A Good Friday Meditation…
Shock Me with Terrible Goodness
Shock and save me with the terrible goodness of this Friday,
And drive me deep into my longing for your kingdom
Until I seek it first-
Yet not first for myself,
But for the hungry
And the sick
And the poor of your children,
For prisoners of conscience around the world,
For those I have wasted
With my racism
For those around this mother earth and in this city
Who, this Friday, know far more of terror than of goodness;
That, in my seeking first the kingdom,
For them as well as for myself,
All these things may be mine as well:
Things like a coat and courage
And something like comfort,
A few lilies in the field,
The sight of birds soaring on the wind,
A song in the night,
And gladness of heart,
The sense of your presence
And the realization of your promise
That nothing in life or death
Will be able to separate me or those I love,
From you love
In the crucified one who is our Lord,
And in whose name and Spirit I pray.
by Ted Loder – Guerrillas of Grace
Standing with my Asian Brothers and Sisters…
“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” ~1 John 3:15
Today I have, like you, read many tweets, thoughts, observations and news articles about the murder of eight people in the Atlanta Asian community. I would like to cut through all the spin out there surrounding this and first say that my heart is broken, and we in the Alliance NW mourn and grieve with our Asian friends, family, and churches that have already endured an intense year of racial hatred in America.
We stand with you…
We grieve with you…
We see you…
We speak out with you against the rise of Asian-racism…
In my mind, I hear the words of my Asian friends who have told me that the message they were taught growing up was to “keep their head down, work harder than anyone else and try to keep beneath the radar ” if they wanted to get ahead.In other words, “Here is how to survive in a “White” world.
We have had a year of escalation of hate toward Asians fueled by a national conversation surrounding COVID19 by calling it the “Kung-Flu” or the “China Virus” or other names that center the pandemic on a “people-group” making them the enemy. The result? Destroyed Asian restaurants, businesses and attacks on Asian people.
The spin has already begun…I have heard that, “The murderer had a sexual addiction, and the massage centers that the people worked in were a temptation… so, it’s not racial it’s sexual.”
It’s not that simple…it’s all connected…
As the murderer was a professed Evangelical Christian, blaming this on his sexual struggle misses the point. I see this as an unholy trinity of flawed sexual theology, unrepented of white supremacy systems, and an absolute devaluing of the sanctity of life…We have lost the concept of dignity towards others and we spin it in so many devaluing ways.
Is racism embedded? Yes
Is sexism embedded? Yes
Do we need to address our faulty sexual discipleship? Yes
Do we need to address the ethnic biases that exist in our lives, communities and churches? Yes
BUT…those realities and our focus on those things also dehumanizes this tragic loss of life. We forget that eight families have lost people they love and they lost them in a horrible, devastating and violent way that will leave scars on their souls forever.
Today would you pause with me and remember their lives.
Today would you pause with me and pray for our Asian friends and communities.
Today would you stand up and say “No More”
Grace and Peace,Monty
I first encountered the story of Madam C.J. Walker in a movie about her life called “Self Made” on Netflix, starring Octavia Spencer. It was a powerful movie about a dynamic woman. Debra Michals PhD, writing about Walker states:
“Struggling financially, facing hair loss, and feeling the strain of years of physical labor, Walker’s life took a dramatic turn in 1904. That year, she not only began using African American businesswoman Annie Turbo Malone’s “The Great Wonderful Hair Grower,” but she also joined Malone’s team of black women sales agents. A year later, Walker moved to Denver, Colorado, where she married ad-man Charles Joseph Walker, renamed herself “Madam C.J. Walker,” and with $1.25, launched her own line of hair products and straighteners for African American women, “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower.”
An article on PBS.org states that Walker was the first Black American women that was a self-made millionaire. The piece goes on to say: “To keep her agents more loyal, Walker organized them into a national association and offered cash incentives to those who promoted her values. In the same way, she organized the National Negro Cosmetics Manufacturers Association in 1917. “I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself,” Walker said in 1914. “I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race.”
Walker was tenacious, savvy, compassionate, entrepreneurial, and sacrificial. I hope yyou are inspired by her story. Check out the sources links at the end for more info.
The following biography is found at theundefeated.com
MADAM C.J. WALKER
“Because she found out you can never go broke working black women’s hair.”
ENTREPRENEUR, ACTIVISTb. 1867 – 1919
At first, it was all about hair and an ointment guaranteed to heal scalp infections. Sarah Breedlove – the poor washerwoman who would become millionaire entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker – was trying to cure dandruff and banish her bald spots when she mixed her first batch of petrolatum and medicinal sulfur.
But what began as a solution to a pesky personal problem quickly became a means to a greater end. With the sale of each 2-ounce tin of Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, she discovered that her most powerful gift was motivating other women. As she traveled throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Central America, teaching her Walker System and training sales agents, she shared her personal story: her birth on the same plantation where her parents had been enslaved, her struggles as a young widow, her desperate poverty. If she could transform herself, so could they. In place of washtubs and cotton fields, Walker offered them beauty culture, education, financial freedom and confidence. “You have made it possible for a colored woman to make more money in a day selling your products than she could in a week working in white folks’ kitchens,” one agent wrote to her.
The more money Walker made, the more generous she became — $1,000 to her local black YMCA in Indianapolis, $5,000 to the NAACP’s anti-lynching fund. Scholarships for students at Tuskegee and Daytona Normal and Industrial institutes. Music lessons for young black musicians.
In 1917 at her first national convention, Walker awarded prizes to the women who sold the most products and recruited the most new agents. More importantly, she honored the delegates whose local clubs had contributed the most to charity. She encouraged their political activism in a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson, urging him to support legislation that would make lynching a federal crime.
Walker was labeled a “Negro subversive” by Wilson’s War Department because of her advocacy for black soldiers during World War I and her support of public protests against the East St. Louis, Illinois, riot.
By the time she died in 1919 in her Westchester County, New York, mansion, she had defied stereotypes, provided employment for thousands of women and donated more than $100,000 to civic, educational and political causes.
As a philanthropist and a pioneer of today’s multibillion-dollar hair care industry, she used her wealth and influence to empower others. One could say she was woke a hundred years ago. – A’Lelia Bundles
I love discovering new heros. Black History Month (BHM) has created an opportunity for me to enter into the story of some amazing African American heros that have never crossed my path. I am humbled by the fortitude, drive, passion, grace, faithfulness, and influence of the men and women I am encountering in my search.
This week I am excited to share the story of Mary Jane McLeod Bethune. Here are a couple notable quotes:
“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.“
“The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.“
Debra Michals PhD, writing for womenshistory.org, notes that she was “a champion of racial and gender equality, Bethune founded many organizations and led voter registration drives after women gained the vote in 1920, risking racist attacks.”
Dr. Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman University. The University website shares some of her story and highlights that, “Wherever Dr. Bethune saw a need, she found a way to meet that need and move society closer to her vision. When a black student was turned away from the hospital in Daytona Beach, she opened a hospital to serve the black community. When the nation mobilized resources for the first and second World Wars, she pressed for the integration of the American Red Cross and Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She led voter registration drives and anti-lynching campaigns. Through it all Dr. Bethune relied on faith and prayer for guidance and inspiration, saying, Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.“
I hope that Mary McLeod Bethune becomes a hero for you too… ~Monty
The following biography information was found on: https://theundefeated.com/
MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
Because the ‘First Lady of the Struggle’ left us an indelible legacy of love, hope, and dignity…
CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, EDUCATOR b. 1875 – 1955
Though she was able-bodied, Mary McLeod Bethune carried a cane because she said it gave her “swank.”
An educator, civil rights leader and adviser to five U.S. presidents, the “First Lady of the Struggle” has been synonymous with black uplift since the early 20th century. She turned her faith, her passion for racial progress, and her organizational and fundraising savvy into the enduring legacies of Bethune-Cookman University and the National Council of Negro Women. She understood the intersections of education, optics and politics and was fierce and canny in using them to advance the cause of her people.
Bethune, the 15th of 17 children, grew up in rural South Carolina and started working in the fields as a young girl. She hoped to become a missionary in Africa after attending Scotia Seminary in North Carolina and Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute, but was told black missionaries were unwelcome. So, she turned to educating her people at home, founding the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904 with $1.50 and six students, including her young son.
Twenty years later, the school was merged with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida. In 1924, Bethune, one of the few female college presidents in the nation, became president of the National Association of Colored Women. A decade later, in a move to centralize dozens of organizations working on behalf of black women, Bethune founded the influential National Council of Negro Women
Bethune helped organize black advisers to serve on the Federal Council of Negro Affairs, the storied “Black Cabinet,” under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt considered Bethune one of her closest friends. Photos featuring her with the president or first lady ran prominently in black publications, helping to normalize the notion of black faces in high places.
Bethune worked to end poll taxes and lynching. She organized protests against businesses that refused to hire African-Americans and demonstrated in support of the Scottsboro Boys. She lobbied for women to join the military. She organized, she wrote, she lectured, and she inspired.
Perhaps her most enduring written work was her last will and testament:
I LEAVE YOU LOVE … I LEAVE YOU HOPE … I LEAVE YOU THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE IN ONE ANOTHER … I LEAVE YOU A THIRST FOR EDUCATION … I LEAVE YOU RESPECT FOR THE USES OF POWER … I LEAVE YOU FAITH … I LEAVE YOU RACIAL DIGNITY … I LEAVE YOU A DESIRE TO LIVE HARMONIOUSLY WITH YOUR FELLOW MEN … I LEAVE YOU FINALLY A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. – Lonnae O’Neal