Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day...But What Is Going On?

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. and I wanted to share some quotes with you:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963 ~Tweeted by @CatholicDems RT by @alcreationwaits

It's good to remember Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. today. We need people like him to be on the side of the poor, the marginalized and excluded. ~Tweeted by @alcreationwaits

Particularly inspiring blog posts today for me that celebrate Martin Luther King were this one from Brene Brown and this one from Lori-Lyn Hurley.

The above views reflect my values and honor Martin Luther King and what he accomplished in his short life. Yesterday in church we celebrated Christian Unity in honor of other celebrations going on in the world and in honor of Martin Luther King.

Yet at this time not everyone is celebrating. Not everyone is honoring. Yesterday I got a truly bizarre email from someone I know who is in a small group I attended when I went to my previous church.

I didn't read the whole thing, just enough to tell that it was a long rant that was negative and bigoted. It gave me the creeps big-time. It was absolutely hate speech, and it shocked me that it came from someone I knew. I immediately emailed the individual involved and addressed the situation with him so that I won't be getting any more emails and to let him know that it was offensive. He was prompt in replying and in removing me and gentlemanly in his handling of the situation. Which makes the whole hate speech thing even creepier to me. It feels like someone who looks just fine--normal--just like me--on the outside is exposing their heart to me and what I see is scary and ugly and dark and gangrenous and maggoty.

Something is very wrong in our world. It feels to me like people are coming out of hate-filled closets, wanting to share their views with the world, and wanting to destroy what they disagree with. And not just mentally ill people, either. I don't know if it is just my perception or not, but it feels quite pervasive--more common that I guess I thought. It makes me wonder who else looks nice and clean and well-mannered but who deep down thinks this way.

I will post a follow-up to my last post about my diagnosis soon. But I wanted to share these thoughts with you on this holiday. What is your experience of MLK Day? How do you deal with the experience of hate intruding into your world?


Seeking Simplicity said...
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Seeking Simplicity said...

I've always wonder about people who attend church, claim to have accept Christ as their savior; and yet will throw the biggest stone at their fellow man and show so much hatred against others.

Definitely confronting this person was the best way to handle the situation and hopefully make him think before sending out to others.

I heard Maya Angelou speaks once about asking people to leave her home if they told an off-color joke about another group of people. She told the person her home was her sanctuary and it was filled with love and no hatred would be tolerated in her home. Takes a brave person to speak out to someone who thinks they are being funny as they put others down.

Olivia said...

You say it well, EB. I love Maya Angelou's policy--if we all had a similar one and could enforce it, such things would at least go underground, to be expressed only in special places of hatred (I suppose) with like-minded people.

I will wonder about this person and others who think like this...

Thank you for your comment, EB.

Love and blessing, xoO

patti said...

I know people who are xenophobic, name it .. and I just feel sorry for them. They must hold so much fear close to their hearts in order to be that way. So It's those people who need our compassion and our example.

MLK was an amazing man. I hope America remembered him well.

Olivia said...

Oh Patti, I love what you wrote. You say it so well. They do indeed hold fear close to their hearts...they need our compassion and example.

I would much rather radiate love as I disengage instead of fleeing in horror and disgust. I get so creeped out that sometimes I forget that.

Peace to you, Patti, xoO

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am just blind to it, but it has been years since anyone expressed anything like that in my presence. I don't think that when you do what Maya Angelou does that it will just go underground. I think we should all take that policy to our classrooms, our boardrooms, tables in restaurants... and make sure we defend our right to a space that is filled only with love energy. I believe that when we stand up for good we do more than drive the evil underground. I believe that we serve as role models and plant seeds in the minds of others. In many cases those seeds may not sprout, but sometimes they will. You could end up saving someone from a life of hatred. However, I don't think you can fight hate with hate. The best thing is to be a model of love for the other. Only if your house is totally in order and they see you living a life that has obviously been touched by love will their attention be captured and curiosity piqued.

Olivia said...


What I meant by that was more that if we did stand up then such speech wouldn't be tolerated and would be regulated to ghetto's of hatred--like special churches for haters (not called that of course), and people would be careful to be among their own kind before they spoke like that.

I do agree with you that when we stand up for what is good and are a role model ourselves it is the most powerful thing we can do and it has many ramifications. I also agree that you have to be consistent.

Today in church we discussed it and the balance between not recoiling in disgust and horror, discerning the spirit as being the Spirit of Christ or Something Else, and modeling Christ's love whatever we do.

I too have not had anyone say anything like that in my presence in decades...this was curiously, an email to our whole group (15 people) via a group mailing list (used inappropriately for private reasons) without the sender even really knowing me at all. If he saw me in the group he would know who I am but if he saw me on the street he wouldn't recognize me, most likely, nor I him. He knows nothing about me or my beliefs except that I am a Christian.

I do think, as EB mentioned to me, that the Internet makes people braver and more impulsive!

What you wrote is beautiful,

Peace and love, xoO