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  • July 2018
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Freedom From Terror: MLK JR’s Legacy

“Your father and his brother, the mayor, came into the kitchen with a rope. They said a black man had raped a white woman and they were going out hunting for him. I was terrified.”

Until I was an adult, my mother had told me nothing about her dashing, handsome husband, my birth father.

She asked me not to look for him because he was “dangerous.” I honored her request until I was forty-seven years old, when I searched for and found my father, an old man living in South Georgia.

Mom was a beautiful, small town Northern Pennsylvania school teacher who had spent years caring for her sick mother. He, a charming Southern soldier on leave, had swept her off her feet. They married on a whim. On their honeymoon, he took her to visit his traditional, southern family where she discovered his true identity.

With a flare towards the romantic, mom picked her china pattern, ‘The Georgian’ by Homer Laughlin,  learned to make Southern Biscuits, got on a train back to Pennsylvania and seldom saw the man she married until after WWII.

He returned to discuss divorce, disown me, and disappear. He never appeared in our family story until I found him in his kitchen forty-seven years later.

“I always wondered what happened to you, but I never did anything about it.” sad words from my elderly father, as I sat at his knee bawling.

We spoke on the phone several times and then three months later he died. The end.  Yet my work was just beginning. I needed to forgive the trauma and loneliness, depression and anger that remained in me.

When I read this article, I remembered him again and thought about the terror he was responsible for in that Southern town so many years ago.


Voice of the Martyrs’ Tom White’s Death a Sad and Lonely End

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, miniatu...

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, miniature, Hitda-Codex, Darmstadt, Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, cod. 1640, fol. 171 References: Anna Maria Cetto: Mittelalterliche Miniaturen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tom White, Executive Director of the Christian Organization, Voice of the Martyrs, was accused of allegedly molesting a 10 year old girl and recently died of apparent suicide.

What a tragic end to the life of a man who had spent his years bringing attention to the poor, the abused, the neglected. We sorrow for the family, the child, the legacy.

“Who among you dares to cast the first stone?” That’s the question Jesus asked when the Pharisees were so eager to condemn a woman caught in adultery.

Here’s the situation quoted directly from our Holy Book: King James Version

“And early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them

“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?”

“This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him.”

“But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.”

“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

“When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

“She said, No man, Lord.”

“And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11)

It is a horrible thing to molest and abuse a child, of course. I think Jesus would call it a sin.

A sin is anything that separates us from God.

But, Christians tend to feel squeamish talking to each other about their sins. It’s hard enough to admit wrong, and say we’re sorry, let alone own up to “sins”.

We also tend to put people on pedestals: Political figures, Popular media stars, Pastors…Leaders of Christian organizations…failing to demand accountability from them.

If we identify as Christians then we align ourselves with a set of standards which are clear but never perfectly observed. Ironically,  though, anyone watching us from “outside” the Church can and often will, quickly point out when we deviate from these standards, it is rather uncool to do this within the Church. It should be just the opposite.

This shouldn’t be such a huge deal, because we have something in our lives called “Grace”, but it is often difficult to give to others.

Sometimes the Christian Community makes it difficult to be honest about our weaknesses. So we deal with our them in a number of ways. Two extremes might be…

We give up trying to live a life of faith…or act as if we are fine on the surface, while painfully struggling with problems desperately working to hide them with good works.

Because a small child helplessly suffers molestation by a grown-up, we see this type of abuse as worse than some others.

But, we may abuse and ruin people’s lives by the words we speak, the policies we embrace, the choices we make in our daily lives.

If Tom White was guilty, I hope he shared his mess with someone. Jesus makes it clear that we have company in our mess.  No one is “without sin” and we can open ourselves to Jesus who does not condemn us.  I’m sad that Tom White felt that the only way through his pain was suicide. What a lonely end.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Tom White’s Death an Apparent Suicide Following Molestation Investigation | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

Migraine Days

migraine medications - pain begins to ease

Image by Joana Roja - working long hours, mostly away via Flickr

English: The fortification illusions of migraine
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday began with confusion. I called my friend and she was available to meet me earlier than I had expected. My mind began to spread out in too many directions. I had expected to have a long and relaxed morning as usual, gradually easing into yet another of my days.

Reading, listening, learning, that’s how I like to begin my winter days, very slowly. Suddenly, I was up, dressing, heart pounding, trying to find addresses so I could make a run to the Post Office on my way to or fro.

It didn’t happen. I ran out the door, forgetting the grocery list, eye twitching, brain befuddled, words from my husband lost in space. What was it he said about bringing back lunch?

When I received his call at 1pm expecting me home, I came out from the dark tunnel, “But, there is a car at our house, can’t you get lunch?”

He hadn’t thought about asking the man working at our house to go out to get subs, why was my mind so dark? Of course, he wouldn’t think of asking a worker to go out to buy lunch.

Eye twitched the entire day, something is wrong. Back hurts, stomach hurts, I moan in my sleep, tossing and turning.

Today I have a migraine, and feel that I have lost half my brain and vocabulary. If I am correct, it will return eventually, and I will not alarm myself with worry. This too shall pass.

In the meantime, everything I eat will hurt. It is like a race to find the right thing to fill my stomach before I become nauseous, and the headache waves return. Coughing hurts, so does opening my mouth in a yawn. My hands and feet are stone cold, I’m shivering but no blanket helps.

I marvel that I ate cheese and chocolate just the other day! Today, even Cheerios hurt.