed how many of the youth were listening to American music, speaking American slang and dressing like typical American teenagers. It reminded me how much influence America has on a large portion of the world. I probably should not have been surprised, but I was struck by how significant the culture of the United States influenced that part of the world; or at least that particular group.
Brother Tetteh gave his perspective on America and its role in our world. It was interesting for me to listen to an outsider’s perspective of the United States. He saw things from a viewpoint that I had not thought about. Tettah said, “…never before in the history of humankind have we had a large nation like the United States that has or can have so much influence on the world.” One of the points he made is this: What makes America distinct from other nations is that it’s a large multicultural country. In his opinion, this has never happened on such a scale before and America is a Divine Idea at work in a unique way.
Tetteh noted that throughout history there have been countries and groups of people with significant influence on the world – Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, Great Britain – but compared to the United States they were much smaller nations. From his mystical perspective, despite the unusual stands the country seems to be taking, America still influences the direction of the world. It has tremendous power in that sense. And to quote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility.” (To give credit where credit is due, the French philosopher Voltaire wrote those words many years before Uncle Ben shared them on the big screen).
Perhaps, as Brother Tetteh noted, this multicultural America is here to cast its influence on the world to demonstrate how the whole spirit of God is expressing a divine idea. That idea is our shared divinity within our diversity. Spirit has brought America’s ancestors from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and from all around the world to demonstrate who we really are.
During his speech, Brother Tetteh asked, “Can you not see the great land America is?” As an outsider, he sees us being caught up in the negative past, the disagreements between groups, and the “us vs them” mentality. As a result, each group relives their particular painful history. However, while history should not be overlooked, Brother Tetteh reminded us that, when we focus only on the past, we are not present to enjoy the wonderment and the magnificence happening now.
Despite appearances, something good is about to happen to, through, and as America. It is a new vision, a new world. A world of good filled with infinite possibilities. Something is waiting to be born in us. It is a grand mission. However, we must choose to accept it. When we do, it will be something that will inspire the entire world.
Peace and Blessings,