Saturday, January 31, 2009

Merton's Seven Story Mountain...a must read

Thomas Merton's Birthday, 31 January 1915

Prayer is the substance of eternal life, Evelyn Underhill


Prayer is the substance of eternal life. It gives back to man, in so far as he is willing to live to capacity - that is to say, to give love and suffer pain- the beatitude without which he is incomplete; for it sets going, deepen and at last perfects that mutual indwelling of two orders which redeems us from unreality, and in which the creative process reaches its goal. There is, as Bremond has said, even in the poorest and crudest prayer "a touch of Pentecost." It awaits and expects the action of the Spirit, acknowledges the most mysterious and yet the most certain reality of our experience; the intercourse of the Transcendent God with fugitive man, and of fugitive man with the Transcendent God. Yet all our attempts to describe this mysterious reality are like the scientists' attempts to describe the universe; at worst diagrammatic, at best symbolic and allusive. It eludes definition, refuses to be caught in the meshes of the mind. We cannot say of it on God's side, "Lo! ther ethe beginning"; nor on man's side, "Lo! here"; becaue it comes not with observation, but emerges unperceived from the deep ground of being where we do not know ourselves apart from Him. There, beyond thought, the pressure and invitation of God is experienced by the creature, and thence there filters into consciousness some response to the Unseen; an act of loving attention, a submission, a supplication. Here is the beginning of prayer, and hence it spreads to include at last every level of our being, every aspect of our existence, and bring into concsious expression its fundamental relation with God."

~Evelyn Underhill, "Abba: Meditations Based on the Lord's Prayer," page 1

"Our calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood," Parker Palmer



"Our calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks - we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need."

Buechner's definition starts with the self and moves toward the needs of the world: it begins, wisely, where vocation begins - not in what the world needs (which is everything), but in the nature of the human self, in what brings the self joy, the deep joy of nowing that we are here on earth to be the gifts that God created."

~ Parker Palmer in "Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation," page 17

Heirs according to the promise, Galatians 3:23- 29

This morning's New Testament Lesson

Galatians 3:23- 29 (NRSV)

23Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The church embodies the upside-down kingdom

By Gordon Cosby

We moderate and polish the world’s thinking, and name it Christian. The church embodies the upside-down kingdom. Whatever the world admires is probably not good, according to kingdom values. The church is always anti-empire.

What the church does is provide a place where pain can be touched and where the vision for a new world can be lifted up and held before people.

quoted by Peter Renner in “Good Is a Timely Word”

The world that the church must serve is the world of the poor, Romero


Oscar Romero

I am a shepherd who, with his people, has begun to learn a beautiful and difficult truth: our Christian faith requires that we submerge ourselves in this world. The world that the church must serve is the world of the poor, and the poor are the ones who decide what it means for the church to really live in the world. It is the poor who force us to understand what is really taking place. The persecution of the church is a result of defending the poor. Our persecution is nothing more nor less than sharing in the destiny of the poor.

Source: One month before his assassination on March 24, 1980

Love and Suffering, Frederick Buechner


Love and Suffering
Written by admin July 14th, 2007 and posted at Inward/Outward

By Frederick Buechner

Love is a key concept in Buddhism and Christianity both. Buddhism, in the long run, seems to come out against it except in the sense of something like upekha, which is a love so vast and passionless, so disembodied and impartial, that it ceases to resemble the Christian form in any very apparent way.

Buddhism comes out against it not just for one’s own sake in the sense that to love another is to open the door into a whole new realm of vulnerability and suffering for oneself, but for the sake of the other also in the sense that unless we can break all the fetters, including love, which bind us to the wheel of rebirth, we can never achieve that Nirvana-like state of selfless detachment which is the only state in which we can be of any real use toward helping others to achieve it.

Bloodless, remote and mythical as these Buddhist insights are apt to seem from a Christian perspective, they are nonetheless greatly useful, I think, in deepening our understanding of love in a Christian sense.

That to love other people is to suffer when they suffer is a truth of life which Christianity recognizes no less than Buddhism does. It is a truth which has much to do, of course, with what the Cross is all about. To say that Christ takes upon himself the sins of the world is to say that he takes upon himself the suffering of the world too. It is to say that in a sense his suffering on the Cross continues for as long as any of us suffers. Furthermore, in being called to take up our own crosses and follow him, we are called to participate in his suffering.

But unlike Buddhism, Christianity nevertheless affirms this love that suffers and, what is more, affirms it not in spite of the fact that it suffers but because of it. It affirms it for the reason that to love others to the point of suffering with them and for them in their own suffering is the only way ultimately to heal them, redeem them, if they are to be redeemed at all.

It is God’s way in Christ, and as we are called to participate with Christ in his suffering, so we are called to be partners with him in his work of redemption. For our own sakes as well as for theirs, we are called to be Christs to all humankind, in other words, and that is close to the heart of our faith and of our lives together as Christians.

And yet. And yet. Having spoken this Christian truth, we must also, I think, remember the Buddhist truth which may be closer to it than at first glance it appears. If love is a matter of holding fast to, and identifying with, and suffering for, the ones we love, it is a matter also of standing back from, of leaving space for, of letting go of. To become, through loving and needing them, as involved in the lives of others as I was involved in the lives of my children is in the long run to risk being both crippled and crippling. Because we love our children as helplessly as we do, they have the power to destroy us. We must not let them, for their own sakes no less than for our own. A distance must be kept - not just from our children but from everyone we love.

I think of the Buddha sitting under his Bo-tree with his eyes closed upon an inner peace which he would not permit even his great compassion to disturb. I think of the staff of the East Harlem Protestant Parish with the pale northern blue of their compassion, their sad gaiety, their utter lack of sentimentality. I think of Jesus himself, who in the profoundest sense bled for people but was never what is meant by ‘a bleeding heart’; who did what he could for the sick and suffering who came his way and then moved on; who wept for Jerusalem but let Jerusalem choose its own way; who kept his own mother at arm’s length and, when Mary Magdalene reached out to embrace him at the end, said, ‘Do not touch me.’

We are to love one another as God has loved us. That is the truth of it. But to love one another more than God has loved us - to love one another at the expense of our own freedom to be something like whole and at peace within ourselves, and at the expense of others’ freedom, too - is the dark shadow that the truth casts.

Frederick Buechner has written many books, including The Sacred Journey, The Magnificent Defeat, Telling the Truth, and Now and Then, from which this piece is taken.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rev. Randolph Charles and the Church of the Epiphany on the Daily Show!

Insomnia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Insomnia

By Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
That wavers with the spirit's wind:
But in half-dreams that shift and roll
And still remember and forget,
My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.

Our lives, most dear, are never near,
Our thoughts are never far apart,
Though all that draws us heart to heart
Seems fainter now and now more clear.
To-night Love claims his full control,
And with desire and with regret
My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.

Is there a home where heavy earth
Melts to bright air that breathes no pain,
Where water leaves no thirst again
And springing fire is Love's new birth?
If faith long bound to one true goal
May there at length its hope beget,
My soul that hour shall draw your soul
For ever nearer yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day-27 January 2009-Archbishop Rowan Williams, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Tony Bayfield

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, Head of the Movement for Reform Judaism unite to reflect on their recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and give their message for Holocaust Memorial Day.

27 January 2009


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Barbara Brown Taylor: "the last thing any of us needs is more information about God."



from the Christian Century's "theolog" blog:


When I hear people talk about what is wrong with organized religion, or why their mainline churches are failing, I hear about bad music, inept clergy, mean congregations and preoccupation with institutional maintenance. I almost never hear about the intellectualization of faith, which strikes me as a far greater danger than anything else on the list. In an age of information overload, when a vast variety of media delivers news faster than most of us can digest—when many of us have at least two e-mail addresses, two telephone numbers and one fax number—the last thing any of us needs is more information about God. We need the practice of incarnation, by which God saves the lives of those whose intellectual assent has turned as dry as dust, who have run frighteningly low on the bread of life, who are dying to know more God in their bodies. Not more about God. More God.


~ Barbara Brown Taylor

Read it all HERE.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet Lacrosse Video on Youtube - Kyle Harrison and Ryan Powell - Nike Commercial

Creedal Christianity allows the Christian to embrace both the body and the spirit




"Creedal Christianity allows the Christian
to embrace both the body and the spirit,
to pursue both internal transformation
through prayer and
the transformation of society through prophetic engagement."

Luke Timothy Johnson



and, do check out the "Creedal Christian" blog, HERE

The power of accurate observation...

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

~George Bernard Shaw



hat tip to Tony Jones' blog

To live, we must daily break the bread and shed the blood of creation




To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation.

When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament.

When we do it ignorantly, greedily, destructively, it is a desecration.

- Wendell Berry

The Gift of Good Land

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime

"Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."

Reinhold Niebuhr

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Diocese of Virginia reactions to Announcement by Bishop Peter James Lee

Video of Bishop Lee at the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council

Jan. 23, 2009.
Reston, VA.
Bishop Peter James Lee announces the timing of his retirement.




And here is the text of the announcement:



From the Diocese of Virginia
To read the entire release, click Read more

RICHMOND, Virginia (January 23, 2009) – The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee announced today that on October 1, 2009, he will step down as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, leaving the Diocese in the capable hands of his successor the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston.

In January 2006, Bishop Lee called for the election of his successor, and Bishop Johnston was elected and consecrated the next year. Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, a bishop must retire either by age 72 or no more than three years after the consecration of a bishop coadjutor; both dates occur in the next year.

In making the announcement, Bishop Lee said, “I cannot refer to these plans to leave the Diocese of Virginia without placing them in the context of thanksgiving for you, the clergy and the lay leadership of the Diocese of Virginia. I thank God daily for you and I am grateful for the privilege of serving among you.”

Press Release from the Diocese of Virginia
Bishop Lee to Resign October 1, 2009

RICHMOND, Virginia (January 23, 2009) – The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee announced today that on October 1, 2009, he will step down as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, leaving the Diocese in the capable hands of his successor the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston.

In January 2006, Bishop Lee called for the election of his successor, and Bishop Johnston was elected and consecrated the next year. Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, a bishop must retire either by age 72 or no more than three years after the consecration of a bishop coadjutor; both dates occur in the next year.

In making the announcement, Bishop Lee said, “I cannot refer to these plans to leave the Diocese of Virginia without placing them in the context of thanksgiving for you, the clergy and the lay leadership of the Diocese of Virginia. I thank God daily for you and I am grateful for the privilege of serving among you.”

Bishop Lee noted that being a responsible steward in light of the economic realities faced by parishes in the Diocese played a role in his decision. He stated, “My resignation will occur several months earlier than I had originally anticipated but I believe it is an appropriate and necessary response to the realities we face.” He noted in conclusion, “Our desire for neat and tidy endings can trap us in a past that becomes illusion and that same desire can blind us to a future that could become a promise. So the final months of our ministry together will not be a time of tidy endings. But they can be a time of reaffirmation of where we stand, on the rock, on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Lee was installed as the 12th bishop of Virginia on May 27, 1985. He was ordained to the diaconate in June 1967 and to the priesthood in May 1968. From 1968‑1971, he served as the assistant minister at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. In 1971, Bishop Lee became rector of the Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, N.C., and continued as rector there until he was elected bishop of the Diocese of Virginia in 1984.

Bishop Johnston will assume responsibility for pastoral oversight of the Diocese, which includes 180 churches, six church schools, two conference centers, eight retirement communities, approximately 450 clergy and 80,000 members.

“Bishop Lee’s decision to leave at this time is characteristic in that it exemplifies the selfless service to God, to the Episcopal Church and to the people of the Diocese of Virginia that he has exhibited throughout his tenure as Bishop of Virginia,” said Bishop Johnston. “Over the years he has been a visionary leader and bishop. Part of that leadership has meant making tough decisions, but all of them were made to strengthen the vitality and potential of the Diocese of Virginia—this latest decision is no different. In all of his actions—as a bishop, a colleague and a friend—he has set the bar very high for me. I am honored to succeed him.”

“Although it is with tremendous sadness that we will say goodbye to Bishop Lee after 25 years of faithful, steadfast service, it is also with a strong affirmation of the grace of his ministry,” said the Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, bishop suffragan of the diocese of Virginia. “Bishop Lee has led the Diocese and served the Episcopal Church through times of great change and has deepened the bonds between us within the Diocese. I look forward to working with Bishop Johnston in continuing to build on Bishop Lee’s tremendous legacy.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Obama - evidence of spiritual practice


When I saw this photograph of President Obama taken by a Time Magazine photographer just before he emerged to take the oath of office, I thought for sure that this is a man who probably does some centering prayer - and likely is contemplative, in his own way. Whether or not he follows the teachings of Thomas Keating, or Thomas Merton, or Basil Pennington, I do not know. Perhaps his centering is the prayer of every great (or good) athlete or artist, who finds a way to calm himself or herself before "gametime"...

Calm in the midst of storm. Whether or not you agree with him on all policy matters, surely this kind of calm, but engaged, leader is what we need right now. My prayers are with him.

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amazing Grace sung at the National Prayer Service

Amazing Grace, sung by Dr. Wintley Phipps, President of U. S. Dream Academy at the National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral today.

Hat tip to Episcopal Cafe and FoxNews



Just a totally awesome video...a whole new side of our new President

WOW, check this out!



"You got BarackRoll'd"

National Cathedral Prayer Service today with President Obama



National Cathedral Prayer Service today with President Obama

The Washington Post has this short, raw video of the event. I had trouble streaming it from the National Cathedral website (probably means many thousands were all trying to do it at once, a good thing!)

I am hoping that the Cathedral posts some longer video, soon.

Also, Jim Naughton of the Diocese of Washington will be posting more reports from the Cathedral service soon. Check out THIS posting and THIS ONE over at Episcopal Cafe right now.

In the meanwhile, check out this video

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

photos from the Washington Post - Getty Images

"New Year's: Beyond Resolutions to Conversion" at Episcopal Cafe




My most recent article, "New Year's: Beyond Resolutions to Conversion" was posted today over at "The Episcopal Cafe."

Here's an excerpt:

A trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that they don’t seem to “stick.” The promise of the Christian Faith is that God is with us, helping us always to turn to our better selves, and to grow into the fullness of who we are meant to be. This may sound like a cliché, but let me illustrate my point with three images: Scrooge, Groundhog Day, and “metanoia.”

Read it all HERE.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day - President Barack Hussein Obama's Inaugural Address

President Barack Hussein Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address



From C-Span...

http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library
...

President Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States and delivered an inaugural address focusing on the themes of sacrifice and renewal on January 20, 2009.

Inauguration Day - Franklin Delano Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address



"Battle" of the Prayers...what do you think? Warren / Robinson / Lowery...

"Battle" of the Prayers...what do you think? Warren / Robinson / Lowery...

It seems that even as there is some discussion about who likes which prayer best, the fact that different prayers appeal to different people points to the diversity of people and also the diversity of God's tastes! God, of course, hears all prayers, and whether or not they tickle our fancy, they are heard by God.

On the other hand, taking a look at (and listen to) these different prayers can give us some sense of the different ways that we understand prayer, theology, God, prayer, and the rest.

What do you think? What is the theology behind them? What is their image of God? To what are they appealing, emotion, or reason? Which one 'rings true' to you...why, do you think? Similarities and Differences?

Come to class on Thursday and be ready to discuss! (or, comment!)

~ Rev. Peter Carey


Gene Robinson




Rick Warren





Joseph Lowery

Inauguration Day - Joseph Lowery's Prayer of Benediction

This was quite outstanding....to me, at least...



Still looking for the text...
...update...text found!

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand -- true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you're able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen!

REV. LOWERY: Say amen --

AUDIENCE: Amen!

REV. LOWERY: -- and amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

For the full text, and historical background, of the cited hymn Lift Every Voice and Sing, go here. For a recording, go here.

Inauguration Day - Rick Warren's Inaugural Invocation Prayer - Youtube and Text

I thought it was pretty good, all in all...





Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.

It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one." And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama,

the wisdom to lead us with humility,

the courage to lead us with integrity,

the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans--united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you--forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone--forgive us.

When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve--forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations--and all people--will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,

for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

Check out the WhiteHouse.gov website...President Barack Hussein Obama





Change has come....click HERE

Inauguration Day (1993) - Maya Angelou reading "On the pulse of morning"

Inauguration Day - blast from the past - JFK's Inaugural Address

Part 1



Part 2



President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, January 20th 1961.

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolising an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage — and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge — to convert our good words into good deeds — in a new alliance for progress — to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbours know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support — to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective — to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak — and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course — both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.
So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms — and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah — to "undo the heavy burdens ... and to let the oppressed go free."

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our cause. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" — a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

Monday, January 19, 2009

LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? - Psalm 15



Psalm 15 Domine, quis habitabit?

1 LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? *
who may abide upon your holy hill?
2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, *
who speaks the truth from his heart.
3 There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend; *
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
4 In his sight the wicked is rejected, *
but he honors those who fear the LORD.
5 He has sworn to do no wrong *
and does not take back his word.
6 He does not give his money in hope of gain, *
nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
7 Whoever does these things *
shall never be overthrown.

"Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church," Martin Luther

Second, Martin Luther...on the church (again from Fr. Frank Logue at "Irenic Thoughts")


Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?
—Martin Luther (1483-1546)

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor

two great quotes from Fr. Frank Logue at "Irenic Thoughts"...just wonderful!
first...Desmond Tutu




If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Desmund Tutu (1931- )

Reflection on Ephesians 4:11-16

In the church we often say, "there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:4)...indeed. There are many gifts, and these gifts all emerge from the Spirit. The trick (and it ain't no easy one) is to discern just what we are called to do, what we are called to be! But, there is some clue that we are to be "joined" and "knit together" in this work - that this work and this living is not a solitary, individualized project; it is a communal one, one in which we are called to be for each other, that we are called to do this work in concert. I pray that as we embark on all the challenges facing us, that we remember that the challenges are "ours" and not any one faction, alone!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey



Ephesians 4:11-16

11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

Here comes the sun - George Harrison with Paul Simon

Paul Simon and George Harrison

Here comes the sun - Coldplay covers the Beatles

Coldplay's version is just amazing-the video is tolerable, but the music is great.

Here comes the sun - Bon Jovi covers the Beatles

Here comes the sun - Jewel covers the Beatles

Here comes the sun
sung by Jewel
Composer: George Harrison



Here comes the sun
sung by Jewel
Composer: George Harrison

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say it's all right
It's all right

It is well with my soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain


Words: Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford, 1873.

Music: Ville du Havre, Phil­ip P. Bliss, 1876

Bishop Gene Robinson's Prayer on Youtube

Bishop Gene Robinson's Prayer at the Lincoln Memorial now posted at Youtube....(thank God for youtube!) courtesy of Sarah Pulliam, a reporter from Christianity Today, and posted over at Episcopal Cafe! (no surprise there!)

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Rosa sat so Martin could walk so Obama could run so our children can fly

This is worth posting again....
~Peter+


Rosa sat
so Martin could walk
so Obama could run
so our children can fly

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Yes Virginia, Bishop Gene Robinson Was THERE!" and he gave a moving prayer


Yes! I found visual evidence that Bishop Gene Robinson did, indeed, offer a prayer today at the Lincoln Memorial, courtesy of the Caminante blog.

And, the prayer that he offered is posted all around the blogging block, which I found first over at the Episcopal Cafe.

Though HBO didn't broadcast Bishop Robinson's prayer before the big concert today, and though there are rumors that huge banks of speakers malfunctioned, he did offer a moving prayer that asked for God's blessing upon this nation and on our next president. Though I was critical HERE and HERE of Bishop Robinson's contention that he wouldn't give an explicitly Christian prayer, I applaud his thoughtfulness and prayerfulness. (I think he could have mentioned Jesus, after all, as Bishop Robinson said on the Rachel Maddow Show, "Jesus had a bigger tent than anyone"). I believe that Bishop Robinson offered a quite amazing and moving prayer that is one that not only asks for God's blessing but also names some of the torn edges of the fabric of our country, and encourages us to get to work!

Amen to that!






By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

AMEN.

Breaking News

Here are the top 10 Reasons that Bishop Robinson was Censored by HBO, click HERE or below
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/nka/2009/01/top-10-reasons-hbo-censored-ge.php

Hat tip goes to Scott over at "Seven Whole Days"

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing "This Land is Your Land" - UPDATE - HBO REMOVED IT

Gotta Love Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen (and a couple-hundred thousand friends) singing "This Land is Your Land"

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

HBO REMOVED IT! but check out another version of it at the bottom of this posting...



Here's a video which will work, for now!

"When I'm 64" ... Lance Armstrong 64th in first race in his comeback bid - but happy


"Back in the saddle … Lance Armstrong at yesterday's criterium in Adelaide." - photo credit: Reuters



Rupert Guinness of the Sydney Morning Herald
January 19, 2009

LANCE ARMSTRONG, racing with No.11 on his back, placed a modest 64th from 133 starters in his comeback race, the Cancer Council Classic, in Adelaide last night. But for the seven-time Tour de France champion it was one of the most significant results of his career.

In front of a record crowd estimated by police as being 138,000 strong, it was Robbie McEwen who claimed victory in the 51-kilometre criterium made up of 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit around Rymill Park to give his new Russian Katusha team their first win of the year.

But Armstrong's Astana team manager, Johan Bruyneel, who guided him through his seven Tour wins from 1999 to 2005 before he began his temporary three-year retirement, said: "It is a very special moment. Finally he could put a number back on his back and do a race. Now he is a racer again. He is not a guy who is training for a comeback."

Armstrong, meanwhile, was in high spirits after crossing the finish line in a group of 13 riders 23 seconds behind McEwen, who beat Dutchman Willem Stroetinga of the Milram team, and Sydneysider Graeme Brown, who races for Rabobank, to win the curtain-raiser to the Tour Down Under, which starts tomorrow and finishes after 802km on Sunday afternoon.

Armstrong conceded that the high speed and frenetic style of racing had been difficult but added that the greatest hazard was the blinding sun on one corner as it set at the end of a day where temperatures reached 33 degrees.

"That was fast. The last time I did something that fast a race was probably back in the States in the '90s. It is fun to get back in there," said Armstrong.

"I found it a little bit safer and easier in the back [of the peloton]. In the first 50 or 60 [positions] there was a bit of positioning happening.

"I was a little nervous in the corners. The hardest thing was the sun. On one corner you really had the sun in your eyes. After the sun went down it was all fine. That felt good.

"[But] I have trained a lot for this comeback and this race. I am glad the first day is over and we can now get into the [road] racing.

"It lets me relax a little bit more. There was a lot of anxiety before today."

Armstrong is looking forward to finding his racing legs in the steadier pace of racing on the open roads in the Tour Down Under.

"At that [criterium] tempo it will take a while, but the [road] race stages will slow down significantly and there will be more hills and I can use more power," he said.

"I think I will find it easier to adapt to road racing tempo. [But] it is good for the first day."

Read it all HERE

"Children run through and make faces at me"...Another Rumi Poem

I sometimes remember this poem when I consider the ways that being a parent has changed my daily life, and my daily prayer!


I used to be shy.
You made me sing.

I used to refuse things at table.
Now I shout for more wine.

In somber dignity, I used to sit
on my mat and pray.

Now children run through
and make faces at me.



Coleman Barks comments: "In China they tell of three laughing Taoist masters, who taught by going into town and standing in the marketplace and laughing. One of them died. People curious as to how the remaining two would act gathered at the funeral pyre. The other two masters had been given instructions not to prepare the body in any way, not even to change the clothes the dead man was wearing. He had crammed his pockets full of firecrackers. The teaching began again. Rumi's poems are like firecrackers on a funeral pyre. They won't allow much public posturing, and they point us away from misery."

(Coleman Barks with John Moyne, translators, The Essential Rumi, San Francsico, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995: p. 238)

"Don't go back to sleep," by Rumi


On a cold morning in January, Rumi has a few words for us today!

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

~Rumi

"Alive in Christ" - Youtube video from the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Nice introduction and welcome from the Episcopal Diocese of New York,




The Episcopal Diocese of New York: Our Worship, Ministry and Outreach

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution," Martin Luther King's Final Sunday Sermon, 31 March 1968, Washington National Cathedral

Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution






"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution," Martin Luther King's Final Sunday Sermon, 31 March 168, Washington National Cathedral

Read it all HERE

I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here this morning, to have the opportunity of standing in this very great and significant pulpit. And I do want to express my deep personal appreciation to Dean Sayre and all of the cathedral clergy for extending the invitation.

It is always a rich and rewarding experience to take a brief break from our day-to-day demands and the struggle for freedom and human dignity and discuss the issues involved in that struggle with concerned friends of goodwill all over our nation. And certainly it is always a deep and meaningful experience to be in a worship service. And so for many reasons, I’m happy to be here today.

I would like to use as a subject from which to preach this morning: "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution." The text for the morning is found in the book of Revelation. There are two passages there that I would like to quote, in the sixteenth chapter of that book: "Behold I make all things new; former things are passed away."

I am sure that most of you have read that arresting little story from the pen of Washington Irving entitled "Rip Van Winkle." The one thing that we usually remember about the story is that Rip Van Winkle slept twenty years. But there is another point in that little story that is almost completely overlooked. It was the sign in the end, from which Rip went up in the mountain for his long sleep.

When Rip Van Winkle went up into the mountain, the sign had a picture of King George the Third of England. When he came down twenty years later the sign had a picture of George Washington, the first president of the United States. When Rip Van Winkle looked up at the picture of George Washington—and looking at the picture he was amazed—he was completely lost. He knew not who he was.

And this reveals to us that the most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain a revolution was taking place that at points would change the course of history—and Rip knew nothing about it. He was asleep. Yes, he slept through a revolution. And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.

There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today. In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is a human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world. Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place. And there is still the voice crying through the vista of time saying, "Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away."

Now whenever anything new comes into history it brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. And I would like to deal with the challenges that we face today as a result of this triple revolution that is taking place in the world today.

First, we are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood.

Now it is true that the geographical oneness of this age has come into being to a large extent through modern man’s scientific ingenuity. Modern man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. And our jet planes have compressed into minutes distances that once took weeks and even months. All of this tells us that our world is a neighborhood.

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: "No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." And he goes on toward the end to say, "Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." We must see this, believe this, and live by it if we are to remain awake through a great revolution.

Secondly, we are challenged to eradicate the last vestiges of racial injustice from our nation. I must say this morning that racial injustice is still the black man’s burden and the white man’s shame.

It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly—to get rid of the disease of racism.

Something positive must be done. Everyone must share in the guilt as individuals and as institutions. The government must certainly share the guilt; individuals must share the guilt; even the church must share the guilt.

We must face the sad fact that at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning when we stand to sing "In Christ there is no East or West," we stand in the most segregated hour of America.

The hour has come for everybody, for all institutions of the public sector and the private sector to work to get rid of racism. And now if we are to do it we must honestly admit certain things and get rid of certain myths that have constantly been disseminated all over our nation.

One is the myth of time. It is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice. And there are those who often sincerely say to the Negro and his allies in the white community, "Why don’t you slow up? Stop pushing things so fast. Only time can solve the problem. And if you will just be nice and patient and continue to pray, in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out."

There is an answer to that myth. It is that time is neutral. It can be used wither constructively or destructively. And I am sorry to say this morning that I am absolutely convinced that the forces of ill will in our nation, the extreme rightists of our nation—the people on the wrong side—have used time much more effectively than the forces of goodwill. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."

Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Now there is another myth that still gets around: it is a kind of over reliance on the bootstrap philosophy. There are those who still feel that if the Negro is to rise out of poverty, if the Negro is to rise out of the slum conditions, if he is to rise out of discrimination and segregation, he must do it all by himself. And so they say the Negro must lift himself by his own bootstraps.

They never stop to realize that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. The people who say this never stop to realize that the nation made the black man’s color a stigma. But beyond this they never stop to realize the debt that they owe a people who were kept in slavery two hundred and forty-four years.

In 1863 the Negro was told that he was free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by Abraham Lincoln. But he was not given any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something like keeping a person in prison for a number of years and suddenly discovering that that person is not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. And you just go up to him and say, "Now you are free," but you don’t give him any bus fare to get to town. You don’t give him any money to get some clothes to put on his back or to get on his feet again in life.

Every court of jurisprudence would rise up against this, and yet this is the very thing that our nation did to the black man. It simply said, "You’re free," and it left him there penniless, illiterate, not knowing what to do. And the irony of it all is that at the same time the nation failed to do anything for the black man, though an act of Congress was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest. Which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.

But not only did it give the land, it built land-grant colleges to teach them how to farm. Not only that, it provided county agents to further their expertise in farming; not only that, as the years unfolded it provided low interest rates so that they could mechanize their farms. And to this day thousands of these very persons are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies every years not to farm. And these are so often the very people who tell Negroes that they must lift themselves by their own bootstraps. It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.

We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice.

There is another thing closely related to racism that I would like to mention as another challenge. We are challenged to rid our nation and the world of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, poverty spreads its nagging, prehensile tentacles into hamlets and villages all over our world. Two-thirds of the people of the world go to bed hungry tonight. They are ill-housed; they are ill-nourished; they are shabbily clad. I’ve seen it in Latin America; I’ve seen it in Africa; I’ve seen this poverty in Asia.

I remember some years ago Mrs. King and I journeyed to that great country known as India. And I never will forget the experience. It was a marvelous experience to meet and talk with the great leaders of India, to meet and talk with and to speak to thousands and thousands of people all over that vast country. These experiences will remain dear to me as long as the cords of memory shall lengthen.

But I say to you this morning, my friends, there were those depressing moments. How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes evidences of millions of people going to bed hungry at night? How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes God’s children sleeping on the sidewalks at night? In Bombay more than a million people sleep on the sidewalks every night. In Calcutta more than six hundred thousand sleep on the sidewalks every night. They have no beds to sleep in; they have no houses to go in. How can one avoid being depressed when he discovers that out of India’s population of more than five hundred million people, some four hundred and eighty million make an annual income of less than ninety dollars a year. And most of them have never seen a doctor or a dentist.

As I noticed these things, something within me cried out, "Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned?" And an answer came: "Oh no!" Because the destiny of the United States is tied up with the destiny of India and every other nation. And I started thinking of the fact that we spend in America millions of dollars a day to store surplus food, and I said to myself, "I know where we can store that food free of charge—in the wrinkled stomachs of millions of God’s children all over the world who go to bed hungry at night." And maybe we spend far too much of our national budget establishing military bases around the world rather than bases of genuine concern and understanding.

Not only do we see poverty abroad, I would remind you that in our own nation there are about forty million people who are poverty-stricken. I have seen them here and there. I have seen them in the ghettos of the North; I have seen them in the rural areas of the South; I have seen them in Appalachia. I have just been in the process of touring many areas of our country and I must confess that in some situations I have literally found myself crying.

I was in Marks, Mississippi, the other day, which is in Whitman County, the poorest county in the United States. I tell you, I saw hundreds of little black boys and black girls walking the streets with no shoes to wear. I saw their mothers and fathers trying to carry on a little Head Start program, but they had no money. The federal government hadn’t funded them, but they were trying to carry on. They raised a little money here and there; trying to get a little food to feed the children; trying to teach them a little something.

And I saw mothers and fathers who said to me not only were they unemployed, they didn’t get any kind of income—no old-age pension, no welfare check, no anything. I said, "How do you live?" And they say, "Well, we go around, go around to the neighbors and ask them for a little something. When the berry season comes, we pick berries. When the rabbit season comes, we hunt and catch a few rabbits. And that’s about it."

And I was in Newark and Harlem just this week. And I walked into the homes of welfare mothers. I saw them in conditions—no, not with wall-to-wall carpet, but wall-to-wall rats and roaches. I stood in an apartment and this welfare mother said to me, "The landlord will not repair this place. I’ve been here two years and he hasn’t made a single repair." She pointed out the walls with all the ceiling falling through. She showed me the holes where the rats came in. She said night after night we have to stay awake to keep the rats and roaches from getting to the children. I said, "How much do you pay for this apartment?" She said, "a hundred and twenty-five dollars." I looked, and I thought, and said to myself, "It isn’t worth sixty dollars." Poor people are forced to pay more for less. Living in conditions day in and day out where the whole area is constantly drained without being replenished. It becomes a kind of domestic colony. And the tragedy is, so often these forty million people are invisible because America is so affluent, so rich. Because our expressways carry us from the ghetto, we don’t see the poor.

Jesus told a parable one day, and he reminded us that a man went to hell because he didn’t see the poor. His name was Dives. He was a rich man. And there was a man by the name of Lazarus who was a poor man, but not only was he poor, he was sick. Sores were all over his body, and he was so weak that he could hardly move. But he managed to get to the gate of Dives every day, wanting just to have the crumbs that would fall from his table. And Dives did nothing about it. And the parable ends saying, "Dives went to hell, and there were a fixed gulf now between Lazarus and Dives."

There is nothing in that parable that said Dives went to hell because he was rich. Jesus never made a universal indictment against all wealth. It is true that one day a rich young ruler came to him, and he advised him to sell all, but in that instance Jesus was prescribing individual surgery and not setting forth a universal diagnosis. And if you will look at that parable with all of its symbolism, you will remember that a conversation took place between heaven and hell, and on the other end of that long-distance call between heaven and hell was Abraham in heaven talking to Dives in hell.

Now Abraham was a very rich man. If you go back to the Old Testament, you see that he was the richest man of his day, so it was not a rich man in hell talking with a poor man in heaven; it was a little millionaire in hell talking with a multimillionaire in heaven. Dives didn’t go to hell because he was rich; Dives didn’t realize that his wealth was his opportunity. It was his opportunity to bridge the gulf that separated him from his brother Lazarus. Dives went to hell because he was passed by Lazarus every day and he never really saw him. He went to hell because he allowed his brother to become invisible. Dives went to hell because he maximized the minimum and minimized the maximum. Indeed, Dives went to hell because he sought to be a conscientious objector in the war against poverty.

And this can happen to America, the richest nation in the world—and nothing’s wrong with that—this is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.

In a few weeks some of us are coming to Washington to see if the will is still alive or if it is alive in this nation. We are coming to Washington in a Poor People’s Campaign. Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. We are going to bring those who have known long years of hurt and neglect. We are going to bring those who have come to feel that life is a long and desolate corridor with no exit signs. We are going to bring children and adults and old people, people who have never seen a doctor or a dentist in their lives.

We are not coming to engage in any histrionic gesture. We are not coming to tear up Washington. We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read one day, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.

We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.

Why do we do it this way? We do it this way because it is our experience that the nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.

Great documents are here to tell us something should be done. We met here some years ago in the White House conference on civil rights. And we came out with the same recommendations that we will be demanding in our campaign here, but nothing has been done. The President’s commission on technology, automation and economic progress recommended these things some time ago. Nothing has been done. Even the urban coalition of mayors of most of the cities of our country and the leading businessmen have said these things should be done. Nothing has been done. The Kerner Commission came out with its report just a few days ago and then made specific recommendations. Nothing has been done.

And I submit that nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference.

Yes, it will be a Poor People’s Campaign. This is the question facing America. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. America has not met its obligations and its responsibilities to the poor.

One day we will have to stand before the God of history and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, we built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. Yes, we made our submarines to penetrate oceanic depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power.

It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, "That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me." That’s the question facing America today.

I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.

I am convinced that it is one of the most unjust wars that has ever been fought in the history of the world. Our involvement in the war in Vietnam has torn up the Geneva Accord. It has strengthened the military-industrial complex; it has strengthened the forces of reaction in our nation. It has put us against the self-determination of a vast majority of the Vietnamese people, and put us in the position of protecting a corrupt regime that is stacked against the poor.

It has played havoc with our domestic destinies. This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.

Not only that, it has put us in a position of appearing to the world as an arrogant nation. And here we are ten thousand miles away from home fighting for the so-called freedom of the Vietnamese people when we have not even put our own house in order. And we force young black men and young white men to fight and kill in brutal solidarity. Yet when they come back home that can’t hardly live on the same block together.

The judgment of God is upon us today. And we could go right down the line and see that something must be done—and something must be done quickly. We have alienated ourselves from other nations so we end up morally and politically isolated in the world. There is not a single major ally of the United States of America that would dare send a troop to Vietnam, and so the only friends that we have now are a few client-nations like Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and a few others.

This is where we are. "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind," and the best way to start is to put an end to war in Vietnam, because if it continues, we will inevitably come to the point of confronting China which could lead the whole world to nuclear annihilation.

It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.

This is why I felt the need of raising my voice against that war and working wherever I can to arouse the conscience of our nation on it. I remember so well when I first took a stand against the war in Vietnam. The critics took me on and they had their say in the most negative and sometimes most vicious way.

One day a newsman came to me and said, "Dr. King, don’t you think you’re going to have to stop, now, opposing the war and move more in line with the administration’s policy? As I understand it, it has hurt the budget of your organization, and people who once respected you have lost respect for you. Don’t you feel that you’ve really got to change your position?" I looked at him and I had to say, "Sir, I’m sorry you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader. I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I’ve not taken a sort of Gallup Poll of the majority opinion." Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?

There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of goodwill to come with a massive act of conscience and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "We ain’t goin’ study war no more." This is the challenge facing modern man.

Let me close by saying that we have difficult days ahead in the struggle for justice and peace, but I will not yield to a politic of despair. I’m going to maintain hope as we come to Washington in this campaign. The cards are stacked against us. This time we will really confront a Goliath. God grant that we will be that David of truth set out against the Goliath of injustice, the Goliath of neglect, the Goliath of refusing to deal with the problems, and go on with the determination to make America the truly great America that it is called to be.

I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.

Before the Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. Before the beautiful words of the "Star Spangled Banner" were written, we were here.

For more than two centuries our forebearers labored here without wages. They made cotton king, and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of the most humiliating and oppressive conditions. And yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to grow and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn’t stop us, the opposition that we now face will surely fail.

We’re going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. And so, however dark it is, however deep the angry feelings are, and however violent explosions are, I can still sing "We Shall Overcome."

We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

We shall overcome because Carlyle is right—"No lie can live forever."

We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right—"Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again."

We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right—as we were singing earlier today,

Truth forever on the scaffold,

Wrong forever on the throne.

Yet that scaffold sways the future.

And behind the dim unknown stands God,

Within the shadow keeping watch above his own.

With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair the stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

Thank God for John, who centuries ago out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos caught vision of a new Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, who heard a voice saying, "Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away."

God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this magnificent development. If we will but do it, we will bring about a new day of justice and brotherhood and peace. And that day the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy. God bless you.

Delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968. Congressional Record, 9 April 1968.