Peter J. Jessen

"Goals Per Action" Success Consultant · · 9931 SW 61st Ave., Portland, OR 97219 · Tel: 503.977.3240 · Fax: 503.977.3239

ApPlication of Peter Berger

Key Principles of Peter L. Berger: Vis a Vis Sociology of and the Sociology of Knowledge as they Relate to Social Roles, Social Stratification, Social Inequality, and Justice, Peter J. Jessen, Reader, 1993

Peace: Berger's "The Political Management of Pluralism" — "Golden Rule" Godly, as if "God Didn't Exist"

Peter Jessen, 4-1-16, West Side Singles Ministry, 7-9 pm, Topic asked to speak on: Peace/Galatians 5:22 & Isaiah 43:1-7)

PEACE:  in Five Parts:

“The political management of pluralism,” Berger, Altars…, pp79-93) 

  1. Getting to know each other
  2. Galatians 5:22
  3. Isaiah 43:1-7
  4. Managing plural realities:”  “formulas” from Peter Berger,  “The Many Altars of Modernity,” 2014, pp. 79-83
  5. Additional resources continuing the dialogue and search for personal (inner) and world (external) peace.


  • Peace!
  • Fear not!
  • The fruits of the spirit can lead to Peace and No Fears / management of fears, and are the keys to personal inner peace with self, with others and in establishing world peace interactively between institutions and between nations.
  • “Jesus devoted nearly every waking moment to helping us rid our lives of fear,” Peter W. Marty.

1. Getting to know each other
I am a consultant and college/university teacher who applies sociological understanding and interpretations to management consulting, job hunting / motivation, leadership, sports leagues and revenue, stadiums/local $$development.  Masters and doctoral work in sociology (Sociology of knowledge, Sociology of religion, Social roles, Social Change, Social Movements).  More background/bio points at
2 years NFL; 2 yrs UFL; NYC (Consultant to Companies, individuals); DC: Consultant to companies, think tanks, and government:  White House, Senate, House of Reps, Pentagon, agencies.
Published 3 books, many articles, edit web site,  edit Black activist’s weekly column for a weekly Black newspaper.
YOU:  in one sentence:   What are your fears? What keeps you from being at peace? What are your main fruits?

PEOPLES’  FEARS:  Surveys show a tie at #1:  snakes and public speaking
Others:  flying, heights, death and dying, cancer, debilitating disease, growing old, loneliness, failure, homeland security.  Fears and phobias;  anxiety and worry,  real and imaginary.  Galatians shows how to achieve “fear not.”

Who coined “politically correct” and what was the cost?  Mao Zedong, 50 million people.  Not a formula of peace
See Starbucks’ PC list (handouts): (1) choose his unity; (2) choose his PC column not un-PC column (WSJ, 3-14-16, p A9&10)

PEACE sought in 2 kinds of “conservative” approaches: 
(1) mine or yours -- whoever gets their way over the other; (2) ours, arrived collaboratively through reciprocal dialectics
1.  Berger’s “historically specific conservative”  (past utopias to be resurrected;  future utopias to be created), both false.
Whether left or right:  achieve politically correct society and freeze it in place: frozen freedom for all, no more change. i.e. “The End of history:  ” George Hegel & Karl Marx, 19th century, Daniel Bell and Francis Fukyama, 20th century.
2.  Berger’s “historically non-specific conservative” (“make haste slowly” and adapt to reciprocal interactive reactions)
Freedom of self, liberty of universals (which is why the “specifics” of left & right don’t like the U.S. constitution)

1st statement of fear in Bible:  Adam to God when he and Eve went into hiding;  “I heard you and I was afraid.”
“Fear not”:The most common command in the Bible, 366 times  (either as “fear not” or “don’t be afraid).
Sermon on the Mount:  Maritain:  it shows how to deal with suffering and be consoled in the midst of suffering so as to get to the fruit of  “peace, love, joy,” making the effort “to go beyond the human condition in order to achieve real fruition” (be a grown up, support families, be an “Imitation of Christ”).  Consider:  happiness comes from doing one’s duty.

Hand out the 3 p. handout with Starbucks statement and PC list.

Galatians:  absolute contemporary relevance due to the unchanging nature of man:  God given free will, choice
The law (compliance to rules, style or practices) can’t save man.  Only God’s free grace in Jesus Christ can.  Hence Martin Luther’s:  no kings, no popes, no councils.  One’s own self’s conscience with God.
Thucydides:    5th century B.C.:   “It will be enough for me ... if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future.”

This is the challenge of the “specifics,” left and right:  how to deal with the fact that nothing is new and that positive change comes from not repeating negatives, which happens when we don’t realize we are making mistakes others have made.  Key question:  how to avoid PC totalitarian impulses from:   “this” is the “only” way and “everyone must” follow?

Galatians and Paul’s letters reflects the truth of the Church as the Body of Christ and its function, activity, and destiny, through Faith given by Grace.  Not legalism or literalism but God’s free grace in Jesus Christ.  Legalism and laws can’t save man from sin. Work’s righteousness (usually done in far away lands or cities) follows rigid laws, is often blind to unintended consequences (e.g., “good policy” too often leaves people poor & hungry and lacking in peace & joy. This attitude often derails churches today & renders them more and more irrelevant the more they forget the unity of all.

Human nature being what it is, we are needful of God’s grace.  From Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural:  READ ALTOGETHER:  South and North “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.  Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword,” as God’s children on each side pray to God for Him to kill His children on the other side.

2.  Galatians 5:22:  fruit of the spirit.  Recall John 15:8:  “that you bear much fruit.”

Galatians 5:  The nature of Christian freedom.

Galatians 5:14:  For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment:  “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:15:  “If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

 Galatians 5:19-21:  Fruit of Flesh (as opposed to the Spirit) is not a formula of peace, but rather destroys peace. Paul enumerates vices that lead to falls from grace and, thus, falls from God:  “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing….  I am warning you, as I warned you before:  those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:22:  Fruit of the Spirit enables peace, the direction to go for personal and world peace:  fruit as in “mature” in growth:  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and self-control.  …  live by the Spirit…be guided by the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” 
6:2:  “…bear one another’s burdens.”
Being “led by the Spirit” (v. 18) in Christian freedom yields the “fruit of the Spirit” (v. 22)

Galatians was considered by Protestant reformers as the “Magna Carta of Christian Freedom,” a formal declaration by the apostle Paul of liberty in Jesus Christ.  “Freedom” is voted on (temporal); freedom still allows majorities to dispose of, avoid, or place obstacles before minorities.  But “liberty” is universal, given by God and therefore cannot be taken away, which was the basis for writing the constitution the way it was written.  “Human nature being what it is,” man tends to seek self-justification through works of the law and “following” the law.  That is much easier than following the gospel.    Galatians is absolutely relevant to our day and points out the danger that exists due to the unchangeability of man’s nature.

Hence Galatians is held to be one of Paul’s greatest and most important letters.  Also called “a short Romans.” 
As noted, in the Reformation era it became “the Magna Carta of spiritual emancipation.” 

Merrill Tenney has stated, “Few books have had a more profound influence on the history of mankind than has this small, six chapter tract.”  It became “the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation,” because “it’s teaching of salvation by grace alone became the dominant theme of the preaching of the Reformers.”  Key question:  how to live by faith?  Galatians is the guide for how to live:  a release from the bondage of religious externalism (Galatians 3:11:  Now it is evident that “no one is justified before God by the law,” for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”).

3.  Read Isaiah 43:1-7:  to comfort God’s people:  God will not abandon us, but is here to redeem us.
Columbus believed himself commissioned by God to make his voyage, based on Isaiah 42:1-7.

  • Through the many dangers, toils and snares through which we have already come. 
  • His grace has brought us safe thus far.  And his grace will lead us home.
  • Let these salvation promises be our comfort:  READ TOGETHER AS DIRECTED:
  • FEAR NOT (for PEACE), because I have redeemed you.  (v1)
  • Future redemption in the perfect past tense, pre-paid  (called the “prophetic perfect”).
  • Paid big price:  God’s son Jesus; before:  redeemed after flood; redeemed from slavery in Egypt
  • “Redeemed” occurs 13 times in chaps 40-66
  • Martin Luther re Creed:  1st article: “I believe God has created me,” 
  • Martin Luther re Creed:  2nd article: I believe God has “redeemed me, a lost & condemned human being.”
  • It is not if but when and as we pass through the flood waters,  v2
  • We pass through many struggles, some unimaginable, from A to Z, from water to fire, every natural and spiritual disaster possible,   We  should let nothing stop our journeys.:  “For I will be with you.”  We should let nothing stop us from reaching our journey’s end.  “Fear not, I am with you.”


  • FEAR NOT (for PEACE), because I have called you by name.  (v1)
  • Calling us out of spiritual exile and on to a journey home.  [PEACE]
  • No matter how long or lonely our struggle, we have not been abandoned in our misery.
  • He has fully paid for all our sins.  And He will keep his promise to bring us safely home.


  • FEAR NOT (to get PEACE), because I am with you always.   (v1)
  • Long and dangerous journey.  A journey with many potholes and detours and side tracks that slow our progress and threaten to stop us in our tracks
  • With many potholes and detours and side tracks that slow our progress and threaten to stop us in our tracks
  • John Bunyan has written the classic story of our dangerous journey home, Pilgrim's Progress, the main character, Christian, leaves the City of Destruction in search of the Celestial City … gets off detour, must climb the hill of difficulty, sweating, struggling, and fighting the temptation to turn back from his dangerous journey.

SHEDDING FEAR IS A FRUIT:  Through many dangers, toils, snares, i.e., suffering, His grace brings us through. His grace will lead us home.  These are salvation promises for our personal comfort: 

  1. FEAR NOT:  PEACE TO YOU:  for I have redeemed you.
  2. FEAR NOT:  PEACE TO YOU:  for I have called you by name.
  3. FEAR NOT:  PEACE TO YOU:  for I am with you always.  Amen

4.  Apply Galatians & Isaiah to the concept of pluralism, from Peter Berger’s 2014 book, The Many Altars of Modernity.
Berger’s “pluralism” refers to “a simple description of social facts” of the “plurality” of reality, rather than ideological. 

  • Its not “religion vs. secular” but BOTH religion AND secular.  Sect = denominations, ideologies.  Secular = science, technology, institutional/bureaucratic management/“best practices” (e.g., Hindu pilot flies as secular, not Hindu)
  • Berger discusses “formulas of peace” for the purpose of enabling “the political management of pluralism” pp79-93)  “cognitive bargaining” enabling “co-existence of different religions in the same society” (not to mention different ideologies).  Let’s extend it; use  different nouns other than “religions”, e.g. “race” “political parties” “ethnic,” “gender”
  • Very religious “17th century Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius proposed new discipline of international law should be developed “as if God were not given,”  as if he “did not exist.”  This influenced the enlightenment, USA, French, and UN formulas.  Berger:  “it can also be applied beyond the institution of law to the state…the market economy…any bureaucracy.”  This “management of pluralism,” can enable avoiding “relativism’s…moral nihilism” and “fundamentalism’s fanaticism” in order to avoid religious wars, ideological conflicts, and, thus, achieve peace.
  • Again, we live in BOTH a religious age AND a secular age:  pluralism as plurality.  Berger outlines Formulas of Peace to avoid war by “The Management of Pluralism.” Western (e.g. territorial of the Holy Roman Empire; 1555 Diet of Augsburg / 1648 Peace of Westphalia (“he who rules decides the religion”); USA Constitution of religious liberty and France’s separation of church and state).  Non-Western (e.g. indifference of ancient Rome; Millet of the Bible & the Ottoman Turks, India’s absorption, Islam’s subordination), to be integrated into my 18 Conflict Resolution Models
  • Modern world:  pluralism: a common feature, with diverse denominations & religious traditions occupying same space.
  • Modern world: pluralism: of mind & practice involving BOTH the religious AND the secular, thus:  “differentiation” between secular & religious institutions. AND:  “Basic insight of sociology of knowledge:  If [institutions are] to function in society, every institution must have a correlate in consciousness .... differentiation must also be manifested in the consciousness of individuals” (again, the Hindu pilot’s “multiple realities” and multiple “relevance structures”).  Key question for peace:  why, as empirically socialism doesn’t work, it is still pursued?
  •  “The American constitution gets it essentially right: a religiously neutral state with some form of freedom of religion is the most efficient way of handling the question of religious freedom.”  [and ideologies]
  • Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis is correct only with Islam vs the world, with Islam yet to join the rest in seeking formulas of peace so religious & secularisms can coexist peaceably in modernization & globalization.

5.  Additional resources, applying sociologyBefore each link below, type  (Goals Per Action)

From Star Bucks web site:
image from Star Bucks web site

NEXT:  From the Starbucks full page ad in the Wall Street Journal, the above plus these 3:

                    DESPAIR   POSSIBILITY            
                    DECLINE   RENEWAL                 
                              EGO   HUMILITY                 



Sources:  Starbucks web page and WSJ, 3-14-16, pp. A9 and A10


image from Star Bucks web site