Introducing Brother Phillips: You can lean on me

Anthony A. PhillipsSome sociologists have suggested that humans are by nature relational beings and are in constant need of each others services. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once noted, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” In many ways, my faith calls me to act benevolently towards others, and to reject the individual for the greater good of community. Hence, my faith teaches me that love advances the larger goals of altruism. In short, my faith calls me to act as Brother Phillips.

 In my salutations, I often sign off as Brother Phillips, not because I wish to carry a sense of importance, authority, and nor for some sort of narcissistic self seeking pleasure; however, I do so to confirm with others that I wish to be of service to their interests, be a confidant in their time of need and to convey that I am sincerely concerned about their well being. Thus, here at Bates and beyond, I will seek to affirm in all my actions that I am truly both my brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I realize that in my attempt to bestow this sense of “brotherly affection” onto humankind, I will not be perfect because humankind is not infallible.

 With this in mind, I will never end my advocacy for human eternal peace, love, justice, serenity and mutuality. With each others support we can foster a beloved community. As philosopher and Princeton University professor Kwame Anthony Appiah puts it, “We have to act as if freedom is possible even though we can’t provide any theoretical justification for it.” If we position ourselves in our world as loving brothers and sisters, we will not be far from reaching this end. Thus, as we undergo the struggle for complete human liberation from internal affliction, I offer you my shoulder to lean on and I can only hope that you will extend your shoulder for me to lean on. I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I am Brother Phillips.

 Lean on Me

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don’t let show

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Bill Withers, legendary R&B singer and song writer 

Yours in the struggle,

 Brother Phillips

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