“Life” Is All About Who?!


It’s Monday … So, I’d like to be the first to say “Thank You” for reading these e-mails that I send out. Last Friday, I got a few responses about the content regarding Bob Marley and Brian Williams … Thank you for reading and also for responding … not that you have to … but it is nice! I will write you back, as those of you who reply know!

It is the second week of Black History Month and there is a lot of information being disseminated by a variety of sources … reliable sources that is! As I have been doing research for my presentation this coming Sunday focusing on “Africans, African Americans and Spirituality”, I have come across some interesting information! What about you? You do know that in 1965 … 50 years ago … voting rights were withheld from Blacks … in Selma, AL … don’t you!? You do know that the protesters at the Edmund Pettus Bridge who were also unarmed and practicing non-violent passive resistance were beaten with clubs and bats, punched and kicked, trampled and even attacked by dogs … were mostly black … 50 years ago … I just turned 60 … What about you? Now, the irony to me is that those of “us” who have benefited from the sacrificial behavior of those non-violent protesters will dare to call them “ignorant” or “too peaceful” even “shuffling negros”!

Dr. King’s life was not his, if you know what I mean. He dedicated “his” life for others. Did anybody tell him to do that? Do any of us have any idea of the depth of the suffering of the peaceful marchers, seeking full civil rights for ALL? One person whom King deemed instrumental in honing his strategy of utilizing “non-violent passive resistance” is Mahatma Gandhi. Those of you who know Gandhi, a lawyer educated in Europe, returned “home” to India and began resisting the horrific colonial environment that the British held them under, will understand how King harnessed this social activist movement – the civil rights movement. Gandhi had successfully utilized the concept of “non-violent passive resistance” there in India before King tried it here. This, I argue, is true spirituality. Where does one find the commitment, the strength and the peace to challenge evil like this? Any suggestions?

Conflict can often lead to strength and unity … even understanding … if we approach it correctly. Some folks have to “be right”, like between a husband and wife, rather than seek to resolve the conflict, perhaps, by conceding somethings … mostly ones ego. Now, I confess that I was listening to some of the televangelists Sunday morning as I just relaxed at home for once in a long time. One in particular was discussing how hard it is for some folks to “put those fully loaded guns down” in the midst of an argument, one that is heating up and getting nasty!! Isn’t this a perfect time to diffuse the conflict and seek a solution? Yet, it does require a tremendous amount of spiritual maturity that most folks don’t believe in, let alone seek to develop. Try backing down sometimes, just “shut the front door”, also known as ones mouth, and listen to what the other person is saying … It might not be all about you. Another of the televangelists preached on “not allowing oneself to be defined by ones mistakes (or condition) in life”. He used several Bible references regarding “a eunich”, but not his name; a leper, but not her name either! We can rise above being ” a drug addict” (be careful, those who live because of prescription medication aka “drugs”), an alcoholic … even a liar. If necessary, the next time you have that urge … to label someone and limit them based on YOUR “diagnosis” … think of something that they did right; besides, “they” are still here!!! They must be doing something right!!

Just remember that this journey may not be all about YOU!! It’s hard to believe sometimes, but those who put others challenges and issues on their “own plates”, are enacting the true meaning of the church … lifting each other up. You don’t need religion to tell anybody that! Just some thoughts … just some feelings. Take what you can use and leave the rest right here!


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
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