When Dr. Martin Luther King spoke, you could hear a hunger in the crowd.
Random thoughts as we begin a new year:
As African-Americans, our “freedom” began with an almost unspeakable idea conceived in the heart and soul, then whispered into the universe. Our new journey toward freedom from a more insidious slavery, destroying our communities today, begins with words that imagine future possibilities of not being enslaved by those elements currently padlocking our hearts and minds.
Just random thoughts . . .
“They” say I shouldn’t say it, shouldn’t keep writing about it. That I am too critical of politicians, parents, churches, preachers, teachers. That I should just shut up.
I say: “Stand up, put up, get up, man up, speak up. Or YOU, shut up, if you truly ain’t about our people coming up.”
Random thoughts . . .
Dear Mother, raise your son. He just might be the greatest man you’ll ever meet. He might be the only shoulder upon which you will someday be able to lean. His, the only man’s arm there to lift you from your wheelchair. His, the loving words to comfort you in sick and lonely nights when at last you close your eyes. His, the only man’s heart in whom you are a complete delight. So dear mother, raise him right.
Just random thoughts . .
Once, as slaves, we sang freedom songs.
Today as “free” men and women, we sing “slave songs.” Songs of materialism, of misogyny, murder and mayhem. Songs that praise the gift more than the Giver. We sing and dance to music that keeps us inebriated, that gets us high in Sunday service. Songs that distract and delude from our greater purpose, from our current crises and condition.
Our enslaved ancestors sang and were delivered. We sing and have become incarcerated — our communities decimated, our children lying dead in the street, our minds shackled by greater chains than any that once held our ancestors, though at least their minds and souls were free.
Just random thoughts for a new year.
For decades now, we have traveled to our church’s national conventions. After millions upon millions spent at hotels that jack up prices to rip off the “saints,” and after millions more on food and travel, in offerings and “reports,” why does the church not own a single hotel or convention center? Why do we have little more than memories after all this money and all this time?
Here’s another: Deadbeat preachers, deadbeat churches, deadbeat politicians and deadbeat teachers are a lot like deadbeat dads. They show up for the glory but most often contribute little to nothing to the story. And when called to task for their absence and incompetence, they blame the victim for blaming them. To whom much is given, much is required. Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen.
Ever been “secretly” despised, greeted with niceties. Invited inside only to be held at arm’s length? Embraced as far as undiscerning eyes can see, but in reality outcast. Shunned.
Despised. Treated like the enemy? By those who wished you dead a thousand times, with hearts that claim to love, to know God. But inside filled with lies and knives beneath their smile and hypocritical eyes?
Just random thoughts . . .
Listening lately to my Dr. King speech collection — riveting, poetic, unapologetic and powerfully prophetic. I hear the palpable hunger and electricity in the crowd, ready to stand and die for freedom. And I can’t help thinking, “What happened to us?”
Why would God open the Red Sea when we are comfortable and cozy in bondage and unwilling to leave Egypt in the first place?