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Archive for January, 2017


Why I live where I live in Cayo, BZ: One reason is because the lazy Macal River runs through it, and merges with the mighty Mopan River on the outskirts of town. I love rivers.

Why I live where I live in Cayo, BZ: One reason is because the lazy Macal River runs through it, and merges with the mighty Mopan River on the outskirts of town. I love rivers.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

From A River Runs Through It*, By Norman Maclean

Aerial view of the Macal River, which runs through the rustic twin cities of San Ignacio-Santa Elena, known as "Cayo," where I live.

Aerial view of the Macal River, which runs through the rustic twin cities of San Ignacio-Santa Elena, known as “Cayo,” where I live.

I live where I live in Belize in the twin cities San Ignacio/Santa Elena, commonly known in Belize as “Cayo.”

Of all the places in the world I could live and the places I could reside in Belize, I live in Cayo partly because a beautiful, scenic, usually tranquil and lazy river–the Macal–runs through it.

I love the Macal even at times during the rainy season when it’s roaring and the water is muddy after torrential downpours that come and go sometimes for a week or more at a time. I especially love it this time of year, though, during “dry” season when it can appear pristine.

Just outside of Cayo the Macal River merges with the mighty Mopan River to form the Belize River which winds down the length of Belize into the Caribbean Sea.

Tourists chilling out on the Macal River below the high, iron bridge that spans in Cayo.

Tourists chilling out on the Macal River below the high, iron bridge that spans in Cayo.

I love rivers. As Norman Maclean said in his concise and oh-so-beautiful and one and only novel, “A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.”

Rivers speak to me and I love rivers. They are tranquilizers with no dangerous side effects. In fact, they are like vitamins–they empower the mind, body, soul and spirit and keep them healthy.

I’ve been feeling so distressed by the news back home in the States lately–and a little stressed trying to get my book manuscript and the pictures that will illustrate The View From Down in Poordom ready for production–that I’ve neglected to get back to nature where I can breathe.

Today I did just that—took the time to walk four miles along the river with my binoculars to look at the birds and butterflies and magnificent greenery and water currents.

It was like getting a booster shot for the soul.

His greatness Norman Maclean wrote:

    Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.

I’m not much of a fisherman and never have been, except in the sense of being “a fisher of men (and women) in the biblical sense.

But we’d probably be better people if we stopped waiting for the world to become perfect, amen?
————-
* In his review of Maclean’s instant classic of a novel, Alfred Kazin wrote in the Chicago Tribune:

    There are passages here of physical rapture in the presence of unsullied primitive America that are as beautiful as anything in Thoreau and Hemingway.”
The walkway on the high and very high iron bridge that spans the Macal River and connects San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Another wood-plank bridge, called the "low bridge," rises only a few feet above the river.

The walkway on the high and very high iron bridge that spans the Macal River and connects San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Another wood-plank bridge, called the “low bridge,” rises only a few feet above the river.

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Many who claim to be Christian want The Ten Commandments prominently displayed on school and courthouse lawns, in courtrooms and elsewhere. Sometimes I wonder if they've ever read and thought about the Then Commandments in trying to justify and defend Donald Trump's propensity for lying and bearing false witness.

Many who claim to be Christian want The Ten Commandments prominently displayed on school and courthouse lawns, in courtrooms and elsewhere. Sometimes I wonder if they’ve ever read and thought about the Commandments in trying to justify and defend Donald Trump’s propensity for lying and bearing false witness. However much they’ve read them, they haven’t internalized the meanings of them.

I will say one thing for Donald Trump, from whom lies fall from the lips like hard rain you can’t see but definitely can hear in astonishment.

In just under a week’s time in office he has managed to give the whole of God’s world a massive nervous breakdown and damaged relationships with our best friends and allies in the world, starting with Mexico.16194965_1810948269158506_702026115572902689_n

In his first full weekend on the job he created a constitutional crisis with his signature on a most unconstitutional order banning anybody from Muslim countries excepting the countries in which he does HUGE business. (Saudi Arabia, for example, which gave us Bin Laden and the 911 psychos.)

(In addition, his counselor added a new term to government arena: “alternative facts.”)

That’s a huge accomplishment, however dubious.

I’m still trying to process the brazen lies he told in one week on duty.

His insistence against all empirical evidence that he had the largest turnout at his Inauguration, for example.

That is simply an astounding lie that anyone with two eyes and one reasonably object mind can see and know.

Also, his insistence that 3 to 5 million immigrants committed voter fraud, and that that’s why he lost the popular vote.

That’s a lie.

Period.

(Trump did have an overwhelming victory, county-wise. But he still lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. And his electoral college victory ranked 46th out of 58 presidential elections.)

And the investigation he seems hell-bent on having into allegedly massive fraud into his own election promises to be a huge–huge!–waste of taxpayer time and money. (Gotta love that Republican fiscal responsibility.)

As some of the more sensible Republicans in D.C. like Sen. Lindsey Graham have maintained, this new President is simply undermining his own credibility, hurting no one but himself and the country.

But the fact is that he’s hurting Christianity big-time.

I can’t repeat this enough: Christianity is The Truth and Christianity is about the pursuit of truth.

Setting aside the Truth that our Lord Jesus embodied, consider that whole Ten Commandments thing.

For years and years and years we’ve been hearing fundamentalist Christians insist on having The Ten Commandments posted in school classrooms, on courtroom walls and even carved in stone on courthouse or school lawns.

So what is it about “thou shall not bear false witness” (i.e., lying against another) they don’t understand.

Trump has so intensely and unceasingly borne false witness against so many of his critics and enemies that the list of all those he’s lied about, hurt, and assaulted with his verbiage wouldn’t fit on a 50-foot-long scroll.

Consider also the idolatry of the sort we’ve seen attached to this President from the time he was a new candidate. It’s clear to me that many Christians (they who practice the bastardized version of Christianity that is Trumpianity) worship at the altar of this President in a way that amounts to worship of a false god.

They are convinced that God actively placed President Trump in his position of world power in order to save America first and in doing that, saving the world.

The kind of God that would actively place a pathological liar and character assassin in the White House would be a God that has nothing to do with truth.

But that kind of god is not God the Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

The Redeemer was the walking, talking Truth.

Donald Trump is a walking, talking Lie.

And that’s the Truth.

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Whenever we build walls to separate ourselves from those in need, Jesus chooses the side of the wall where the need is.”

— Carlos A. Rodriquez, author of Simply Sonship

(HT: Debra Dean Murphy)

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[And check out this link to an article from United Methodist Communications: the Rev. Owen Ross is a friend of mine and a fierce but gentle advocate for immigrants.]

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Was, or is, Christ Jesus an American? A Belizean? A Syrian? What's wrong with this picture?

Was, or is, Christ Jesus an American? A Belizean? A Syrian? What’s wrong with this picture?


Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

(See more here.)

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The late international hero and Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel recalled a day in Auschwitz in 1945, when Jews awaiting death in a huge crematoria were praying.

Part of Jewish worship includes a Torah scroll being carried around a synagogue sanctuary as worshipers reach out to touch it. (The Torah is the first five books of what we Christians call the Old Testament.)

Because there obviously was no Torah scroll to pass around, Wiesel recalled how the prisoners lifted a little boy and carried him around the room so older worshipers could touch the child–a living symbol of Jewish faith.

That is a story worth recalling not only because it reminds us so much of the horrors of the Holocaust, but it’s a reminder of what deep, serious faith in God is about.

These kinds of Jesus in the White House memes have been circulating on social media lately.

That such memes are blasphemous seems lost on folks. Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To speak truth to power, not to stand at the right hand of President Trump the Father Almighty.

(This just in to News Central: Jesus wasn’t and isn’t even an American. Or a Canadian. Or a Mexican. Or a Belizean. Or a Syrian. Syria at least gets some serious mention in the Bible, however.)

Were a practicing Jew elected to the White House you would never find the likeness of Moses or David posted by Jews on social media. (Of course, there seems to be an unwritten law in the constitution requiring that a President be Christian, or claim he’s Christian even thinks he believes he’s not in any need of repentance or asking God’s forgiveness for any vile thing he does or says.)

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Late last year the governor of Oklahoma proclaimed a Prayer Day for the Oklahoma Oil Industry. Prayers and blessings were heaped on the oil-related companies and oil-related workers that God has so richly blessed in the Sooner state. (More on that here.)

It was a feel-good event, all about praise to God for all things oil-related! And don’t get me wrong–there’s nothing wrong about feel-good prayers of praise and joy.

(There was no mention that scientists have absolutely linked a barrage of earthquakes in Oklahoma felt all the way to Dallas are occurring because of fracking. But scientists don’t get much respect these days.)

Presumably, Oklahoma has arrived at such a blessed state that nobody there is in need of Christian prayer and remembrance for the poor, the abused, the homeless, the sick, the prisoners, and all the people on the margins with whom Jesus stood and walked in solidarity while warning the rich at every turn that wealth and power are corruptive forces.

Presumably Oklahoma is not a land of milk and honey, but a land of oil and natural gas money and prosperity.

Christian theology in America (or the bastardized strain of it I call Trumpianity) runs miles wide and one-inch deep.

Jewish theology has always run miles wide and as equally deep, never flinching from taking the daily realities of suffering, evil, life, and death seriously.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and knew a thing or two about suffering, evil, and the Holocaust–who authored volumes of wise words about the theologies of prayer, worship, praise and wonderment and so much more–wrote:

    Prayer must never be a citadel for selfish concerns but rather a place for deepening concern over other people’s plight. Prayer is a privilege. Unless we learn how to be worthy, we forfeit the right and ability to pray.

    Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods.

    (From Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity by Abraham Joshua Heschel)

God bless America and the whole, big wide world.

*More on Trumpianity here.

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“People living deep lives have no fear of death.”

— Anais Nin

* * * *

“You say it’s your birthday…”

–Sir Paul McCartney

It was a cold, dark and stormy night 67 years ago in that crumbling little Southern hamlet they call Navasota, Texas.

Wild dawgs were prowling and wolves on the outskirts of town were howling when Dr. Ketchum handed a newborn boy over to Goldie McKay and said, “Congratulations, Goldie.”

Whereupon Goldie inspected her pinkish newborn boy and screamed, “OMG! He’s got his daddy’s Jitterbug legs!”

In the distance the townspeople heard Satan laughing with delight

* * *

But (somewhat) seriously, ladies and germs.

In my misspent youth (hey, it was the sixties; and seventies; followed by the eighties), I used to say:

    “Have em play ‘Born to Be Wild’ at My funeral!”

I was thinking as we tend to do when we’re young and stoopid that I was invincible and would never be in need of a funeral.

I’d still be fine with that rock anthem being played at my funeral, but also some Judy Collins doing “Amazing Grace” (the best version ever in my book, and it A cappella) and Leonard Cohen doing “Anthem.” (Take note here, kids.)

Not that I’m planning for a funeral anytime soon. But having walked through the valley with so many people who had to face up to their mortality when I was a practicing hospital and hospice chaplain, I’ve come to appreciate death as much as life.

Appreciating every day the cold, hard fact that you’re going to be no more some day makes good living urgent.

* * *

I’m living good, and wouldn’t want to go back to my wild and crazy teens or twenties or any other age. Whereas I used to shout out at parties, “Vino! More WINE for my WIMMEN!”, I’m now likely to be turning out the light by 9, 10, 11 if a night football game is in overtime.

It’s lights out after reading whatever novel I have on my nightstand along with my Book of Common Prayer for nightly prayers, and lifting up those who’ve asked me to pray for them (your requests are always welcome and taken seriously), and my random reading of Psalms.

Living alone as I do in a humble little man cave, my idea of a good time at night is squeezing a roll of Charmin while sipping my daily 6 to 8 ounces of Kombucha or Chaya tea I get from a shaman who is a descendent of Mayans who tramped around my part of Belize thousands of years ago.

The Shaman’s Mayan name is too hard for me to deal with, but he goes by the name “Earl” anyway. (I’m blessed to be living this good life of mine in the oddest nation on Earth: Belize.)

That said, I still do have my wild side and always will.

I dance in the shower every day like nobody’s watching, for example, since nobody is.

But sometimes in public places too.

Stay wild, my friends.

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From "Limping to Jerusalem" the community group on Facebook. (Culled from another FB site: Garden of Bright Images. Artwork by Carl Holsoe

From “Limping to Jerusalem” the community group on Facebook. (Culled from another FB site: Garden of Bright Images. Artwork by Carl Holsoe)

On Facebook I came across a Christian community group in which some anonymous person puts up beautiful memes and pictures every day.

The illustrations usually cite wonderfully incisive and inspiring quotes from Christians famous and obscure, but also from other faith and wisdom traditions.

This is how it’s described at the Facebook site itself:

About
Join me, friends, in filling your minds, hearts and eyes with what is inspiring, encouraging and gracious.

Sometimes it simply features a picture that gives its viewer meditative pause, like this one below of a boy and his dog. (And what’s not to love about a child with a dog.)

Oftentimes the daily posts at “Limping” are taken from other spiritual FB community groups that I go to and start following.

A beautiful meditative picture from the Christian community group on Facebook called "Limping to Jerusalem."

A beautiful meditative picture from the Christian community group on Facebook called “Limping to Jerusalem.” It immediately brings to mind Jesus telling us that the way into heaven is by letting your guard down and becoming as free and vulnerable as a child.

The group site is called “Limping to Jerusalem”–a name that got me quietly excited the first time I saw it.

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get me quietly excited when I see something that stirs me spiritually.

We're all broken people. You might say we're all "limping to Jerusalem."

We’re all broken people. You might say we’re all “limping to Jerusalem.”

But that name–Limping to Jerusalem–grabbed me because it comports with my own personal theology. And longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbug know that my theology in the proverbial nutshell is this:

    “We’re all broken people, all doing the best we can in a noisy, violent, broken world, all in need of God’s healing powers of love, extravagant grace and tender mercies–all of which the healing God is happy to provide.”

That’s a way of saying “We’re all broken people, all limping to Jerusalem.

The anonymous person behind the Facebook group has a messenger button on the page, so I sent a private message and this is the communication we had:

    ME:
    Love the name “Limping to Jerusalem. That’s chock full of theology.”

    THE RESPONSE:
    Thank you, Paul. Here’s a little paragraph I wrote to explain the name. (You’re the FIRST one who hasn’t asked me for an explanation. You understood it immediately… Bless you, brother, from your sister Claudia way up in North Idaho.)

    Why Limping? We live in a world where human strength is idolized. We gaze longingly upon the athletes…so dazzled by their leaps and bounds. But what impresses God?

    Psalm 51 says: “You [Lord] do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God…”

    I have despised my brokenness, but God does not. I am a limper, but scripture tells me:

    “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” (Psalm 84)

    Though I have spent many years in the Valley of Weeping, I will appear before God in Zion. I will limp up the hill into Jerusalem, singing a Psalm of Ascent and carrying my sheaves with me. Follow me, fellow limpers, and make your struggle the most beautiful part of your song.

Good stuff.

Blessings back atcha up there in the frozen north, sister Claudia.

More posts from the many and very many posts at Limping to Jerusalem:

"As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate." From Limping to Jerusalem and the FB site Contemplative Monk, another wonderful online community.

“As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” From Limping to Jerusalem and the FB site Contemplative Monk, another wonderful online community.

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

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" 'For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.'  Then they said to Him, 'Lord, always give us this bread.' Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.' " (John 6:33-35)

” ‘For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’
Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’ ” (John 6:33-35)

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Great wisdom is great wisdom, now matter who shares it. Limping to Jerusalem isn't restricted to orthodox Christian wisdom and spirituality.

Great wisdom is great wisdom, now matter who shares it. Limping to Jerusalem isn’t restricted to orthodox Christian wisdom and spirituality–another thing I like it about. If you’re on Facebook check it out.

See here to see Claudia Lovejoy.

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The Obama Family Legacy


First Class Family.

First Class Family.

Money can’t buy class, and the Obama family exemplifies class.

Money has nothing to do with family values and the Obama family represents the best of the best in family values.

Grace-filled people show grace and courage under all kinds of pressure, including the relentless pressure of hatred and vitriol. The Obama family has demonstrated extravagant grace and courage under burning hot pressure.

Christian families don’t just talk about their love of God and neighbor to impress other Christians. They walk the love of God and neighbor. The Obama marriage is a model of what a Christian marriage can and should be, and the Obama family is a model of a what Christian family can and should be.

Thank you, Obama family, for your beautiful legacy of grace, Christian values, and love of country and people everywhere.

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In today's New York Times, Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammed Ali, writes of her husband and Thomas Merton: "Neither the monk nor the boxer relied on political leaders to set their course in matters of justice, equality and tolerance. Neither man was elected to high office, but their messages in print, in words and in deeds reverberated across the globe and in the highest chambers of power." (Photo from today's New York Times.)

Two days ago in The New York Times, Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammed Ali, writes of her husband and Thomas Merton: “Neither the monk nor the boxer relied on political leaders to set their course in matters of justice, equality and tolerance. Neither man was elected to high office, but their messages in print, in words and in deeds reverberated across the globe and in the highest chambers of power.” (Photo from New York Times.)

Lonnie Ali, widow of his greatness Muhammed Ali, had a nice piece in The New York Times Tuesday about two men whose lives converged in Louisville, Ky.–the lives of her husband and Thomas Merton.

More specifically, she notes that it’s “the convergence of their message of faith that bears noting as we mark what would have been Muhammad’s 75th birthday on Jan. 17.” (See here to read the article in whole.)

Longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbug know that Thomas Merton has always been one of my faith heroes. And Ali, of course, one of my sports and cultural heroes.

So the article naturally got my attention.

Writes Lonnie Ali:

    Like Merton, whom he never met, Muhammad was naturally drawn to the power in all faiths and at his direction his memorial service included an imam and an Islamic scholar, two Baptist ministers, two Jewish rabbis, a Roman Catholic priest, a Native American tribal chief and faith leader, and a Buddhist monk. Muhammad famously said, “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams — they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths.”

The point of her article is laid out in these words:

    As America stands divided once again in the aftermath of a polarizing election, we would do well to follow the example of Thomas Merton and Muhammad Ali in their approach to diversity, pluralism and faith. Regardless of our differences, we share a common humanity, something that will always bind us to each other. We must find ways to reconnect to each other by developing empathy and by giving back. In truth, America has always faced division in varying degrees. The test for America has always been how she manages her division, how she finds and clings to a common purpose, and how she spins the tapestry of her diversity.

Indeed, these times we live in aren’t as unique in terms of division as we might think.

Lord be with us as we seek to manage the division and help us to “spin the tapestry of our diversity” in the spirit of those deeply spiritual peacemakers Merton and Ali.

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Agape is not a weak, passive love. It is love in action… agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community… It is a willingness to forgive, not seven times, but seventy times seven to restore community… .

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness." -- MLK Jr, on his vision of "the beloved community."

“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.” — MLK Jr, on his vision of “the beloved community.”

Never forget: Martin Luther King, Jr. was first and foremost a great preacher and he was a great preacher because he kept throwing his theological nets out deeper and deeper.

Consider, for example, his deep understanding of how and why we love even our enemies.

It’s not because we feel anything like sentimental, affectionate love for those who hate us so much they would gladly kill us.

It’s because … well …

Maria Popova summed it up nicely yesterday in reviewing King’s pillars of nonviolent resistance and the Greek notion of Agape love.

Popova is the curious brain behind the online site “Brain Pickings,” which is a readable, must-read blog featured every Sunday for people curious about all things literary, philosophical and theological.

You can read for yourself her summation of King’s tenets of nonviolent resistance and Agape love here.

 Maria Popova, the brains behind "Brain Pickings." She describes herself as "a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large."

Maria Popova, the brains behind “Brain Pickings.” She describes herself as “a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large.”

Here’s a sampling of Popova’s post yesterday (which I’ve broken down into short paragraphs for readability):

    Dr. King turns to Ancient Greek philosophy, pointing out that the love he speaks of is not the sentimental or affectionate kind — “it would be nonsense to urge men to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense,” he readily acknowledges — but love in the sense of understanding and redemptive goodwill.

    The Greeks called this agape — a love distinctly different from the eros, reserved for our lovers, or philia, with which we love our friends and family. Dr. King explains:

    Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative.

    It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object… Agape is disinterested love.

    It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

    Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes.

    It is an entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both.

    If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake.

    Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.

Even many of his fellow civil rights activists initially thought King was wrong to come out against the Vietnam War as it took to the focus off the cause. But he saw the war and profiteering from it as an impediment to the realization of a restored community--it was always about community with King!

Even many of his fellow civil rights activists initially thought King was wrong to come out against the Vietnam War as it took to the focus off the cause. But he saw the war and profiteering from it as an impediment to the realization of a restored community–it was always about community with King!

Nonviolence … does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Growin’, growin’, changin’ ev’ry day
Knowin’, showin’ all my worldly ways

Hear the chimes, hear how they ring
Marking time all through the day”

— From the Doobie Brothers classic “The Captain and Me”

I don’t know about you, but at times this week I’ve felt like this was the craziest, most divisive week in America I’ve ever experienced in my (soon-to-be) 67 years.

But then remember I graduated from high school in 1968 and lived through the divisive time of civil rights and the Vietnam War and Watergate and all that.

At any rate, this calls for some music therapy from my era featuring The Doobie Brothers–a great American band that was a hit machine back in some turbulent days.

My favorite of their songs, though, wasn’t a big single hit; it was the title song from their great album The Captain and Me. (More here on it.)

It was a socially conscious song as much of their music was–“Taking it to the Streets,” for example, with lyrics like:

    You don’t know me but I’m your brother
    I was born here in this living hell

    You don’t know my kind in your world
    Fairly soon the time will tell

Not exactly Beach Boys white-bread music.

“The Captain and Me,” which I never get tired of hearing, seems especially apropos for this weekend in which we commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The other Doobie songs I’m featuring are simply other, personal favorites.

(And here are lyrics to The Captain and Me.)

Keep on rocking’ in the free world, y’all.

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