Life takes pride in not appearing uncomplicated. If it relied on simplicity, it probably would not succeed in moving us to do all those things that we are not easily moved to do.
“The Way Things Are…”
That’s how culture perpetuates injustice and indignity. Because that’s just the way things are around here.
But the status quo isn’t permanent. The world doesn’t stay the way it was. It changes.
And it’s been changing faster than ever.
It doesn’t change because the status quo sub-committee had a meeting and decided to change it.
It changes when someone decides that the way things are around here needs to change, and simply and bravely begins to do something differently.
And then someone else follows along.
I fear that the elevation of Dr. King to the pantheon of great Americans who have national birthday celebrations has come at a subtle cost. These days almost no public official would dare speak ill of Dr. King. However I worry that this universal acclaim has deadened the radicalism of Dr. King’s message. And by radicalism, I mean that what he espoused was far outside what was then the mainstream. It still is.
We must remember that he was a deeply contentious person at the time of his death. Dr. King would not, could not, suppress the moral clarity with which he saw the world. His messages about racial prejudice and social justice were not welcome in most corridors of power. He was a danger to the status quo and many who benefited from it. He not only preached powerfully about the necessity for racial healing and integration. He also issued stirring rhetoric from his pulpit on the need for economic fairness across racial lines. And he was a fierce critic of the Vietnam War.
So today, please don’t revere Dr. King the American saint. Please engage with Dr. King as the unique vessel for a message America was long overdue to hear.
Our Turn Now
Those words should ring like clarion calls to all of us today. Our task is not merely to celebrate the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr., but to commit ourselves to their realization. And that means much more than just tweeting a quote, or making an instagram post. It means developing what Dr. King described as “tough minds and tender hearts.” It means committing to routing out not only systems of injustice in the world, but also the hatred in our own hearts. Dr. King said that a basic tenet of non-violent philosophy is that “self-purification must precede political action.” In his words, we need both “a quantitative change in our circumstances and a qualitative shift in our souls.”
Dr. King was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., remember, a Baptist preacher whose political vision was rooted in his understanding of the gospel of Christ. “It is time,” he said, “to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of human civilization.” That love – that new love – was a social love, a love that would heal not only personal but also political and social relationships as well. He found inspiration for that possibility in the work of Mahatma Gandhi, traveling to India to study the principles of non-violence and bringing them back for application to the struggle for Civil Rights in the United States in the 1960’s.
So many of the struggles to which Dr. King dedicated his life, and for which he ultimately died, are struggles that are with us still. Surely he could be talking about America today with comments such as this: “If they give it to poor people, they call it a handout; if they give it to rich people, they call it a subsidy.” Or, “If it happens to rich people, they call it a Depression; if it happens to poor people, they call it a social problem.” Or how about this? In describing America in 1967, Dr. King described the “three evils” of racism, consumerism/poverty, and militarism/war. As those not the main challenges that are with us now? He called for a “radical revolution of values” then, just as we need to call for one now.
The struggle is in our hands. The dream is in our hands. The hope is in our hands.
MLK Day 2022. It’s our turn now.
‘…the ultimate goal (was) the establishment of the beloved community.” Such a notion was not a religious platitude; it was a political strategy.
For a full look at Dr. King’s writings and speeches, I highly recommend A Testament of Hope.’ -Marianne
The longer I live, the more urgent it seems to me to endure and transcribe the whole dictation of existence up to its end, for it might just be the case that only the very last sentence contains that small and possibly inconspicuous word through which everything we had struggled to learn and everything we had failed to understand will be transformed suddenly into magnificent sense.
‘Earth, isn’t this what you want: an invisible arising in us … what is your urgent command, if not transformation?’ -Rilke, Ninth Duino Elegy
For centuries we have been content to patch up holes temporarily (making ourselves feel benevolent) while in fact maintaining the institutional structures that created the holes to begin with (disempowering those on the margins). Now it has caught up with us. —Fr Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
The cosmic common good provides a larger moral perspective, but it also exhorts us to “sink our roots deeper” into our native place and to work for the good of our place on Earth. —Daniel Scheid, theologian
“The bipartisan measure to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, ports and broadband connections won passage after liberals allowed the vote. The package, crafted by Democrats and Republicans, fulfills a major campaign promise for President Biden. It cleared the Senate on a bipartisan basis in August.”
The infrastructure plan costs $1.2 trillion over eight years, with $550 billion in new spending:
- $110 billion for roads, bridges and other infrastructure fix-ups. Of that, $40 billion is new funding for bridge repair, replacement and rehab.
- $73 billion for electric grid and power structures.
- $66 billion for rail.
- $65 billion for broadband.
- $55 billion for water infrastructure.
- $21 billion for environmental remediation.
- $47 billion for flooding and coastal resiliency, as well as “climate resiliency,” including protections against fires.
- $39 billion to modernize transit — the largest federal investment in public transit in history, according to the White House.
- $7.5 billion for electric vehicles and EV charging … $2.5 billion for zero-emission buses … $2.5 billion for low-emission buses … $2.5 billion for ferries.
“A friend of mine told me of a guru from Sri Lanka who asked, ‘What will be the undoing of humanity?’ He answered: ‘The separation between you and me.”
Ahimsa, nonviolence, asks us to abandon the notion of separation.”
When nonviolence in speech, thought, and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.’ -Yoga Sutras
“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service; you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” -Martin Luther King, Jr
This week, our nation will shift to new leadership and take the next step in creating a country rooted in justice and opportunity––a country we know is possible.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1967 speech at New York’s Riverside Church characterized these moments of transformation as “revolutionary times” when “new systems of justice and equality are being born.”
As we look to this day as a moment to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s work, let’s take time to continue his legacy of forging a new and better day by serving our communities. Below are some ways to do so:
#1 – Volunteer with a number of organizations working in areas ranging from education to homelessness through the Presidential Inaugural Committee
#2 – Volunteer to transcribe historical documents through the Smithsonian Digital Volunteer program
#3 – Write letters to seniors who are in self-isolation with Letters Against Isolation
#4 – Support our military and first-responders with Operation Gratitude
#5 – Send a message of hope and healing to a child awaiting surgery through the World Pediatric Project
#6 – Transcribe Library of Congress documents with By the People
#7 – Help Food Pantries near you serving those who continue to face food insecurity
#8 – Provide groceries to those who are at heightened risk for COVID-19 with Invisible Hands
#9 – Strengthen emergency relief efforts with the American Red Cross
#10 – Check out MLKDay.gov, which allows you to search additional volunteer opportunities in your community
3 Types of Kindness
There is the kindness of ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ And the kindness of “I was wrong, I’m sorry.” The small kindnesses that smooth our interactions and help other people feel as though you’re aware of them. These don’t cost us much, in fact, in most settings, engaging with kindness is an essential part of connection, engagement and forward motion.
And then there is the kindness of dignity. Of giving someone the benefit of the doubt. The kindness of seeing someone for the person that they are and can become, and the realization that everyone, including me and you, has a noise in our heads, a story to be told, fear to be danced with and dreams to be realized.
And there’s another: The kindness of not seeking to maximize short-term personal gain. The kindness of building something for the community, of doing work that matters, of finding a resilient, anti-selfish path forward.
Kindness isn’t always easy or obvious, because the urgent race to the bottom, to easily measured metrics and to scarcity, can distract us. But bending the arc toward justice, toward dignity and toward connection is our best way forward.
Kindness multiplies and it enables possiblity. When we’re of service to people, we have the chance to make things better.
Happy Birthday, Reverend King.
…perhaps truth is no longer a direct possibility. In the United States, two distinct and separate platforms of truth hold form. Beyond ‘truth’,
C O M P A S S I O N
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’
-Martin Luther King Jr.
King was a visionary, just as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were visionaries. What each of them had in common was common sense, an understanding of history and a conviction of love and hope. This same spirit today is reflected in the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel and Greta Thunberg. King left us a legacy that we must not ignore. There are many thousands who are carrying his mantle of resistance to oppression and path to justice. Most of us understand that love and compassion are the best antidotes to violence and hatred. May we all refocus and double down on being lights that drive out darkness, showing love that drowns out hatred, and spreading compassion that all make our world a better place for everyone. Let’s allow those common-sense chapters of On Tyranny be our points of reflection and action.
Why Martin Luther King Day is Celebrated in Hiroshima, Japan
We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hiroshima, Japan is one of the only cities that celebrates Martin Luther King Day outside of the United States. This connection may seem surprising but a closer examination reveals Hiroshima, known as the “City of Peace” is the living embodiment of many of Dr. King’s core beliefs including non-violence, peace, resilience, forgiveness and optimism. It would be expected that the people of Hiroshima were consumed by sorrow, hate and thoughts of revenge following the atomic bombing of their city. Instead, the survivors of the irradiated city consciously and deliberately rebuilt their city to ensure that every facet of their society – governmental policies, educational system, city landmarks, and holidays, including Martin Luther King Day – contributed to the promotion of world peace. As a result, a city that was described as a “burned scar” in 1945 is now known as the “City of Peace” that aggressively exports reconciliation, harmony and inspires millions around the world every year. Please join the conversation with Steve Leeper of Peace Culture Village and Ray Matsumiya of the Oleander Initiative as they discuss the devastating humanitarian impact of the atomic bombing AND the process of healing and rebuilding that resulted in Hiroshima’s extraordinary culture of peace.
[Please visit this link for the full article: https://charterforcompassion.org/component/acymailing/mailid-418?tmpl=component
Thank you to Dr. Andrea Montgomery Di Marco, CEO of the Flourishing Foundation/Global Women Seeking Change, for sharing this information, https://flourishingfoundation.org
Our first response, foundation, must be compassion for other, ahimsa, non-violence, and peace for all beings, regardless of your, or my, ‘truth.’
‘The reward for uncovering the truth is the experience of honest knowing. The reward for understanding is the peace of knowing. The reward for loving is being the carrier of love. It all becomes elusively simple. The river’s sole purpose is to carry water, and as the force of the water depends and widens the riverbed, the river fulfills its purpose more. Likewise, the river bed of the heart is worn open over time to carry what is living.
Even the deepest pain will pass.’
Martin Luther King asked us this question in 1967, not long before his assassination. After witnessing January 6th, we ask again. We are in a pivotal moment, again, in this country, and now, exacerbating the civil unrest, is a radicalized population with instantaneous virtual connection and unmitigated amounts of disinformation and conspiracy. For those engaged in the disinformation exchange, these are not theories, it is reality.
Social media platforms are suspending, and they’re too late.
Whistleblower Christopher Wylie (think Cambridge Analytica and pink hair):
Platforms like Facebook have been responsible for digitally segregating Americans for years. To move forward, we need to apply de-segregation principles to social media. That starts with regulating Facebook’s underlying digital architecture and design.
Truly, though, does anyone see them doing this anytime soon? No. Profit and power is their mantra.
A recommended read essay from author, and Yale history professor Timothy Snyder. His book, On Tyranny , needs to be on your bookshelf.
Here’s the link to his essay published today in The New York Times Magazine.
Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.
My own view is that greater knowledge of the past, fascist or otherwise, allows us to notice and conceptualize elements of the present that we might otherwise disregard and to think more broadly about future possibilities. It was clear to me in October that Trump’s behavior presaged a coup, and I said so in print; this is not because the present repeats the past, but because the past enlightens the present.
Thanks to technological capacity and personal talent, Donald Trump lied at a pace perhaps unmatched by any other leader in history.
When Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to challenge the Electoral College vote, he invoked the Compromise of 1877, which resolved the presidential election of 1876. Commentators pointed out that this was no relevant precedent, since back then there really were serious voter irregularities and there really was a stalemate in Congress. For African-Americans, however, the seemingly gratuitous reference led somewhere else. The Compromise of 1877 — in which Rutherford B. Hayes would have the presidency, provided that he withdrew federal power from the South — was the very arrangement whereby African-Americans were driven from voting booths for the better part of a century. It was effectively the end of Reconstruction, the beginning of segregation, legal discrimination and Jim Crow. It is the original sin of American history in the post-slavery era, our closest brush with fascism so far.
If the reference seemed distant when Ted Cruz and 10 senatorial colleagues released their statement on Jan. 2, it was brought very close four days later, when Confederate flags were paraded through the Capitol.
W.E.B. Du Boise, 1st edition, 1935, Beinecke Library:
The lie outlasts the liar. The idea that Germany lost the First World War in 1918 because of a Jewish “stab in the back” was 15 years old when Hitler came to power. How will Trump’s myth of victimhood function in American life 15 years from now? And to whose benefit?
If Trump remains present in American political life, he will surely repeat his big lie incessantly.
America will not survive the big lie just because a liar is separated from power. It will need a thoughtful repluralization of media and a commitment to facts as a public good.
From journalist Maria Ressa:
What happened Jan 6 in the US is a logical consequence of the radicalization, the “seeding & spread of conspiracy theories enabled by social media. It’s time to demand accountability. (Facebook is a behavior modification system.)”
A radicalized Air Force vet, Obama supporter, “and after years of personal travails, Ashli Babbitt believed she had found a cause that gave her life purpose. Within hours, that cause would bring her life to a violent end.”
‘Some far-right activists are already calling for retribution over the death of Ashli Babbitt. “We’re not putting up with this tyrannical rule. We will return on Jan 19th, carrying our weapons in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match.”
From Jane Mayer at The New Yorker:
Bobby Pickles, a purveyor of far-right T-shirts, joined the horde of balding dudes in dad jeans at the Capitol, because Donald Trump, he says, is “like punk rock.”
He explained that after his father died, in 2015, he sought out new male camaraderie. The Proud Boys filled a vacuum. He claims to have joined not because they are a hate group (as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center) but because “they were seeking something.” He said, “I came to the realization that Trump was awesome, and that I had been brainwashed.” From right-wing podcasts and YouTube, he said, he has learned that “the pandemic is a scam,” and that “we live in an inverted dictatorship run by the Deep State and globalists.”
“We couldn’t really see the President, we were listening on our phones & when we heard him say, ‘Go to the Capitol,’ we all were, like, ‘Yeah!’ So directed, Pickles & his group began marching. “Things are escalating. I hate to see what happens next.”
From Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London:
The storming of the Capitol in Washington is a wake-up call for states around the world, writes the mayor of London
he events at the Capitol building in Washington were shocking, but sadly not that surprising. Yes, President Donald Trump incited a fascist mob to try to violently overthrow the legitimate outcome of a democratic election – but this was the tragic yet inevitable consequence of the far-right movement the president has built and fostered over the last five years.
Trump pitted his own citizens against each other. He preyed on genuine economic suffering. He lied to stoke fear of those who are different. He denied basic scientific facts about Covid-19 and refused to act to save lives and jobs. He separated children from their parents. He used people’s religion as a reason to ban them from coming to the US. He gave equivalence to far-right racists and anti-racist protesters. He denigrated women and denied many the right to choose what they do with their body.
And he also undermined and delegitimised the fundamental pillars of democracy – equality under the law, the freedom of the press, an independent judicial system and, ultimately, even elections themselves.
ragically, the warnings were deliberately ignored by too many supposedly mainstream politicians, commentators and observers around the world, including here in the UK. Some greedily eyed an opportunity for their own advancement, which they valued more than the long-term health of democracy. Others were simply too scared of the consequences of doing the right thing and challenging the ugly new populist and nativist political movements that Trump spawned.
Donald Trump’s defeat is not the end of his brand of far-right politics. More than 74 million voted for him in November. Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Andrzej Duda in Poland and others are from the same mould. As are a growing group on the fringes of the Brexit movement.
People on both the left and right must show no hesitation in challenging racism and discrimination, be fearless in speaking up to protect all minority groups while promoting equality and focus relentlessly on tackling the economic inequalities and lack of opportunities that create a fertile breeding ground for the far-right – challenges that will only get harder after the pandemic.
We should tell truly inclusive patriotic stories about our national identity that show the genuine diversity of both our history and modern societies. And we need to be clear that compromising with those on the other side of the political aisle is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is essential for the health of democracy.
Love is Everywhere banners placed in Downtown Boise, Idaho.
The Guardian also published an opinion piece by Daniel Ellsberg. It’s important read, especially if Donald Trump is allowed to stay in office prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“I will always regret that I did not do more to stop war with Vietnam. Now, I am calling on whistleblowers to step up and expose Trump’s plans.”
Daniel Ellsberg was the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the US government had lied to the American public about the Vietnam war.
resident Trump’s incitement of criminal mob violence and occupation of the Capitol makes clear there is no limitation whatever on the abuse of power he may commit in the next two weeks he remains in office. Outrageous as his incendiary performance was on Wednesday, I fear he may incite something far more dangerous in the next few days: his long-desired war with Iran.
Could he possibly be so delusional as to imagine that such a war would be in the interests of the nation or region or even his own short-term interests? His behavior and evident state of mind this week and over the last two months answers that question.
The dispatch this week of B-52’s nonstop round-trip from North Dakota to the Iranian coast – the fourth such flight in seven weeks, one at year’s end – along with his build-up of US forces in the area, is a warning not only to Iran but to us.
In mid-November, as these flights began, the president had to be dissuaded at the highest levels from directing an unprovoked attack on Iran nuclear facilities. But an attack “provoked” by Iran (or by militias in Iraq aligned with Iran) was not ruled out.
I have little doubt that such contingency planning, directed by the Oval Office, for provoking, if necessary, an excuse for attacking Iran while this administration is still in office exists right now, in safes and computers in the Pentagon, CIA and the White House. That means there are officials in those agencies – perhaps one sitting at my old desk in the Pentagon – who have seen on their secure computer screens highly classified recommendations exactly like the McNaughton and Bundy memos that came across my desk in September 1964.
I am urging courageous whistleblowing today, this week, not months or years from now, after bombs have begun falling. It could be the most patriotic act of a lifetime.
Brian D. Sicknick, 42, the youngest of three sons, was from South River, New Jersey. He graduated in 1997 from Middlesex County Technical Vocational High School and joined the New Jersey Air National Guard that year.
Sicknick deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1999 in support of Operation Southern Watch. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he served in Kyrgyzstan in support of the war in Afghanistan. While stateside, Sicknick served in the 108th Air Refueling Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, his brother, Ken Sicknick, said.
He was honorably discharged in 2003, according to Lt. Col. Barbara Brown, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey National Guard.
Sicknick “wanted to be a police officer his entire life,” Ken Sicknick said. He “served his country honorably” and made his family “very proud,” Sicknicksaid. “Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember.”
Sicknick died “due to injuries sustained while on duty,” U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement. On Wednesday, he “was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” police said. He returned to his division office and collapsed, then was taken to a local hospital where he died around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke to the Associated Press.
The murder investigation begins.
Five people lost their lives, countless others were injured, all directly related to January 6th, 2021.
Now, more than ever, peace, peace,
Buddhist Monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh, celebrates his 94th birthday on October 11th. It is reported today that he has stopped eating, and very frail.
The Plum Village Monastery in Southern France is sharing that, in his spirit and life, there is hope the next Buddha will not be only embodied into an individual, but into the sangha…community.
In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. -Thích Nhất Hạnh
“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”
May your transition be peaceful and calm, surrounded by love and grace. -dayle
In the 1960s, Thích Nhất Hạnh played an active role promoting peace during the years of war in Vietnam. ... During his years in the U.S., he met Martin Luther King Jr., who nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
Image Credit: Una “rete” di rami all’Arte Sella (Wood and Art in the Forest of Italy)(detail), 2008, Arte Sella, Trento, Italy.
Fr. Richard Rohr:
My friend and fellow CAC teacher Dr. Barbara Holmes has the ability to bear witness to the expansiveness of the cosmos, the major systemic shifts taking place in society, and the small and sacred moments of daily life—all at the same time. Her writing is a poetic and prophetic call for us to wake up and pay attention to everything that is happening around us.
It is time to awaken to self, society, and the cosmos, for none of us has the luxury of sleepwalking through impending cultural and scientific revolutions. In the last sermon that he preached before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. urged us to “remain awake through a great revolution.”  . . .
Up above our heads, there are worlds unknown and a canopy of grace, light, air, and water that supports our survival. Without realizing it, we expend massive amounts of energy to block out the vastness of our universe. This is to be expected, for, in its totality, this information can be more than human systems can take. However, by riveting our attention on the mundane, we filter out the wonder that is available with each breath.
Although we have a fascination with space and the possibility of life in other realms, we steadfastly refuse to respond when the universe invites us to broaden our lines of sight. We are beckoned by blazing sunsets and the pictures returned by powerful telescopic lenses, yet, on any given day, we court a busyness that beguiles us into focusing on the limited perspectives in our immediate space.
Today, scientific information about the universe is increasing exponentially while ethnic and racial balances within the United States are shifting radically. In the scientific realm, the epistemological foundations for hierarchy, dominance, and rationality are crumbling, while proponents of gender, class, [racial,] and sexual equity have found their public voices. . . .
We are not hamsters on a wheel, waiting to fall into the cedar shavings at the bottom of the cage. We are seekers of light and life, bearers of shadows and burdens. We are struggling to journey together toward moral fulfillment. We are learning to embrace the unfathomable darkness where God dwells with enthusiasm that equals our love of light. Physics and cosmology have metaphors and languages to help us awaken to these and other possibilities. . . . We are not just citizens of one nation or another, but of the human and cosmic community.
Awareness is the moment when we rise with eyes crusted from self-induced dreams of control, domination, victimization, and self-hatred to catch a glimpse of the divine in the face of “the other.” Then God’s self-identification, “I am that I am / I will be who I will be” (Exodus 3:14) becomes a liberating example of awareness, mutuality, and self-revelation.
Barbara teaches us that “everything belongs”—from moments of personal awakening, to mind-bending discoveries with the potential to change everything. Growing in awareness of a “Christ-soaked universe” helps us to awaken to wonder and see the divine in all things.
 Martin Luther King, Jr., Sermon at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. (March 31, 1968). See A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington (HarperCollins: 1986), 270.
Barbara A. Holmes, Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently, 2nd ed. (CAC Publishing: 2020), 42, 43, 57.
Congressman John Lewis, who endured horrific beatings, threats to his life, and imprisonment as one of the original Freedom Riders, at Black Lives Matter Plaza. Rep. Lewis is the only surviving speaker of the March On Washington where Dr. King gave his ‘I Have A Dream Speech’
@Yashar Yashar Ali
On December 31st, 2019, the congressman and civil-rights icon disclosed a diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In his public statement, his tenor remained characteristically triumphant, even optimistic: “I have been in some kind of fight—for freedom, equality, basic human rights—for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” He added, “I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community.” [The Atlantic]
“I HAVE A DREAM …”
(Copyright 1963, MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.)
“March on Washington”
Teach only love, for that is what you are. ~Course in Miracles
If one makes herself receptive to the idea of love, she becomes lovable. To the degree that she embodies love, she is love; so people who love are loved. ~Science of Mind
‘Superman could bend steel with his bare hands.
Along the way, we’ve been sold on the idea that difficult tasks ought to be left to heroes, often from somewhere far away or from long ago. That it’s up to them, whoever ‘them’ is.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Theodore Parker: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
But it’s not bending itself. And it’s not waiting for someone from away to bend it either.
It’s on us. Even when it doesn’t work (yet). Even when it’s difficult. Even when it’s inconvenient.
Our culture is the result of a trillion tiny acts, taken by billions of people, every day. Each of them can seem insignificant, but all of them add up, one way or the other, to the change we each live through.
Sometimes it takes a hero like Dr. King to wake us up and remind us of how much power we actually have.
And now it’s our turn. It always has been.’
“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.”
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
“Jesus was not a white, American man.
The U.S. flag is not a symbol for the Church or for Christ.
The National Anthem is not a Christian Hymn.
And He [Jesus] began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?”
-Bernice King is a ‘connector, communicator, community builder, CEO of The King Center, and child of legendary global influencers.’
A. Philip Randolph organized the March on Washington where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He was a civil rights activist, a labor organizer, and instrumental to desegregating the military.
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I’m singing the song
You know, my living shall not be in vain
As the elite descend on Davos, Switzerland, for this week’s World Economic Forum, two stark stats:
- Wealth held by the world’s billionaires has grown from $3.4 trillion in 2009, right after the meltdown, to $8.9 trillion in 2017. (UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights via Bloomberg)
- The 3.8 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half saw their wealth decline by 11% last year. (Oxfam, which works to alleviate poverty, via AP)
A new display of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers in Atlanta “provides insight into the slain civil rights leader’s thought processes as he drafted some of his most well-known speeches and notable sermons,” AP’s Kate Brumbach writes:
- “The Meaning of Hope: The Best of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection,” opened this weekend at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, in the Voice to the Voiceless gallery.
- “There are drafts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speeches and of his eulogy for four girls who died when Ku Klux Klan members bombed a church in Birmingham, Alabama.”
“In drafts and outlines of speeches and sermons, both typed and written out longhand, words and entire lines are crossed out and rewritten.”
- “Even an already published copy of ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ is marked with further handwritten edits.”
- “Also included in the exhibition are King’s school transcripts — including one from Crozer Theological Seminary where he got a C in public speaking.”
Remembered as a great orator and a champion for human rights, Martin Luther King, Jr. also was a deep thinker on economics.
Between the lines: King’s philosophy has often been painted as a socialist because he advocated for the redistribution of wealth, referenced Karl Marx and even called for a “guaranteed annual income.” But King repudiated socialism and communism, noting in his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here” that when it came to communism, “I have to reject that.”
“What I’m saying to you this morning is communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis.”
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. —Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
“Deep knowing and presence do not happen with our thinking minds. To truly know something, our whole being must be open, awake, and present. We intuitively knew how to be present as babies. Psychologists now say there is no such thing as an infant. There’s only an infant/caregiver.
In the first several months, from the infant’s view, they are one and the same. Infants see themselves entirely mirrored in their family’s eyes; they soon believe and become this vision. Contemplative prayer offers a similar kind of mirroring, as we learn to receive and return the divine gaze.
In his book Coming to Our Senses, historian Morris Berman makes the point that our first experience of life is not merely a visual or audio one of knowing ourselves through other people’s facial and verbal responses; it is primarily felt in the body. He calls this feeling kinesthetic knowing. We know ourselves in the security of those who hold us, skin to skin. This early knowing is not so much heard, seen, or thought. It’s felt.
Psychologists say that when we first begin to doubt and move outside of that kinesthetic knowing, we hold onto things like teddy bears and dolls. My little sister, Alana, had the classic security blanket as a baby. She dragged it everywhere until it was dirty and ragged, but we could not take it away from her. Children do such things to reassure themselves that they are still connected and one. But we all begin to doubt this primal union as the subject/object split of a divided world slowly takes over, usually by age seven. Body/mind/world/self all start getting split apart; we begin to see the basic fault lines in the world—and the rest of life will be spent trying to put it all back together again.
It seems we all must leave the Garden of Eden, the state of innocence and blissful, unconscious union. We can’t stay there, letting mother gaze at us forever. Unfortunately, if that primal knowing never happened at all, immense doubt arises about whether there even is a garden (“God”) where all things are one and good. When family systems disintegrate, people live with doubt and uncertainty. I am sure God fully understands. It is surely why Jesus says, “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).
Hopefully, our parents’ early gaze told us we were foundationally beloved. But when we inevitably begin to see ourselves through eyes that compare, judge, and dismiss, then we need spirituality to help heal the brokenness of our identity and our world. True spirituality is always bringing us back to the original bodily knowing that is unitive experience, which is why you cannot do it all in the head!”
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’ to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
His last sermon, on the evening before he was shot down outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered a conclusion that serves well as starting point for 2018. After declaring that America was sick in 1968, facing troubling times, King made this resolution:
Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school—be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.
Nothing would be more tragic than to turn back now, because we have seen the real possibility that, in the middle of this dark night of the American story, a Third Reconstruction is possible. “We made the world we are living in,” James Baldwin said, “and we have to make it over.” Imperfect though we are, we can do this work together in 2018 and move forward toward the more perfect union of our common creed.
Fifty years after Dr. King and many others launched a Poor People’s Campaign to demand a Marshall Plan for America’s poor, inequality in our nation has reached extremes we have not seen since the Gilded Age. As the Dow climbs and the wealthiest Americans get a massive tax break, 15 million more Americans are poor today than in 1968. In the same time period, the rate of extreme poverty has nearly doubled. Because of the systemic racism of voter suppression, which has been implemented in 23 of the nation’s poorest states since 2010, our political system is held captive by extremists who deny workers health care and a living wage, undermine the equal-protection clause of the constitution, attack public education, and encourage poor white people to blame people of color and immigrants for their problems. All the while, more and more of our collective resources are dedicated to a war without end.
-Rev. Dr. Barber
“If we are to remain true to our heritage and who we claim to be, we must stand with DREAMERS. It’s long past time for Congress to pass the #DreamAct Act now!”
-Eric Holder, former US Attorney General
Meditation readings today:
‘I destroy the ignorance-born darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom.’
‘I am resolved today to see the good in everyone and in every event.’
Wait. Even Mitch McConnell? And Ajit Pai? The universe really knows how to lay out a challenge.
Pai is the FCC chair appointed to the commission by President Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was appointed to chair by DT. He’s the one trying to eliminate Net Nuetrality. The five-member commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Science of Mind:
Faith in the justice of the universe is my altar. Up this altar I lay my offering of peace [and kindness].
‘If nothing goes forth from me that can hurt, then nothing can return to me that can harm.’
The humility of the manger is the common place in every person’s life. It is here, in the common place, that we must find the good and, finding it here, we shall also discover that the larger issues of our experience are overshadowed by this same good that we have discovered in the common place.