Archive for the ‘within the quote’ Category

Holy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

I woke feeling spiritually parched. I didn’t need to write, I needed to read. I reached for a book in search of a cool drink of water for my soul. It’s been a tough Lenten season where I live. And even though a ray of light is beginning to peep through, there’s no denying that the wait has taken its toll on us all. It’s left me fresh out of insight and wisdom.

cup from the wellWhat do I do when my cup is bone dry? I sip from others’ cups. Until a little moisture gathers again in my own cup. And it will. It always does. But today my cup is empty. And it will probably be empty tomorrow as well.

What better way to honor and acknowledge the sanctity of Holy Week than to shut up and listen as others wiser and more Enlightened than myself describe what they’ve witnessed and  experienced on this exquisitely mysterious path toward God. I drink from their cup until my cup is refilled, at which time I can turn around and offer others a little drink to refresh themselves.

Life either dwarfs us or grows us. there is no in between. There is no standing still in the spiritual life. there is only the unending opportunity to become or to die. We see people die spiritually every day. Sometimes the look very religious in the doing of it, in fact. they go on believing, reading, praying, thinking, what they have always thought. In the face of new questions, they dare no questions. At the brink of new insights, they wan tto insights. the y want comfort and a guarantee of the kind of heaven they imagined as children. They think that to think anything else is unfaithful….But those who grow in the spiritual life know that spirituality begins where answers and pictures stop. the spiritual life is seeded in darkness and ends in light. It is about love, not law; it is about grace and energy, the cosmos and creation. It is about hope at the edge of despair and a beginning where only an end seems to be.” (Joan Chittister, Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir).

Flap, Doggone It

Friday, August 1st, 2008

“Sometimes you have to go ahead and jump off the cliff, and grow your wings on the way down.”

Faith is flapping your imaginary wings.

So, go for it. Take the plunge. God isn’t on the cliff, but out there in the wind. There’s nothing more to learn on the ledge.  

a woman's cliff

“What happens if I crash?” Then you died trying to fly.

But consider this: What if you end up flying?

So, go ahead and jump, doggone it.

That’s it: Jump.

Now start flapping. Look up, not down. Stop screaming and keep flapping.

That’s it. Fly.

Within The Quote: The New Liberal

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

It’s been awhile, but today is a great time to return to my custom on Friday of sharing with readers a quote from one of my favorite thinkers as a way of capping off a week of thinking out loud as women about faith and values.

This week’s quote comes from Dr. Benjamin Mays who served as president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967 . During his tenure at Morehouse College, Benjamin Mays (1894-1984) had a profound impact on students such as Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond, Maynard Jackson, and many others, to name a few. Even Spelman College graduates, such as Marian Wright Edelman and Audrey Manley, speak passionately of Mays ‘ s influence on the female students studying across the street from the Morehouse campus .  Benjamin Mays and his former student Martin Luther King promised each other: He who outlived the other would deliver his friend’s last eulogy. On April 9, 1968, Mays made good on the promise.

Understanding that part of his task was casting a moral vision for his students, Mays, a devout Christian minister, uncompromising advocate for justice, and career educator, used his final commencement address in 1967,  the year of the school’s centennial, to warn students of the new racism which their generation would have to be ready to face.

Discrimination in the future will not be administered by poor whites and the people who believe in segregation , but by the “liberals ” who believe in a desegregated society . If this battle can be won , Morehouse will have an equal chance to develop like any other good college in America …. The Negro’s battle for justice and equality in the future will be against the subtlety of our ” liberal friends ” who will wine and dine with us in the swankiest hotels, work with us, and still discriminate against us when it comes to money and power. The battle must be won because, for a long time, the wealth of this nation will be in the hands of white Americans and not Negroes . The abolition of economic, political, and philanthropic discrimination is the first order of the day , not for the good of Negroes alone but for the nation as a whole .”

As quoted by Robert M. Frankliin Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities.

Go Tell Mary and Martha

Friday, January 18th, 2008

From time to time I try to lighten things up a bit on Friday with a favorite quote or media clip, something in keeping with one of the heady topics raised earlier in the week here on the blog. 

Seems to me that the most fitting way to close out this week is with a media clip of the  Negro Spiritual, ”Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.”  Inez Andrews, lead singer of the  Caravans made it her signature song in the 1950s. Aretha Franklin made it a cut to be remembered for generations to come when she recorded it on her 1972 “Amazing Grace” album. Smack in the middle of singing “O Mary Don’t You Weep” Aretha breaks out into an extemporaneous re-telling of Lazarus’ resurrection, reminiscent of the preaching and singing she grew up hearing by her famous father, C. L. Franklin. Since there’s no clip of Aretha’s version of the song, we’ll settle for the fine job Yolanda Adams, in a tribute to the Queen of Soul, does trying to reproduce Aretha’s interpretation of the song.

By the way, curious minds will notice that the biblical reference to Mary and Martha in the song is ambiguous: Is it referring to Mary, the sister of Martha, weeping at the tomb of their brother Lazarus (John 11:31-35), or to Mary Magdalene’s weeping on Resurrection morning just before Jesus reveals himself to her (John 20:11-18)? The slaves weren’t the biblical literalists that we are and left the matter to us to choose. But don’t you just love the way the slaves juxtaposed the Mary story with the Exodus story of Moses? To their non-literate minds the two stories were one in the same. The God of Liberation in the Old Testament is the God of Resurrection in the New. With all that they had to endure the slaves didn’t frown on weeping, they simply believed there’s a time for weeping and there’s a time better spent planning your freedom.