Posted by Kendall Harmon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered a curfew Saturday in the city of Ferguson and declared a state of emergency after fresh violence erupted overnight amid public anger over the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer.

The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.

“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.

The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.

Read it all and join us in praying for all invovled.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyRace/Race RelationsViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just and eternal God, we offer thanks for the stalwart faith and persistence of thy servants William Wilberforce and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, who, undeterred by opposition and failure, held fast to a vision of justice in which no child of yours might suffer in enforced servitude and misery. Grant that we, drawn by that same Gospel vision, may persevere in serving the common good and caring for those who have been cast down, that they may be raised up through Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 30, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Politicians around the country speak of him reverently, casting him as the sagacious Obi-Wan Kenobi (or maybe Yoda) of local government and noting that no current mayor of a well-known city has lasted so long.

“To maintain enormous popularity in your city and equal reservoirs of respect professionally among your peers — I don’t think there’s anyone who’s been able to do that like he has,” Stephen Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, told me.

I had to visit him. I was exhausted with all the cynicism, including my own, about politics and politicians, and I craved something and someone sunnier. I was curious about the perspective of a leader who had clearly gotten a whole lot right.

What makes for good governance? Riley’s observations warranted attention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bryan Giemza] recommends her recently released Prayer Journal and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” as good starting points for students. Her journal allows him to “point out the various prayer traditions she canvasses and how she shared in the aspirations and worries of someone their age, albeit someone with an incredible depth of field, spiritually speaking. She commands respect that way.” I like Giemza’s method in teaching her popular story. He tells students “things tend towards their ends, that we are creatures of habit, and that virtue has to be practiced. I give them a series of statements to respond to, like ‘I’m basically a good person.’ A majority of my students agree with that position, and aren’t aware that it flies in the face of orthodoxy, and certainly goes against Flannery O’Connor’s belief. They’re usually stunned to learn that no less an authority than Christ said that no man is good. And those who condemn the grandmother have to be shown their own warts, just like those who despise the mother in ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge,’ (pdf) with her patronizing coin, need to be reminded of the story of the widow’s mite.”

O’Connor is one of the best at peeling back our public covers and showing those warts. Like so many writers chided for their disturbing content, criticisms of her work are often less about the texts themselves, and more about our refusals as readers, students, and teachers to examine our own lives. Perhaps even more than her odd characters, it is the “stark racism” of O’Connor’s world that pushes away some of Giemza’s students. But Giemza doesn’t want them to blink; “the danger . . . is that students who (think they) live in a post-racial age must still contend with the sins of the fathers, and I am surprised by how many can blithely accept that those sins have been expiated. Perhaps they don’t see its urgency, but here in the region that helped the nation understand its first fall (i.e. the legacies of our foundation in slavery), we have a duty to try to come to grips with it. It remains the essence of the fallen-ness in her work, and its insistence that God is no respecter of persons or the hierarchies of the temporal order, which can be inverted at a stroke.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPoetry & LiteratureRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureTeens / YouthWomenYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted July 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would guess that most blog readers know little about this remarkable Anglican. Please avail yourselves of the many resources here to learn more.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Charismatic and passionate warm and wise, formidable without being forbidding, American author and poet Maya Angelou, who has died aged 86, was a role model and an activist who recorded and celebrated the experience of being black in the United States.

Not everyone appreciated her lush prose style, there were raised eyebrows at the inconsistencies in her different accounts of her life, and some conservative Americans protested at what they saw as her books' frank treatment of violence and sexuality.

But few could quarrel with the breadth of her erudition and her achievement - she was often called a Renaissance woman - or the respect in which she was held.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & LiteratureRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kate Haugan was standing backstage early that afternoon about three weeks ago, waiting to be fitted with a wireless microphone. In less than an hour, she and the rest of the cast members would take the stage at the Jewish Community Center here for the final performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The play was adapted, of course, from Harper Lee’s classic novel about the confrontation between bigotry and tolerance in 1930s Alabama, and it fit into this particular Jewish Community Center’s taste for drama with a conscience: “The Laramie Project,” “Next to Normal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Even more than the others, “To Kill a Mockingbird” had proved a roaring success, nearly selling out the five previous shows.

Just then, the stage manager, Jayson Chandley, raced past Ms. Haugan, shouting: “There’s a shooter out front! Stay out of the hallways!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/PlaysViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live?

The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.

But to live,—to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,—this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,—this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,—came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Long before his wounds were healed, Legree insisted that he should be put to the regular field-work; and then came day after day of pain and weariness, aggravated by every kind of injustice and indignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind could devise. Whoever, in our circumstances, has made trial of pain, even with all the alleviations which, for us, usually attend it, must know the irritation that comes with it. Tom no longer wondered at the habitual surliness of his associates; nay, he found the placid, sunny temper, which had been the habitude of his life, broken in on, and sorely strained, by the inroads of the same thing. He had flattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but there was no such thing as leisure there. In the height of the season, Legree did not hesitate to press all his hands through, Sundays and week-days alike. Why shouldn't he?—he made more cotton by it, and gained his wager; and if it wore out a few more hands, he could buy better ones. At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Is it strange that the religious peace and trust, which had upborne him hitherto, should give way to tossings of soul and despondent darkness? The gloomiest problem of this mysterious life was constantly before his eyes,—souls crushed and ruined, evil triumphant, and God silent. It was weeks and months that Tom wrestled, in his own soul, in darkness and sorrow. He thought of Miss Ophelia's letter to his Kentucky friends, and would pray earnestly that God would send him deliverance. And then he would watch, day after day, in the vague hope of seeing somebody sent to redeem him; and, when nobody came, he would crush back to his soul bitter thoughts,—that it was vain to serve God, that God had forgotten him. He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimes, when summoned to the house, caught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmeline, but held very little communion with either; in fact, there was no time for him to commune with anybody.

--Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out--still so chilling and sobering so many years later.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Dr. Houck, a believing Christian, the preponderance of these sermons got at what he considered a neglected aspect of civil rights history. As much as the movement fought for political rights, it also catalyzed a theological struggle about whether God wanted black people to be treated equally, as his children, or unequally in accordance with certain biblical passages condoning slavery.

“I saw the extent to which Christians used the Scripture to shield their own prejudices,” Dr. Houck said. “These white ministers with Ph.D.’s and enormous congregations were saying, ‘If you need a scriptural warrant to go on with your way of life, here it is.’ That was a hard one to look in the mirror on.”

So it struck him as both revelatory and redemptive to find a white minister in quite possibly the most volatile racial setting of its time — a place where townspeople routinely dismissed the reported murders as a hoax perpetrated by outside agitators to embarrass the South — willing “to stand up and call out the Klan.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 9:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopalians are obliged to violate earthly laws in order to advance the higher law established by God, the dean of Washington National Cathedral said on February 24. During a panel on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the Very Rev. Gary R. Hall cited the actions of Episcopalians in the 1960s to desegregate the racially divided church.

Hall said every faith community has to decide whether it is prepared to engage in “disturbing the peace.” Otherwise, he asked, “Are we protectors of the status quo?”

“The church sometimes has to break the law,” he said, “in the service of a higher law.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders of the Episcopal Church in Alabama were vocal in their belief that slavery was a benign institution. "Its members tended to be disproportionaately slaveowners," Vaughn said. "They believed there wasn't any discrepancy between the Christian message and slave ownership. They didn't see any conflict at all. They were blinded by their financial self-interests."

One of the towering but controversial figures in Alabama's church history was Bishop C.C.J. Carpenter, who was scolded by both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and by Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who took part in marches in Selma in 1965 and was killed in Hayneville protecting a black girl from a shotgun blast. Daniels defied Carpenter, coming to Alabama in spite of Carpenter's warning to outside agitators. Daniels and other Episcopal seminarians picketed Carpenter House, the diocesan headquarters in Birmingham, and wrote that "The Carpenter of Birmingham must not be allowed to forever deny the Carpenter of Nazareth," in a harsh letter to Carpenter.

"I think Carpenter was a great bishop in many ways," Vaughn said. "He's remembered as a kindly, warm grandfatherly figure. He increased membership; he increased the budget. He just didn't get it though when it came to the civil rights movement."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Peter Randolph, a slave in Prince George County, Virginia, until he was freed in 1847, described the secret prayer meetings he had attended as a slave. "Not being allowed to hold meetings on the plantation," he wrote, "the slaves assemble in the swamp, out of reach of the patrols. They have an understanding among themselves as to the time and place. … This is often done by the first one arriving breaking boughs from the trees and bending them in the direction of the selected spot.

"After arriving and greeting one another, men and women sat in groups together. Then there was "preaching … by the brethren, then praying and singing all around until they generally feel quite happy...."

It is a remarkable event not merely because of the risks incurred (200 lashes of the whip often awaited those caught at such a meeting) but because of the hurdles overcome merely to arrive at this moment. For decades all manner of people and circumstances conspired against African Americans even hearing the gospel, let alone responding to it in freedom and joy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Theology

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Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twenty years ago, in 1994, democracy finally came to South Africa, the wealthiest and most powerful nation of sub-Saharan Africa. Most South Africans would agree that the subsequent years have been difficult, and levels of violence and poverty remain intolerably high. But the turn to majority rule was a massive political and moral achievement, to which Christian churches contributed mightily.

Beginning in the 1960s the antiapartheid cause featured centrally in Christian debates worldwide over political activism and the legitimacy of armed resistance to tyranny. Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu became perhaps the best-known face of the antiapartheid movement.

Obviously, the churches that struggled against apartheid did so from a sense of religious obligation and not with any thought of advancing their own power or influence. But with 20 years of political freedom behind us, what can we say about the religious consequences of the revolution? Who were the winners and losers? And has religious radicalism faded from political life?

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism

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Posted January 24, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nation will mark the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday (Jan. 20) with speeches, prayers and volunteer service.

But for decades, retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White has marked the holiday in a more personal way: He writes a “birthday letter” to the civil rights leader who was killed in 1968.

“It was a way to get kind of a year’s assessment on what the nation was accomplishing and not accomplishing in the area of race,” said White, a bishop-in-residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology for the last decade.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 20, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Michael] Gilbreath (a CT editor at large) hearkens back to the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, to the world of Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other heroic Christian leaders. Today, we idolize these figures for leading a beleaguered people to the Promised Land. But as Birmingham Revolution makes clear, the civil rights movement was no slam dunk. Uncertainty, scarce resources, and outside hostility could have ground its progress to a halt.
The Birmingham campaign was pivotal. On the heels of defeat in Albany, Georgia, victory in Birmingham restored the movement's momentum. Failure could have crippled it, by drying up funding, discrediting the nonviolent method, and validating fears that the leaders were—take your pick—extremists, rabble-rousers, too Christian, not Christian enough, too Southern, or insufficiently urban.
How—amid the noise and ambiguity, the internal struggles and self-doubts, the bone-deep weariness and constant fear of death—did the Birmingham leaders maintain their focus? And how might their example instruct the church today? Gilbreath gives four answers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” – a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. -- Camilo José Vergara

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans err if we believe that it's only a black responsibility to right the social wrongs of racial inequality. It's a white responsibility, too — and a Christian responsibility. Why Christians? It's not that other faiths can't do their part as well, but Christians — by sheer number and religious tradition — could be our best hope.

History shows that the teachings of Christianity hold an undeniable power to inspire positive social movements and call Americans to conscience, as they did during King's time. Many Christians will be the first to tell you they should be held to a higher standard — because their religion insists on it.

Let's improve educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans. Let's acknowledge and root out the racism that mocks the American ideal. Let's reject the harmful message of the prosperity gospel and reclaim the best of the nation's black church tradition, with Christians — white as well as black — leading the charge for the dispossessed.

As the distinguished columnist Roger Cohen recently reminded, it is on the matter of race where one finds the greatest gulf between American behavior and American ideals. Will history find the same gap between Christian behavior and Christian ideals?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 87, the Rev. C.T. Vivian can still recall the moment, decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

As he stood to conclude a meeting in his Atlanta home, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. joined his activist colleagues in song, his eyes closed, rocking back and forth on his heels.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” they sang, “to make the wounded whole.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryMusicRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it–and I believe he is right–he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama–in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison MinistryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to listen and read and ponder it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Having a racially diverse church remains more dream than reality for most Protestant pastors. More than eight in ten (85 percent) say every church should strive for racial diversity, according to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

But few have diverse flocks.

Most (86 percent) say their congregation is predominately one racial or ethnic group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionRace/Race Relations

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was the small details which made the latest case of modern day slavery such uncomfortable reading.

Life has never been particularly kind to Craig Kinsella. Suffering from moderate learning difficulties and with an IQ of no more than 85, he has often struggled to keep the frayed edges of his world from unravelling. Even before last summer he bore the emotional scars of his own abusive childhood and of having watched his own two children being taken into care and his marriage break down.

Yet nothing could match the heartache inflicted on him by David and Donna Rooke and their son Jamie.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...far from intimidating others, the trial and defrocking of Mr. Schaefer have galvanized a wave of Methodist ministers to step forward to disobey church prohibitions against marrying and ordaining openly gay people.

Members of the United Methodist Church, the nation’s third-largest Christian denomination, have been battling bitterly over homosexuality for four decades. The church now faces an increasingly determined uprising by clergy members and laypeople who have refused to cede, even after losing the most recent votes, at the Methodist convention last year, on proposals to change church teaching.

“After 40 years of playing nice and attempting a legislative solution, we will not wait any longer,” said Matt Berryman, a former Methodist pastor who said he turned in his credentials because he is gay. He now serves as the executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a Methodist gay rights group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyRace/Race RelationsSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Michael O. Emerson's review begins this way:
So you want to have a multiracial, multicultural church. Music, you decide, is an important vehicle to get there.

But what type of music? This is the core question of Gerardo Marti's fascinating new book, Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation (Oxford University Press), and one that occupies the minds of many a Christian leader attempting to do multiethnic ministry.

Marti's answer is shocking....It doesn't matter what type(s) of music.
This one looks very interesting--check it out.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBooksMusicRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By the mid-1850s, polygamy, which had originally been the largely secret practice of the Mormon elite, had come out of the closet. Polygamists claimed that attacks on “plural marriage” were violations of their right to religious freedom. Later, some would bring lawsuits asking judges to invalidate laws against polygamy as unconstitutional. One of these cases would make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Apologists for polygamy denied that plural marriage was harmful to children, and challenged supporters of the ban on polygamy to prove that the existence of polygamous families in American society harmed their own monogamous marriages. They insisted that they merely wanted the right to be married in their own way and left alone.

But the Republicans stood their ground, refusing to be intimidated by the invective being hurled against them. They knew that polygamy and slavery were morally wrong and socially corrosive. And they were prepared to act on their moral convictions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

2 Comments
Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Longtime U2 musician and veteran activist Bono, who spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela, speaks about his friend.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMusicRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

1 Comments
Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When, after 27 years, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, the world marveled at his generous spirit, even temperament, genteel manners, disarming wit, ready smile and lack of bitterness.

Admirable as they were, those saintly virtues don’t begin to explain his political genius. Mandela was also cunning, iron-willed, bull-headed, contemptuous — and more embittered than he let on. He needed all of his traits — soft and hard — to engineer a political miracle: persuading a sitting government to negotiate its own abdication by yielding power to the very people it had ruthlessly oppressed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Powell said that Mr Mandela was a guide to him when he became the first black US secretary of state:

What I liked telling people was I was the first secretary of state who happened to be black, and I put that descriptor behind the title. We have to get beyond these labels depending upon your gender or your colour or your background. I'm proud of being black, and I'm proud of being an immigrant of British subjects, but at the same time I want to be seen as an American. And I think Nelson Mandela was able to create that kind of an image within South Africa. We are not black South Africans or white South Africans, we are South Africans who happen to be black or white. We are one family, one nation, one people.

Read it all and watch the whole video clip (approximately 3 1/4 minutes).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler — these were the names that, for much of the world, defined the first half of the 20th century, the most destructive era in history.

Gandhi, King, Mandela — these, it could be argued, are the figures who will live longest in the public consciousness as we look back on the postwar world: leaders who had no real armies to speak of and who wielded little power in office but who helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchPrison/Prison MinistryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

0 Comments
Posted December 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Millburn Township resident T. Felder Dorn will present his latest book, "Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops Confront Slavery, Civil War, and Emancipation," Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., at the Millburn Free Public Library, 200 Glen Ave....

Dorn, who grew up as a Southern Baptist in South Carolina, converted to the Episcopalian faith soon after he landed his first faculty position at Sewanee: The University of the South, an institution of the Episcopal Church, located in Tennessee. "Challenges on the Emmaus Road" covers the period between 1840 and 1875 as it examines the words and actions of Episcopal bishops of that era, first concerning slavery, and then concerning the events and issues spawned by that institution. The responses to these events and issues by both Southern and Northern bishops are discussed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kimberla Lawson Roby stood near the pulpit of a Baptist church in this Atlanta suburb one Saturday in late August, giving her testimony. She spoke of infidelities, mistresses, blackmail, out-of-wedlock children and extravagant spending. She did so as neither minister or worshiper, but rather as a novelist telling scores of rapt fans about her fictional characters.

...for the past 13 years ...[she has been] writing a series of novels built around an African-American pastor, the Rev. Curtis Black. The series, now numbering 10 books, has sold well upward of one million copies, and several titles have made best-seller lists.

Besides being a commercial phenomenon, Ms. Roby’s books represent a theological and cultural one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted October 7, 2013 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ben Phillips explained to me that when he became the principal of a strong Christian school following his years in Memphis public schools, "I wanted more minority students. I think a big part of the problem is that they were closed out by price." So far, the response of conservative Christians has been to advocate for taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. That project, however, has been fraught with difficulty both because of perceived church-state issues (a modest legal problem) and the resistance of public school supporters—worried about budgets already—to allow any resources to go to the private school system, which they perceive, correctly, to stand in judgment of their own efforts (a much bigger political problem).

Assuming a continuing deadlock over the issue of school choice, the best answer may be for conservative Christians to find other ways to create greater access to their institutions for those from whom they are suspected of fleeing. It is a burden of history not easily shrugged off, even by generations who did not make the world in which they live. We inherit debts other than the kind governments incur on their balance sheets. But the racial unification of the American church might best begin in the Christian schoolhouse before it takes hold in the Sunday services. It is a home mission (as the Baptists might call it) awaiting a champion and a movement.  

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted October 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was gray and overcast on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963. Some rain had fallen in the night, but no one knew that the heavens would weep again before the day was done. It was “Youth Sunday” at the church, and Pastor John Cross had announced that he would preach a sermon titled “A Love that Forgives” based on the Gospel text in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Carolyn Maull, 14, the Sunday School secretary, hurried to fulfill her responsibilities. She greeted visitors, counted Sunday School offerings, and reported the day’s attendance. In the brief interval between Sunday School and the morning worship service, Carolyn stopped by the girls’ restroom and spoke to her friends, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, and Carole Robertson, all 14, and Denise McNair, who was 11. She left the restroom, walked up the stairs to the church office, and answered the ringing phone. A man’s voice said simply: “Three minutes.” He hung up.

Carolyn felt confused. She walked into the sanctuary, where the clock hanging on the wall indicated that the time was 10:22 a.m. Then she heard the blast. Boom! For a second, she thought it was thunder or a lightning strike. Then she realized—it must be a bomb. She vividly remembers two things from that horror-filled moment: the sound of feet scurrying past her to get to the exits, and looking up at the stained glass window—the same one that had brought her such comfort when she looked into the face of Jesus at her baptism. The window was still intact . . . all except the face. Jesus’ beautiful face was gone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolenceWomen

1 Comments
Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Soon after Mandela took office, Tutu chided him for increasing MPs’ salaries and for not closing down the apartheid arms trade. When Mandela accused him of being a “populist”, he hit back, typically, though, tempering his attack with an affectionate critique of Mandela’s colourful shirts. Tutu had made his point. The ultimate pastoral interventionist was not going to let Mandela’s stature inhibit him from speaking his mind. To the irritation of the ANC he would retain his independence.

As the ANC became rather accustomed to the perks of power, so his critiques sharpened. In 2004 he lamented that only “an elite few” had reached the “promised land”. Just four months ago, he said that he would no longer vote for the ANC, citing inequality, violence and corruption as among the reasons for his loss of support. When I ask for his current thinking on the party, he turns to “a lovely quote in Isaiah”.

“‘Look to the rock from which you are hewn.’ We were hewn from a rock of people who were ready to lay down their lives for freedom… We have very many good things that are happening but you long for us to remember why we were in the ­struggle and what kind of South Africa we would love to see. We have accomplished a part of the dream… and some things subvert that dream.”

Read it all (if necessary another link may be found there).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth AfricaMiddle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 16, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: It’s Sunday morning at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Sunday school has finished, and the 11 o’clock worship service has just gotten underway. Today, the youth choir is singing. This is how things were supposed to go on that Sunday morning 50 years ago as well. Then a bomb made of at least ten sticks of dynamite exploded, killing four young girls inside the church.

FREEMAN HRABOWSKI (Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County): It shook the very fabric of our society broadly, not only in Birmingham but in the country. Because if four little girls dressed in white for Sunday school can be blown to pieces because of hatred, everyone has to stop and think, where are we going as a society?

LAWTON: The bombing came amid ongoing racial turmoil in Birmingham and across the US. At the beginning of 1963, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had decided to make Birmingham the center of a new non-violent campaign to end segregation. For years, many Birmingham churches had been fighting segregation under the leadership of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. But the largely middle class Sixteenth Street Baptist Church had not taken an active role in that effort. Glenn Eskew is professor of history at Georgia State University and author of the book But For Birmingham.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted September 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against apartheid in South Africa, continues to speak around the globe on justice and peace. Butler University and neighboring Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis announced Thursday (Sept. 12) that they would name a center for the 81-year-old icon.

Just before the announcement of the new center, Tutu spoke with Religion News Service about faith and justice, Israel and Palestine and Pope Francis’ recent selfie and lifestyle choices. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPovertyPrison/Prison MinistryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The remains of an 18th-century Connecticut slave whose abuse continued long after his death will finally be given a dignified burial.

On Sept. 12, more than two centuries after his death, a slave known as Fortune will be interred at Waterbury’s Riverside Cemetery with all the trappings of a state funeral.

It will be a ceremonial end to the life of a man whose mistreatment serves as a reminder of the North’s participation in slavery.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2013 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[James] Harris felt jolted, as if King were speaking directly to him, to his deepest, most impossible desire. In the coming month, Harris would begin his junior year at Carroll High School, returning as the starting quarterback for a team that had gone 12-0 and won a state championship the previous fall. His dream was to play professional football.

The prevailing opinion, however, was that a black man was not intelligent enough to play the position. The most promising black prospects, as Harris well knew, were routinely switched to receiver or defensive back....

Now King’s words told him change was coming, not in the hereafter, not in some distant, redeemed era, but imminently.

“I had no chance, I knew that,” Harris said. “But then I started listening to that speech.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 28, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To be a great leader such as King, you have to love, you have to set an example, you have to take action, and you have to dream. You have to have that vision and belief that you can make it better. Remember too, that it was also the courage and resolve of a single woman that got the ball rolling. Too often, people believe that their own contribution is not important. I tell you friends, one drop of water can turn a waterwheel. Always aim high and never give up hope. - See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/2955/martin-luther-king-jnr-i-have-a-dream-speech#sthash.bzECikiN.bz8BF3vG.dpuf

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

0 Comments
Posted August 28, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If anyone warrants a footnote in history, it's Mahalia Jackson. If anyone deserves a modicum of recognition for what transpired before 250,000 people crammed at the foot of Washington's Lincoln Memorial on a sweltering afternoon 50 years ago, it's surely Mahalia Jackson.

Yet her story remains unsung, her involvement in one of the greatest speeches of all time unheralded.

Jackson was a gospel singer blessed with a contralto voice, album sales in the millions. Yet she was more than that - an activist who lent her formidable presence to the awakening civil rights movement and was described as ''the most powerful black woman in the US''.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMusicRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For weeks leading up to the March on Washington, the Rev. Perry Smith urged his congregation to join the landmark civil rights event happening a few miles away.

“We felt it was something that needed to occur because of the absence of the rights of African Americans in this country,” recalled Smith, 79, who recently retired as pastor of First Baptist Church of North Brentwood in Maryland after more than 50 years. “We wanted to emphasize the need for change, jobs and education.”

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/08/22/2934866/churches-raised-funds-encouraged.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchRace/Race Relations

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Five decades after Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that “a lot more” remains to be done.

Blacks are much more downbeat than whites about the pace of progress toward a color-blind society. They are also more likely to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites by police, the courts, public schools and other key community institutions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[KIM] LAWTON: Close relationships across racial lines are still not all that common. According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 40 percent white Americans and 25 percent of non-white Americans said they are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race. Even when the circle was widened to include coworkers, about 30 percent of Americans said they do not regularly mix with people of a different race.

[THE REV. VINCENT] HARDING: Churches have a great opportunity and a great responsibility to find the ways to bring us together, not just to worship, quote, together, but to live together.

post05-march-on-washington-50th

LAWTON: Vincent Harding believes Americans need to take a deeper look at one of the iconic lines from King’s March on Washington speech, when he said he dreamed that his children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American hospice movement is thriving. Forty-two percent of all Americans who died in 2010 were in hospice care—up from 22 percent in 2000. The number of organizations providing hospice care has grown steadily, up 13 percent from 2006—from 4,500 to over 5,000—as has the length of time that patients spend in hospice care. More people are spending their dying days experiencing the holistic medicine and dignified care that hospice seeks to provide.

But the growth in the hospice movement has tended to neglect African Americans. African Americans constitute 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only 8 percent of hospice patients are African American—even though blacks have the highest cancer rates of all ethnicities and are more likely to die from cancer than whites.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsPastoral Care* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineRace/Race Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After only two days of serving as the bishop of the Central Florida Diocese, I found myself marching in the streets of Sanford, FL and speaking at city hall at a city commission meeting due to the developments following the death of Trayvon Martin. As a bishop, I am a Christian leader for a geographic region of 15 counties, not merely a group of churches. This meant I had to act.

While my responsibilities extend to 87 congregations, the whole region and all of its citizens are within my spiritual oversight. What happened in the shooting of Trayvon Martin mattered to me because it mattered to the people under my care.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race Relations


Posted July 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The tradition of forgiving was central to the civil rights movement, and it’s grounded in two things,” said the Rev. Jonathan L. Walton, a professor of Christian morals at Harvard and minister of its Memorial Church. “One cannot be held accountable for how others treat us, but we can be held accountable by God for how we treat others. So forgiveness and reconciliation are central to us. Particularly for Martin Luther King, it was not about defeating an enemy but defeating injustice by bringing people from opposing sides into beloved community.”

Some of those moments of reconciliation have been soul-stirring in their force. One thinks of former Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama rolling his wheelchair into a reunion of Selma marchers in 1995 to renounce the segregationist beliefs that had defined his political career. Yet even if the offender never apologizes at all, black Christianity has repeatedly offered God’s grace in the all-too-real world.

“Forgiveness is just expected,” said the Rev. Douglas A. Slaughter, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Aiken, S.C. “Even as a child, we were not allowed to hate the racist but to hate racism, and to fight against it. We were taught ways to understand that the racist is more in need of understanding than we were. It’s just how you were raised.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 2, 2013 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious God, we offer thanks for the witness of Harriett Beecher Stowe, whose fiction inspired thousands with compassion for the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples, and who enriched her writings with the cadences of The Book of Common Prayer. Help us, like her, to strive for thy justice, that our eyes may see the glory of thy Son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with thee and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now and always. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchBooksRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted July 1, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Will D. Campbell was a poor white boy from Mississippi who preached his first sermon from a pulpit stocked with a Bible from the Ku Klux Klan. But this son of the segregated South — a self-avowed "good ol' boy with crazy ideas" — did not follow the conventional career path for a Southern Baptist minister in the 1950s.

He became the only white man admitted to the founding meeting of the seminal Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. That same year, when nine black students attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., he was one of three white ministers who guided them past a fierce white mob. Later, when civil rights workers targeted Nashville lunch counters, he rounded up sympathetic whites to nudge the business owners toward integration.

Often his actions brought threats, such as the time when, as chaplain at the University of Mississippi, he openly played pingpong with a black person. The next thing he knew, someone had slipped excrement into his punch bowl....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted June 9, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[KIM] LAWTON: On Thursday May 2nd, “The Children’s March” began. Students left their classrooms mid-day and gathered in Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. They came out marching and singing, row after row after row of them, some as young as six years old. Waiting police arrested them for parading without a permit, but the kids kept coming, and when the paddy wagons were full, the police had to get a school bus to take them all away. Nearly a thousand children had signed up to march, and more than 600 were taken into custody on that day.

LAWTON: As hundreds and hundreds more children showed up to demonstrate and face possible arrest, Bull Connor was anxious to restore order. He instructed his forces to bring out the fire hoses and the dogs.

Some of the most shocking confrontations happened in Kelly Ingram Park, across from the church, where monuments to the marchers now stand. Officials aimed the water hoses full blast at the marching children. McKinstry was among those hit.

[CAROLYN] MCKINSTRY: The water came out with such tremendous pressure and, uh, it’s a very painful experience, if you’ve never been hit by a fire hose and I thought, whoa.

Read or watch it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 2, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While [Dr. Gregory] McGriff says he is forced to do things most other doctors wouldn't necessarily do, he also notes that the disparity — while seeming unfair — has served up a bit of sweet irony: It has helped make him a better doctor. At a time when cost-cutting and understaffing place pressure on physicians to move swiftly through their rounds, McGriff adopted a bedside manner to earn a patient's trust that has now become his signature at Rutherford Regional hospital.

"I make a point to do something that many of my partners don't do — most physicians don't do anymore. I sit," McGriff says. "I sit in the room, and I ask the patient to tell me their story. I'm really interested in these stories, by the way, and every client I meet has a very interesting story.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryRace/Race RelationsRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let me begin by telling you about Stephen, a mature intelligent man of 38, a successful architect, with a wife and children of whom he is very proud. A man loved and respected by his wider family and the community where he lives and in which he is a blessing to many.

This is one of the real possibilities that the future held for Stephen Lawrence who was murdered 20 years ago this Monday in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths in Eltham. An attack whose devastating effect not only tragically denied Stephen a future, but also reverberated through many lives, causing pain which cannot be calculated this side of the grave.

As we remember Stephen’s death at this time, we need to renew our determination to rid our communities of racism, hatred, fear, ignorance, stereotyping, and the advantaging or disadvantaging of others because of their colour or ethnic origin.

Read it all from the Yorkshire Post.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted April 26, 2013 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The biographical film "42" depicts Jackie Robinson's courageous battle to break the color barrier in major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he needed to overcome fierce opposition.

"It took two Christians to pull this off," says Chris Lamb, the author of "Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training" (University of Nebraska, 2004). "Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian," he notes. "Sometimes we miss this."

Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson's life for his book. "I kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together," he says. "Finally I realized what I missed before – the core came from above."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSports

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Posted April 24, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fifty years ago, in June 1963, the Christian Century found itself near the center of American public debate when it was the first large-circulation magazine to publish the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The letter would shortly thereafter stand as the manifesto of those King led in pursuing African-American civil rights in the mid-1960s by means of nonviolent direct action. And it eventually assumed pride of place alongside Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” as a touchstone for the theory and practice of civil disobedience in American protest politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

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Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Read it all (video versions on the web are available also).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyEschatology

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Posted April 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Critics say the show takes reality TV one step too far, exposing personal, intimate and sometimes unflattering details about pastors' wives. But Domonique Scott, former first lady of The Good Life Ministry church, tells NPR's David Greene that The Sisterhood was somewhat of a calling for her. "We definitely believe that God told us to do it," Scott says. "Individually, and together as a group."

"I think for us, the assignment was to step out," adds Christina Murray, the first lady of Oasis Family Life Church. "We knew it would probably be a little controversial, but we don't do anything just for people to understand and give us our approval; we do everything for what God is trying to lead us to do." But, Murray says, appearing on The Sisterhood was not a decision any of the women made lightly. "Basically, you're putting your life out there with the control of somebody else."

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionRace/Race RelationsWomen

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Posted January 28, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was 50 years ago this August that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. closed his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with his rendering of a dream he had for the country’s future. The soaring final sentences were somewhat extemporaneous — he let his emotions and sense of the occasion carry him past parts of the prepared text and on to the right words, concluding with the rousing “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.” It was an exultant moment for much of this country, and in the national memory it has acquired the gauzy image of a happy ending to our long struggle with racial inequality and bigotry. Less vibrant in memory is an image from less than three weeks later: four girls dressed all in white because they were to lead youth day services at their Birmingham, Ala., church, their lives suddenly ended by a racial terrorist bombing.

“During the short career of Martin Luther King Jr., between 1954 and 1968, the nonviolent civil rights movement lifted the patriotic spirit of the United States toward our defining national purpose,” writes Taylor Branch, a chronicler of those years. But it was a hard lifting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

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Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, the people who saw their lives changed in that turbulent time or in its wake say it is their job to keep King’s legacy alive.

“The whole era has taken on less significance than it had,” said Bernard Powers, College of Charleston history professor. “Next month is Black History Month, and he’ll be talked about along with Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, almost as if they were contemporaries.”

Today, more than 30 volunteers from the community — black and white — will be helping Ruth Ann Carr of James Island build her home. It’s a service day for Sea Island Habitat for Humanity, honoring the iconic civil rights leader on the holiday dedicated to him.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* South Carolina

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Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it–and I believe he is right–he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama–in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations

5 Comments
Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 87, the Rev. C.T. Vivian can still recall the moment, decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

As he stood to conclude a meeting in his Atlanta home, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. joined his activist colleagues in song, his eyes closed, rocking back and forth on his heels.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” they sang, “to make the wounded whole.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryMusicRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new year was just beginning -- an extraordinary year, in which so much would change.

Half a century ago, on Jan. 14, 1963, George Wallace took the podium to give his inaugural address as governor of Alabama. His words framed a fiery rejoinder to a civil rights movement gathering strength.

"I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny," he thundered, "and I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

Fifty years later, the words still have the power to shock. In college classes like "The Sixties in History and Memory," today's students recoil.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 60 autumns ago, a young Atlantan named Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to start graduate school at Boston University. There, he fell under the influence of a theologian, Howard Thurman, who taught him about Gandhian nonviolence. That concept became one of Dr. King’s guiding principles in the civil rights movement.

On a brilliant fall morning this Sunday, a torch of black Christianity was passed to another minister, scholar and son of Atlanta, who was born five years after Dr. King’s death, the Rev. Jonathan L. Walton. In a combined worship service and installation ceremony, Mr. Walton took on the position of Pusey minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard, a pulpit of importance inside and outside the university.

Mr. Walton’s appointment, which also includes an endowed professorship of Christian morals, forms part of a generational transition in the African-American church. Ministers and theologians who came of age during the civil rights era are being supplanted by those, like Mr. Walton, 39, of elite universities, the diversity movement and hip-hop culture. To underscore how much else has changed at Harvard, Mr. Walton was formally given the pulpit Sunday by Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first female president.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted November 13, 2012 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They walked with heads held high, harboring dreams imagined in black and gold, marching to the peculiar orders of the times.

A movement was beginning. That day, 50,000 people passed through the doors of Three Rivers Stadium, the massive concrete structure looming just west of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, this time hoping that the Steelers, after 40 irrelevant seasons, were finally taking them somewhere worth going.

Each person in the stadium had his or her own dramas outside of it. There was the war that seemingly would not end, the intensifying of racial tensions across the city and, for those who were paying close enough attention, the fear that those hulking mills that lined the rivers were not going to be needed forever. But, the Steelers were host to the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the NFL playoffs, and such pressing matters could be thrust to the back burner for the good of Pittsburgh.

An absolute must read article for oh-so-many reasons, but perhaps above all for what it teaches about American history. Take the time to peruse it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyRace/Race RelationsSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of multicultural churches -- those in which at least one in five people is from a different ethnic group -- is still relatively tiny. Even within diverse denominations such as the Assemblies of God, where about a third of the churches have minority congregations, or the Southern Baptists, where 20% of churches have minority congregations, only a small percentage meet that one-in-five criteria.

Mark DeYmaz, pastor of Mosaic Church, a diverse non-denominational church based in Little Rock, says he believes the number is going to grow. DeYmaz said his congregation of 600 is about 40% white, 33% African-American, 15% Hispanic, with the rest from a variety of backgrounds.

When Mosaic opened in 2001, DeYmaz said he knew of few diverse churches. Now he knows of several hundred.

"When we get to heaven, the kingdom of God isn't going to be segregated," he said. "So why should the local church be segregated?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new documentary, “Sanford: the Untold Story,” highlighting the racial reconciliation journey being experienced in Sanford, Fla., following the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in February, is being released on iTunes, YouTube, and aired nationwide around Labor Day weekend.

In this 30-minute film, CHARISMA founder and program host Steve Strang reveals how local pastors – including black, Hispanic and Caucasian--have taken the lead to confront the racial divide that spans generations in their city by regularly meeting, sharing and prayingtogether.

"I was genuinely moved to see how these pastors have passionately stood together and are now reaching out to help hurting people," Strang said. "Their story will inspire audiences across the country to initiate a similar approach in their communities--because racism isn't limited to Sanford, Fla."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted September 1, 2012 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1986, he was invited to take over Franklin Avenue Baptist Church [in New Orleans]. Under him, its congregation grew from a couple of dozen people to 7,000 — the largest Southern Baptist church in Louisiana. Then Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, destroying the sanctuary.

"It would have been easy for Fred Luter to have said, 'I think God's calling me elsewhere,' " says Russell Moore, dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. "And he could have gone to a very comfortable pastorate anywhere in the country.

"And yet, he stayed," Moore says. "And he stood with the people of New Orleans and said, 'We'll be back, we'll rebuild' — and became a spiritual anchor."

Read (or better listen to) it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lawrence and Trenton are adjacent. But given the different racial demographics of these two New Jersey towns — the former is predominantly white and the latter 52% black— they might as well be a hundred miles apart. Such is the magnitude of the chasm crossed by Lawrence's David Moriah and Trenton's Shiloh Baptist Church, where Moriah is not only the sole white male member but also has been accepted into the highly respected rank of deacon.

Credit goes to the black congregation in Trenton and the new white deacon for their commitment to racial reconciliation. Too bad a story like this stands out as such an anomaly. The Christian church in this country remains disturbingly segregated. But as Moriah has learned, connecting with the black church tradition can transform your perspective on race — whether you're religious or not....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the early 1990s, The Education of Little Tree became a publishing phenomenon. It told the story of an orphan growing up and learning the wisdom of his Native American ancestors, Cherokee Texan author Forrest Carter's purported autobiography.

The book was originally published in 1976 to little fanfare and modest sales, but in the late 1980s, the University of New Mexico Press reissued it in paperback — and it exploded. By 1991, it reached the top of The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. It was sold around the world, praised by Oprah Winfrey and made into a Hollywood film.

The Education of Little Tree would go on to sell more than 1 million copies. But the book and its author were not what they seemed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPsychologyRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the service lay a story of black Christians and white Jews who once shared a kind of promised land, a peacefully integrated section of Indianapolis called Southside. Its decades of harmony were a rebuke to the Southern-style racial divisions that characterized Indiana for much of the 20th century, from the Ku Klux Klan’s heyday in the interwar years to George Wallace’s popularity with the state’s voters in the 1960s.

Upward mobility, Interstate 70 and the construction of a football stadium hollowed out the neighborhood starting in the late 1960s, scattering its residents and severing bonds of commerce and friendship. But in the last four years, an anthropology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Susan B. Hyatt, has set about finding former Southsiders and restoring those ties through social events and reciprocal worship services at South Calvary and the Etz Chaim Sephardic synagogue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesBaptistsOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2012 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With five weeks’ passage, the fateful encounter between a black youth who wanted to go to college and a Hispanic man who wanted to be a judge has polarized the nation.

And, now this modest central Florida community finds its name being mentioned with Selma and Birmingham on a civil rights list held sacred in black American culture, while across the country, the parsing of the case has become cacophonic and political, punctuated by pleas for tolerance, words of hatred, and spins from the left and right.

Read it all and also note The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMediaPsychologyRace/Race RelationsTeens / YouthViolence

1 Comments
Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While much of the frenzy has centered on Zimmerman's past run-ins with police and on Martin's musings and photos posted to Twitter and MySpace, the avalanche of coverage has been unable to resolve the most critical unknowns: Who instigated the final confrontation? Did Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, have good reason to feel he was in danger? Did local police handle the case evenhandedly?

Past experience - for example, in the 1991 Rodney King beating - has demonstrated that facts aren't easily agreed to when cases take on a racial tinge. Opinions and preconceptions have even greater currency in an era of 24-hour news and social networking.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMediaRace/Race RelationsRural/Town LifeViolence

5 Comments
Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two days after he was consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, Gregory Brewer was marching Monday with the crowd demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.

He was the only white clergyman to address the Sanford City Commission inside the Civic Center that evening, urging city leaders to address the concerns of the black community.

"I thought it was very courageous," said Andy Searles, a pastor with Aloma United Methodist Church in Winter Park. "It would have been very easy for him to sit in his office and organize the paperwork on his desk, but he made a statement of what the church should be."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsViolence

11 Comments
Posted March 31, 2012 at 10:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[This case]...is evolving into a case of two justices: separate and, like Jim Crow laws, far from equal.

From the apparent racial profiling, overt violation of neighborhood watch protocols and real-time police directives, to accusations of tampered evidence, to the failure to undertake reasonable measures afforded by the law, I count a multitude glaring discrepancies. How did "The System" fail to ensure that this boy's life was not inconsequential?

As a citizen, I understand that no case is all black or all white, despite appearances to the contrary. I realize that justice is fraught with nuances, not the very least of which is Florida's "stand your ground" law, which was designed to protect threatened parties, and in all irony of all ironies appears to be the very thing keeping the instigator out of prison, in complete contrast to the spirit of the controversial pro-gun law.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence


Posted March 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why were white clergy so reluctant to engage in this issue? It may be because they lead suburban congregations composed by and large of parishioners whose daily lives are socially isolated, antiseptic, homogeneous, and largely segregated by race and class. It may also be the lingering legacy of the South, except that many of the faith leaders, like those in the pews, have moved here from other regions of the country. They have different explanations for the silence. They may simply have been waiting for all the facts of the incident to emerge, and not rush to judgment.

"To be honest, I don't know why," said the Rev. David Charlton, the recently arrive pastor of Sanford's First United Methodist Church. "I don't have a good answer, and it's happened on my front steps."

Read it all (and alert blog readers are asked to note the quote from Bishop Greg Brewer mentioned in the previous blog post--KSH)

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsRural/Town LifeViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General


Posted March 28, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Meet the Rev. Fred Luter Jr., pastor of New Orleans's 4,500-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church—and the man who this spring will likely become the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He announced last month that he was putting himself in the running, and the convention's movers and shakers seem almost unanimous in their support.

The SBC was born in 1845 after Baptists from the Northern states refused to appoint slaveholders to missionary posts, and the Southern states decided to break off. Like many Protestant denominations in America that split over the issue of slavery, the Baptists remained separate long after the Civil War. Though the leadership of the SBC supported an end to segregation even before Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the denomination's churches in many cases remained hotbeds of racial animus.

It wasn't until 1995 that the SBC issued a resolution on racial reconciliation....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists

0 Comments
Posted March 2, 2012 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This is a cultural war, a cultural shift, and those who are in rebellion have decided to portray us as bigots and prejudiced,” says [Nathaniel] Thomas, pastor of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, a trim, pale-brick building across from a storage facility on a dead-end road just inside the Beltway near Pennsylvania Avenue.

He knows that some gay activists are incredulous that black ministers could oppose a civil rights initiative. “ ‘How dare a black preacher take this position,’ they say, ‘because you’ve felt this pain,’ and I have,” he says. Over the decades, he has marched for voting and housing rights and fought for equal protection for blacks.

But Thomas and the 77 other Baptist ministers in the association do not see same-sex marriage as a civil rights matter. Rather, they say, it is a question of Scripture, of whether a country based on Judeo-Christian principles will honor what’s written in Romans or decide to make secular decisions about what’s right.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted February 25, 2012 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The book seems to suggest that you think African-American kids have lost touch with the struggles of their forebears. Do you?
Absolutely. They came into a world where, after these battles had been fought, they have a lot more opportunities and the ability to see themselves as being able to go anywhere and do anything. We have to maintain continuity by giving them the history of what the struggle was all about....
Is the U.S. in a postracial era in professional sports?
I don't think we'll ever be postracial, because of the fear and anxiety of dealing with the other — people who aren't like you. But the ability of racism to distort and corrode our society has become a lot less.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryMenRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSports* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I tell people I'm working on a book on black Catholics in Charleston, the initial response is disbelief. "There are black Catholics?" they ask. Indeed, there are Catholics of African heritage in Charleston, and this community has been a significant part of the city's social and religious life for centuries. Some African immigrants were Catholic before they were enslaved. In the 18th century in Charleston, the majority of black Catholics were free. And French.

Thousands of refugees came to North America after the revolution in France in 1789 and to its wealthy island colony, Saint-Domingue, two years later. About 500 black and white emigres arrived in Charleston by early 1792. They brought what possessions they could carry along with servants and slaves. Most had witnessed the destruction of their homes, businesses and plantations in the Caribbean.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRace/Race Relations* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* South Carolina

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Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After months of urging from other Baptists around the country, the Rev. Fred Luter told his African-American congregation that he will seek to become the first black man to lead the predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention.

Several Baptist leaders said Luter becomes the prohibitive favorite for the post, to be filled in a potentially historic election at the Southern Baptists' annual meeting here in June.

SBC Today, a Baptist-focused news website, carried the announcement on Wednesday. Youth pastor Fred "Chip" Luter III separately confirmed Luter's announcement to his church on Sunday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 8, 2012 at 4:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police are investigating racist e-mails sent to Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, after he spoke out against gay marriage.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed they are treating e-mails sent to the Ugandan-born Archbishop as potential hate crimes....

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm that a complaint has been received from the office of Archbishop John Sentamu, following the receipt of e-mails containing racially offensive statements. The e-mails are being investigated as a hate crime.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before the American Revolution, when South Carolina and Eastern Georgia were still Colonies subject to the king and Church of England, Catholics were not much welcomed, and black Catholics were the most unusual of aberrations.

“(A)ll Christians which now are, or hereafter may be, in the province (Papists only excepted), shall enjoy the full, free, and undisturbed liberty of their consciences,” states a colonial act of 1696-97.

But Catholicism could not be shut out, and a minority of blacks soon embraced it.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* South Carolina

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Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 87, the Rev. C.T. Vivian can still recall the moment, decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

As he stood to conclude a meeting in his Atlanta home, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. joined his activist colleagues in song, his eyes closed, rocking back and forth on his heels.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” they sang, “to make the wounded whole.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For teachers, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday comes with some heavy challenges. One reporter sat down with a group of teachers, who talked about keeping the lesson fresh — and whether white teachers are prepared to teach about civil rights.

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 17, 2012 at 6:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Patrick Kennedy, 44, served eight terms in Congress, ending his political career last January. He heads "The Next Frontier," a campaign to raise money for brain-disorder research.

"I guess the phrase, 'We all stand on the shoulders of giants' applies to me especially," he said, referring to his father.

He stressed the importance of Harvey Gantt, for whom the award is named. Gantt is a Burke High School graduate who became the first black student at Clemson University, after a lengthy legal battle that went to the Supreme Court. After being repeatedly ignored when he asked for information on the engineering program, he finally sued the school.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* South Carolina

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out--a series of videos under five different headings.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America's political process is locked in a contentious stalemate that reflects deep, race-based divisions.

Some pessimistic Americans believe that aptly describes the United States of 2012. Yet it's a far more fitting assessment of the United States of 1962.

And thanks to an extraordinary, Georgia-born preacher, we're a far more united -- and much fairer -- nation today than when his epic life was cut brutally short in 1968.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* South Carolina

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because many misunderstand the origin of King's theology in the black church, they also misunderstand his relation to black theology. Many assume that black theology and Martin Luther King, Jr. have completely different theological and political perspectives. Persons who hold this viewpoint often explain the difference by saying that King was concerned primarily with love, non-violence, and the reconciliation between blacks and whites. But black theology, in contrast to King, seldom mentions love or reconciliation between blacks and whites and explicitly rejects non-violence with its endorsement of Malcolm X's contention that blacks should achieve their freedom "by any means necessary." Some claim that black theology is a separatist and an extremist interpretation of the Christian faith. But King was an integrationist and a moderate who believed that whites can and should be redeemed.

During a decade of writing and teaching Black Theology, the most frequent question that has been addressed to me, publically and privately, by blacks and especially whites, has been: "How do you reconcile the separatist and violent orientation of black theology with Martin Luther King's emphasis on integration, love, and non-violence?" I have always found it difficult to respond to this question because those who ask it seem unaware of the interrelations between King, black theology, and the black church.

While it is not my primary intention to compare King and black theology, I do hope that an explication of his theology in the context of the black church will show, for those interested in a comparison, that black theology and King are not nearly as far apart as some persons might be inclined to think.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Theology

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” – a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. -- Camilo José Vergara

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans err if we believe that it's only a black responsibility to right the social wrongs of racial inequality. It's a white responsibility, too — and a Christian responsibility. Why Christians? It's not that other faiths can't do their part as well, but Christians — by sheer number and religious tradition — could be our best hope.

History shows that the teachings of Christianity hold an undeniable power to inspire positive social movements and call Americans to conscience, as they did during King's time. Many Christians will be the first to tell you they should be held to a higher standard — because their religion insists on it.

Let's improve educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans. Let's acknowledge and root out the racism that mocks the American ideal. Let's reject the harmful message of the prosperity gospel and reclaim the best of the nation's black church tradition, with Christians — white as well as black — leading the charge for the dispossessed.

As the distinguished columnist Roger Cohen recently reminded, it is on the matter of race where one finds the greatest gulf between American behavior and American ideals. Will history find the same gap between Christian behavior and Christian ideals?

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The full text is always very powerful to read, but I find listening to it to have still more impact. Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of our forebears and our God, who has summoned women and men throughout the ages to be thy witnesses and sometimes martyrs for thee, we bow before thee this day in remembrance and thanksgiving for the life and legacy of thy servant, witness and martyr, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We thank thee for his time among us, for his words and for his deeds, and for the quality of his living witness which eases the pain of recalling the brevity of his years. We rejoice in his example of obedient faith and the scenes and stations of his life which inform and enrich our own faith journeys. And we beseech thee this day for the strength, steadfastness and courage not only to remember but also to obey.

We remember the footsteps of Dr. King: walking everywhere in Montgomery, Alabama, during the bus boycott; sidestepping snarling dogs, swinging billy clubs, and torrential fire hoses in Birmingham; charting a King's highway in the desert wastelands of bigotry and hatred from Selma to Montgomery, from Memphis to Jackson, from Chicago to Cicero; walking ever and always where Jesus walked among the lonely and the lost; the downtrodden and the outcast; those denied their dignity and robbed of their rights. Lord, guide and enable us to follow his footsteps that we too may be found in those places of danger, division, discord and sorrow where love is so desperately needed but so painfully absent. Let us hear and feel anew the words of the old freedom song beckoning us to faith commitment in community with our fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, saying, "Walk together children, and don't get weary."

We remember the gentle, patient courage of Dr. King, as he made the teachings of Jesus the literal rule for loving: refusing the temptation to render an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth but rendering instead good for evil; nonviolently offering the other cheek to those who, blinded by hate, taunted and loving those who chose to be his enemies and persecutors; following his Lord in showing the greatest love of all by laying down his life for others. Lord, give us the courage to live by what we say we believe and to accept the teachings of Christ as codes of conduct rather than mere words of inspiration.

We remember the restless and unrelenting commitment of Dr. King, as he refused to barter justice or compromise thy Word; insisting that the demand for justice, freedom and human dignity applies to all thy children in Southeast Asia as well as the South Bronx, and throughout the two-thirds of thy creation where injustice and oppression preserve the privilege of the other third. Lord, save us from the temptation to be satisfied with partial fulfillment and limited expression of thy truth. Help us both to love our neighbors and also to see the whole world as our neighborhood.

O God, fashion and mold our memories into a guiding vision for active discipleship, so that we may not only long and yearn for thy coming kingdom but may also recognize its arrival and presence in the risen Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, in whose blessed name we pray. Amen.

-- The Reverend Dr. Randolph Nugent
General Secretary, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2012 at 6:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican Church head Rowan Williams on Saturday praised pioneer missionaries to Malawi for ending the slave trade, at a service to mark their arrival in the country 150 years ago.

"The missionaries devoted their lives to liberation and challenged the evil of slavery," Williams said at Magomero, northeast of Blantyre, at a colourful ceremony attended by President Bingu wa Mutharika and hundreds of worshippers.

The slave trade "degraded everyone and everything it touched," the Archbishop of Canterbury said, adding, "The Church has done a great job in Africa."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of Central Africa* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAfricaMalawi

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Posted October 8, 2011 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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