At times, life is hard, as hard as crucible steel. It has its deep and painful moments. Like the ever-flowing waters of the river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flower. Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of its summers and the piercing chill of its winters. Through it all, God walks with us. Never forget that God is able to lift us from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, transform dark and desolate perils into sunlit paths of inner peace.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the eulogy of James Reeb, March 15, 1965

Read the full text here



National Women’s History Week Statement by President Jimmy Carter (February 28, 1980)

From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this Nation. Too often, the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.

As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s history is women’s right—an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.”

I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality—Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.

Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people. This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th amendment to United States Constitution: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

From: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=32996


Heavn is [Jamila] Woods’ answer to this call, an album which proves that a song about learning to own your emotions (“Lonely”) is ultimately doing the same work as a song about continuing the legacy of black freedom fighters like Audre Lorde, Sojourner Truth, Ella Baker and Assata Shakur (“Blk Grl Soldier”). Addressing internal strife, insecurity and loneliness goes hand in hand with documenting the past, present and future of black resistance. And when you believe self-love is in fact instrumental to the larger political struggle, giving these two goals equal priority makes perfect sense.

excerpt from Jamila Woods and the Poetry of Black Love by Jenny Gathright, NPR, Nov 22, 2017

read the full article here


“Researchers used to say that no government could survive if just 5 percent of the population rose up against it,” Chenoweth says. “Our data shows the number may be lower than that. No single campaign in that period failed after they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population.” She adds, “But get this: every single campaign that exceeded that 3.5 percent point was a nonviolent one. The nonviolent campaigns were on average four times larger than the average violent campaigns.”

Chenoweth goes on to make an important point: Violent resistance movements, even if they do succeed, can create a lot of long-term problems. “It turns out that the way you resist matters in the long run, too,” she says, explaining that her data suggest that countries with nonviolent uprisings “were way more likely to emerge with democratic institutions.” They were also 15 percent less likely to “relapse” into civil war. After all, a nonviolent movement is often inherently democratic, a sort of expression of mass public opinion outside of the ballot box. A violent movement, on the other hand, no matter what its driving ideals, is all about legitimizing power through force; it’s not hard to see how its victorious participants would end up keeping power primarily through violence, as well.

Exceprt from Peaceful protest is much more effective than violence for toppling dictators by Max Fisher, Washington Post, November 3, 2013


…today I stood among trees that were already tall when Jesus and Buddha walked the earth. They grew taller as the Vikings sailed, were already huge before the Aztecs ever met a Spaniard. Wandering through them, I felt acutely that they were not only alive all that time, but aware. They’re like space creatures: immensely still, benevolently alien beings.
I got lost again among these giants—this time not geographically but psychologically. Spiritually. My small body, my brief life, my human identity all felt inconsequential next to the redwoods, and I loved it. Being lost in a blaring city had been jarring. It took some serious positive thinking to cope with it. By contrast, losing myself in an ancient forest was a kind of ecstasy. At some point in the hours I spent there, I forgot that I was separate from the trees, from the soil. I forgot to be a self, divided from the rest of the universe.
This kind of “lostness” is what lets us know that our Wayfinding compasses, our inborn Google maps, are working perfectly. When our minds quiet and our hearts open, we find ourselves in a map of the universe drawn like a Chinese painting, tiny human travelers barely visible in the vast beauty of nature. We don’t need to feel huge or central, the focus of attention. We don’t need to feel anything but present.
The mindset of Wayfinding can help us on a literal journey, or in every ordinary day. For you, today, that might mean navigating a relationship problem or a career disappointment. Stop, acknowledge that you’re lost, feel for the step forward that brings peace and lets you loosen your hold on what you thought you wanted. Take that step. Then do it all again. Move always toward inner stillness and loving communion.This mode of Wayfinding can become a constant state. It doesn’t mean life will be perfect. It means getting lost, but without anxiety: blundering into places we never anticipated and don’t understand, and rejoicing in it all. Once we’ve set our internal navigation to track our true purpose, we’ll get lost a thousand times: that’s how the way is found. At any given moment, it’s okay to be someplace unfamiliar without a clue where we’re going next. Whatever is happening, whatever’s around us, we always ultimately know where we are. We’re home.
Martha Beck, You Have Reached Your Destination
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(Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.) lifts up five central understandings of the path of love and nonviolence that he chose:

  1. This was not a method for cowards; it does resist.
  2. It seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win friendship and understanding, and then to awaken a sense of moral shame within those perpetrating the injustice.
  3. All attacks and resistance are directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who are caught in those forces.

Dr. King really emphasized this, that no one person was the embodiment of evil. But, rather, that they were caught in these webs of injustice and were unwilling to free themselves because of the lure of power and privilege… because they did not realize that (as he did that), “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” He knew that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly, ” and he sought to help others see that, too.

  1. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love, and those struggling for human dignity must not become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns.
  2. The path of nonviolence and love is based on the conviction that the universe, that God, is on the side of justice.

This method he chose is summed up in an often quoted line of King’s:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

So he chose the way of light and love.

For King, love is not passive. Love is not accepting the world and people just as they are. Love is action; love is resistance and challenge. Love is loving the world and the people in it enough to expect more from them.  Love is radical and revolutionary, and it is the only thing that can impact true and lasting change in this world.

And that is what we are called to do this day: to live a life of love.

Rev. Joann H. Lee, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Excerpt from her sermon, “A Life of Love,” on Jan 15, 2017, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. Read the full text and watch the video here.


Anything you do from the soulful self will help lighten the burdens of the world. Anything. You have no idea what the smallest word, the tiniest generosity can cause to be set in motion. Be outrageous in forgiving. Be dramatic in reconciling.

Excerpt from Postcript from Dr. Estés and an Assignment for You from Dr. Estés by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. [Read the full text here]