Here’s to weekends…and Faves of the week. Five of mine follow:
1) John Lewis’ Funeral – Shortly before he died of pancreatic cancer (on July 17, 2020), civil rights activitistCongressman John Lewis, D-Ga., wrote an essay for the New York Times. He asked for the piece to be published on the day of his funeral.Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Here is an excerpt from the essay John Lewis wrote, read at his funeral:
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”
I was glad to have watched Representative Lewis’ funeral, seeing him honored by old friends, sweet family, and loyal staff. Then fellow politicians, including three past US presidents. Of the politicians, my favorite tribute came from President George W. Bush. No agenda. No barbs. Just all John Lewis.
2) Resistance – When George Floyd was killed, we heard, experienced and even shared in the national outcry. As the protests have turned into riots and looting, some of us are beginning to wonder when will it be enough…or too much. Not the cries for reforms in law enforcement or other changes needed to address those hurting in our country…but taking the protests to a whole different place – that of disrupting and destroying what is good and decent as well.
This Friday night after midnight, on the streets of Portland, Oregon, a group of protestors kindled a fire with Bibles. This city, like many around the US, has been the site of protests for over 60 days. Here and elsewhere, the body count rises of people killed in the riots. Personal properties destroyed. People divided…all in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
This isn’t right. Resistance to a corrupt system is appropriate, but violence just for violence’s sake is not the “good trouble” John Lewis encouraged.
When the Bibles were burned, it stirred a different kind of mad. There is a place for resistance, but there is also a place for resistance against resistance that hurts people…that hurts our country…that impunes whole groups of people.
I read the following article this week. It is definitely partisan in ways and is a hard read, given we all have people we care about on both sides of our political aisles. However, it delivers a critical, and thought-provoking exposé of modern-day Marxism. The YouTube video also linked is a longer, more comprehensive treatment of the subject by the same author/speaker Larry Alex Taunton (13 points instead of the 8 in the article).
Understanding What Is Happening in America: A Christian Response – Larry Alex Taunton
“Evil will not have the last word. Good will ultimately triumph. God is sovereign. As St Thomas Aquinas put it, ‘God is so powerful that he can direct any evil to a good end.’” – Resisting Evil, Bible in One Year
Photo Credit: Organic Runner Mom
Thoughts on Resistance and Forward Progress to Your Goals – Organic Runner Mom
3) Viola Davis – When you think of someone as beautiful, elegant, and articulate as actress, producer Viola Davis, you might be a bit starstruck. I know I am. You may not be aware of the incongruence also present in her life – a childhood of poverty and abuse. This exquisite woman should give hope to all of us.
Today, she is using her fame and professional platform to give back. One way is the documentary she narrated, “A Touch of Sugar”. She is a spokesperson for prevention and treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
4) Neighborhoods – We all have favorite places and spaces …Richmond, Virginia, is one of those favorite places of mine. It is a patchwork quilt of very different neighborhoods. Once upon a time, Monument Ave., in the Museum District of Richmond, was considered one of the most beautiful streets in the world. Those who thought so were probably not negatively affected by the several monuments of Confederate military generals.
Now the monuments are coming down. The houses on Monument are still beautiful and historic. We’ll see what happens next, after the monuments are gone.
Like in other cities, we continue to have protests, riots, and destruction/defacing of properties. Recently, I made an unfounded comment, “Those rioting probably aren’t even from here, and do they even visit the neighborhoods beyond this one? The neighborhoods where Blacks should hear up-close that their lives do matter.” Again, like I said, it was not a fair statement.
[I wrote here previously the monuments including a local teen’s take on what would help more than monuments coming down here. Original piece by Matt Chaney here.]
Still, I felt compelled to take a trip to some of the neighborhoods of Richmond beyond the Museum District. It had been awhile since my last visit…more beautiful, resourceful, and peaceful than I had remembered.
My own neighborhood is tucked in the near suburbs of Richmond. 10 minutes to downtown. Quiet, safe, middle-class.
When I heard the news of a Tweet that our President made toward suburban home owners not needing to worry about subsidized housing coming our way, I was surprised and saddened. He is known for his tweeting, but this seemed more caustic than usual. Or was it?
In an election year, what would motivate an incumbent to say such a thing unless there was something deeper…something the casual reader might miss?
Pondering this, I came across an article by columnist Eric Levitz which birthed one of those “Aha!” moments.
Those of us Twitter readers who were aghast at our President’s comment would never outwardly show should exclusion of the poor…and yet…
Our city and county schools are in the process of a redistricting campaign (county school redistricting and city school redistricting). As far as I know the decisions have been postponed because of COVID. Still the battle-lines are drawn based on what redistricting will mean more for those homeowners who bought houses to be in a school districts with high ratings. The re-districting, in order to change up the student body percentages in predominantly black schools and predominantly white school, could alter that for them.
Really fascinating. That tweet then takes on a whole new meaning – exposing our not-so-generous motives. Politics can be so twisted it is hard to know what legislation is actually good for the citizenry at large and what is totally related to special interests.
By the way, our neighborhood, as much as I love it, has property values negatively affected by schools with low ratings. We are in the throes of the above school redistricting decision. I, for one, would be glad to see our schools improve in whatever ways seem feasible. Not for my property value’s sake, but for the sake of the children. Also, bring on affordable housing for all…where people can own their own homes and be our neighbors.
5) Wedding Vows – Let’s happily end on this. Dave and I were married over 35 years ago. As our anniversary comes up again, thinking back over our vows is good for us. We didn’t write them from scratch, but they are totally what we believe…they are our own and we mean to keep them…with God’s help.
This week I came across this sweet little video of last year’s wedding between American Idol finalists Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner. In this wedding season, with COVID changing young couples’ plans and dates…the most important part of the day is that they make their vows to each other – whether in front of 3 people or 125. You’ll love this. <3
Watch Cade Foehner’s and Gabby Barrett’s Wedding Vows – Jill O’Rourke
That’s it for me…please share your own favorite finds in the Comments. Thanks for pausing here awhile.
Photo Credit: Debbie Hampton, Twitter
Photo Credit: Oswald Chambers, Facebook, Pat Findley
This Is Why You Can’t Remember Yesterday – Markham Heid
The World’s Longest-living People Share This Hobby – Why Studies Say It Can Help Add Years to Your Life – Minda Zetlin