Thursday, January 31, 2013

10 Motivational Quotes and Tips for Hard Times


10 Motivational Quotes and Tips for Hard Times

10 Motivational Quotes and Tips for Hard Times
Just a few motivational quotes and tips for those troubled times when you need a quick dose of inspiration.

1.  Accepting Life’s Challenges

“The brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out.  The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.  Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.  They’re there to stop the other people.”
–Randy Pausch
In every life there are great challenges, and in every challenge there are great doses of life to be lived.
Whether you judge a challenge to be a problem or an opportunity says more about you than about the challenge itself.  The way you choose to see the world isthe way your world will be.  This is what gives life its magic; it’s a continuous, dynamic phenomenon that becomes exactly what you choose to make it.
Do something extraordinary.  Accept life’s opportunities.  Realize that if you never step up to a challenge that’s a bit over your head, you’ll never know how tall you truly are.  Rise to each challenge and continue adding value to the ever-growing possibilities that await your brilliance.

2.  Working Hard

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”  –Beverly Sills
When you’re young you have this fantasy that super successful adults – writers, musicians, doctors, businessmen, etc. – have some kind of magical chest of toolsallowing them to build masterpieces that are larger than life.  You fanaticize about a hammer of creativity, a pliers of efficiency, a saw of wisdom, and so on and so forth.
But then you grow up and you realize, for the most part, everyone is working with the same set of imperfect, rusty, old tools – desire, commitment, honesty, kindness, love, persistence, etc.  And as flawed and bent as they may be, they work wonders against the odds when you truly put them to the test.  Read The Success Principles.

3.  Choosing Wisely

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  –J.K. Rowling
The universe – people, books, life experience, etc. – can only give you good advice, but you ultimately decide what to do with it.
Life is ticking away every second.  The worst thing is spending your entire life drowning slowly and not being able to convince yourself that you are in full control, and that you can easily save yourself by simply standing up.
This is your life, made up entirely of your choices, your actions, your thoughts, your relationships, etc.  Someday you will either decide to save yourself or remain unsaved forever.

4.  Growing from Problems

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  –Friedrich Nietzsche
Times of great difficulty are times of great opportunity.  These times may not seem ideal at first, but they usually provide keen insight into ideas of great value.  When you are surrounded by problems, you are simultaneously given an opportunity to provide valuable solutions.
When times are good and everything is comfortably in order, it’s easy to become complacent and forget how skillful and resourceful you are capable of being.  Troubled times are necessary evils that push you forward, because they eventually end, and the lessons and strengths you gain from them last a lifetime.

5.  Laughing it Off

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  –Veronica Roth
If you wish to measure your success in life, don’t bother analyzing your bank account, or your job description, or your relationship status, or your weight, or any other superficial badge society loves to pin on your resume.  Just count the moments you spend peacefully in laughter.  That’s what success is – living happily in your own way, and laughing at the highs, the lows, and all the ridiculous moments in between.
Do what you need to do, but don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh whenever you can because you can.  There’s honestly nothing like deep breaths after a good chuckle – nothing in the whole wide world like a sore tummy and cheeks for all the right reasons.  Read Learned Optimism.

6.  Staying True to Yourself

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”  –Rita Mae Brown
To make a positive difference in your life you must sometimes be different andtake the road less traveled.  It requires courage to go against the grain like this, especially when the people around you are confused and irritated by your choices; but such courage can bring great rewards when you stick to your guns.
Where others see only shadows of uncertainty, look for glimmers of opportunity.  When you encounter rudeness and irritation, generously offer polite doses of confident patience.  When you bump up against arrogance, dilute the negativity with your own sincere, self-assured humility.
Just because everyone is heading in a one direction doesn’t mean you must go that way too.  On the contrary, it’s a valuable opportunity for you to step aside and figure out where you truly want to go.

7.  Fighting for Your Dreams

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt
When things don’t go right, it doesn’t mean you have to go wrong along with them.  Goals and dreams are kind of like breathing – once you give up, there’s no hope left.  Don’t do that to yourself.
It’s always too early to quit.  You must continue breathing, even if it’s just a series of short, shallow breaths.  Continue putting forth even the smallest efforts to sustain your dreams.  Accept the fact that if you fight through the challenges, there is always a chance you might lose, but if you do not fight at all, you have already lost.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

8.  Deciding to Change

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  –H. Jackson Brown Jr.
If you’re not where you want to be right now, take the time to visualize yourself in the place you want to be and take the first step in that direction.  You may not be able to change your destination in a day, but you can change your direction right now.
Keep moving along this new path and it will eventually lead you to your destination.

9.  Being Present

“It’s being here now that’s important.  There’s no past and there’s no future.  Time is a very misleading thing.  All there is ever, is the now.  We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”  –George Harrison
Do not wish your moments away.  Do not ruin today by focusing on another time and place.  There is only now; realize how rich you are in it.  It stands to reason that if you learn to live well you will eventually pass on well too, in complete peace.  The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and brave, and thankful for all the opportunities you have.
Make your time count.  Right now you are creating history – your legacy.  Don’t let it slip by without being aware of it.  Life works in a strange way:  You want something and you work and wait and work and wait, and feel like it’s taking forever to come.  Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is relive all the great memories you made along the way.
Happiness is the journey.  Open your eyes.  Don’t miss it.  Read The Power of Now.

10.  Being Thankful

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”  –Walt Whitman
You are right here, right now, breathing.  Enjoy it.  You’ve got nothing to do today accept to smile.
Happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are.  It’s not about changing and achieving all the time, it’s about being and appreciating.  And you can nearly always enjoy the things happening around you if you make up your mind firmly that you will.
Photo by: Hartwig HKD

Thomas Merton, born 31 January 1915

Happy Birthday to Thomas Merton, 98 years ago!






Thomas MertonO.C.S.O. (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappistmonk of the Abbey of GethsemaniKentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.[1][2][3]

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spiritualitysocial justice and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews, including his best-selling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teen-agers flocking to monasteries across the US,[4][5] and was also featured in National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.[6] Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton has also been the subject of several biographies.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is getting in the way?




A question for reflection as we prepare for Lent (in two weeks):

What is getting in the way of you living the abundant life?


Be more Awesome! New world record for biggest wave surfed reportedly set in Portugal

Wow, check out these surfers!

Live the abundant life! Be more awesome!

~Peter



New world record for biggest wave surfed reportedly set in Portugal

Hawaiian pro surfer Garrett McNamara rode the amazing wave, over 100 feet high, which awaits confirmation by Guinness World Records officials.

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Reports state that McNamara broke his own world record for the largest wave ever surfed on January 29 in Nazare, Portugal.

TO MANE/EPA

McNamara reportedly broke his own world record for the largest wave ever surfed, in Nazare, Portugal.

A Hawaiian professional surfer has likely broken his own world record by riding a towering wave off the coast of Portugal thought to be more than 100 feet high.
Garrett McNamara surfed the extraordinary wave Monday off the coast of Nazare, about 75 miles north of Lisbon.
Video of the incredible event captured McNamara, 45, climbing a series of rising waves in blue choppy waters, before ascending to the peak of a particularly bodacious breaker.
SURF30N_1_WEB

PAULO CUNHA/EPA

Hawaiian surfers Garrett McNamara, down, and Kealli Mamala surf off the coast of Nazare, Portugal, January 29.

McNamara is seen riding the enormous cascading wave before falling to the sea.
His feat is thought to have set the new world record for tallest wave surfed. If that proves to be the case, McNamara will have broken the previously existing record, set by him, of 78 feet, which he did at the same location in November 2011.
Guinness World Records officials will being their verification process of the wave shortly.
SURF30N_2_WEB

PAULO CUNHA/EPA

Kealli Mamala surfs the waves near Nazare, Portugal.

Following his epic accomplishment, the pro surfer took to Twitter to thank his fans.
“Thank you for all your support. It means the world to me. Today was an awesome day and so fun to be out there,” McNamara tweeted.
“Oh how I love Nazare. Can’t wait for next year!!!”


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/new-record-set-biggest-wave-surfed-article-1.1250687#ixzz2JT18LrQY

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'types and images of Christ'




‎"When he was a young man, the Puritan preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards used to wander the eighteenth-century New England woods, notebook tucked under one arm, scouring the landscape for what he called 'types and images of Christ.' As he understood it, a 'type' was a kind of shadow, impression, or figure of divine speech that God the Creator, in a kind of playful cosmic poetry, has strewn across the world for our benefit: the shape of a leaf, the industry of a spider, the beauty of a flower. In each of these, Edwards saw reflections of Christ and the 'good news' of the Christian gospel. And though few people today explore the woods quite the way Edwards did, can we imagine a modern analogy? Can you walk through your life, notebook tucked under one arm, scouring the landscape for reflections of Christ, beauty, joy, good news? And when you find one, in a face or a lily or a breathtaking vista, can you dare to imagine of this shining little passage in the 'Book of Nature,' de te loquitur, 'it's talking about you'? Not only about you, of course, but still 'about you' all the same?"

M. M. Boulton, from "On Our Way: Christian Practices for Living a Whole Life", p32-33.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cheers Theme Song ~ lots of wisdom here!

There is a lot of wisdom here!




Cheers Theme Song


Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. 
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 

Wouldn't you like to get away? 

Sometimes you want to go 

Where everybody knows your name, 
and they're always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 

You wanna go where people know, 
people are all the same, 
You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name. 

Full Lyrics never actually aired 

Making your way in the world today 
Takes everything you've got; 
Taking a break from all your worries 
Sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn't you like to get away? 

All those night when you've got no lights, 
The check is in the mail; 
And your little angel 
Hung the cat up by it's tail; 
And your third fiance didn't show; 

Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
And they're always glad you came; 
You want to be where you can see, 
Our troubles are all the same; 
You want to be where everybody knows your name. 

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead; 
The morning's looking bright; 
And your shrink ran off to Europe, 
And didn't even write; 
And your husband wants to be a girl; 

Be glad there's one place in the world 
Where everybody knows your name, 
And they're always glad you came; 
You want to go where people know, 
People are all the same; 
You want to go where everybody knows your name. 

Where everybody knows your name, 
And they're always glad you came; 
Where everybody knows your name, 
And they're always glad you came...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King's final Sunday Sermon ~ 31 March 1968 Remaining awake through a great revolution


Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution






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