“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Have a Dream as well!

At the risk of alienating some folks, I felt compelled to put together this blog. I have been sitting on the sidelines watching the increasingly ugly mood envelope our political and social arena, and I am honestly, tired of it.

It seems that daily now we have race-baiting, name-calling, and other unsavory actions coming from the supposed leaders of this country. I am a child of the sixties (barely!), and I am appalled by where we are at.

And this is not a one-sided event – oh no, everyone has joined the fray – trying to solidify their position within the community by using underhanded and malicious argumentation.

And then I hear several of these self-righteous flacks make reference to Doctor King’s famous “I have a Dream” speech, all the while doing the very things that he was against! If we would but read a few lines of this most brilliant speech, we could see that Doctor King was light years ahead of the hacks on both sides of the debate. His speech was TRANSCENDENT – it was not a speech mired in a narcissist mindset, nor was it to ‘position’ Dr. King in the hierarchy of the Civil Rights movement – he spoke eloquently, passionately and directly; something we so badly need from SOMEONE today.

Read these lines from Doctor King’s speech anew today, and tell me who is speaking like this?

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."


And he continues on….

"But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom."


And still yet, he builds to the crescendo that so many know a PART of…

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


We all owe Doctor King a huge apology for the mess we have made of his dream!

So, what do we do about this? For starters, turn off your TV, for far too long the politicos and activists have told you and I what to think about those different from us. Turn off Don Imus, and Rush Limbaugh; turn off Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, and do something radical – REACH OUT to your neighbor, get to know them – and, as Christians, how about we begin to act like we expect everyone else to act…???

Let the people reclaim their land – let those who are in Christ light to way to something new – NOT tolerance, NOT even simple acceptance, but something transcendent to that – let us fulfill Doctor King’s dream! Let us become color-blind and compassionate. We can do this!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Apologies

Seems that I write more of these apologies than real posts anymore. I have been away nigh on a month, but what a month it has been!

Just in the last week, my lovebird, Lovey passed away. He lived WAAAYYY longer than anyone thought he would. These lovebirds usually live about 12 years, he lived well past 16. He went peacefully, and now we are down to one bird -- our white-cap Pionus, Josiah.



On another front, I had surgeries number 7 & 8 this week, both on my right eye. The first was a cataract surgery on Tuesday -- it went OK, but unfortunately a piece of the cataract slipped through the back of my torn lens capsule and drifted into the posterior chamber of the eye, hence the need for surgery number 8. I had a lensectomy, and vitrectomy on Thursday to remove the cataract piece and the doctor also cleaned out the PC. Good news is that the retina stayed in place, the IOL is still in place, and everything looks like it is holding together! Another three days and I will know more...



Thanks for the many prayers! I am hoping that once my eye settles down, I will get back to regular posting.