Deep in my heart, I do believe, We Shall Over Come someday….Charles Tindley
One of the first comments I received about the Conference Call Book Club selection of Bishop Carlton Pearson’s book, God is Not a Christian, Nor a Muslim… was that I had created a fire-storm. I had alienated some friends, and perhaps, consigned myself to a particular point of view that would permanently define the kind of audience I would have. The comments seemed fair enough to consider and give a response to. After all, the focus of the book is to discuss what you believe and why you believe it.
I identify in my spirit with people and stories that tell of how extreme circumstances underscore subsequent high levels of success. My earliest memories are of overcoming the “no” response to my requests. As I grew older I considered myself “resourceful” in finding ways to do what I wanted to do and what others said I could not do. As more time passed, “defiant”, “hard-headed” and “opinionated” became platitudes of others about me. I have from a very early age on, had my own mind, feelings and beliefs about my life.
I know in my heart when sincerity is expressed and when it is not genuine. My natural antennae give no regard to who says it, whether a trusted family member or an outsider, it knows if what is said is authentic. Time and development of my inner voice has helped me to discern the word of God, from wherever and whomever it comes. This inner voice also directs who and what I listen to. I choose people and stories that address good for myself, my family and my community. Recognizing that there is the mental, physical and spiritual me, I work to strengthen each of my aspects to better serve the good. What better way to connect and engage in discussion of books that focus on “OverComers” than a Conference Call Book Club? I know many busy people and this should be an easy, fun and informative way to do it.
Discussion of God is Not a Christian, Nor a Muslim… is meant to address our spiritual make-up. What make-up do you use, if any, and why wear it that way is an analogy which hopefully will inspire you to join into the Conference Call Book Club. Bishop’s story describes his overcoming immense obstacles, both personally and professionally and how he is still standing in the abundance of God despite the journey’s cost and with his evolving authentic self.
Further confirmation that overcoming is struggle is described by Vincent Harding, author of Hope and History and There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America. Dr. Harding says that for the money question, the compassion question, the racial question, now the religious question—all of these are things that we have to take hold of. We should not see them primarily as more burdens, but, “Lord, what a gift you are giving us to try to make a nation out of this stuff. Wow.” It seems to me that’s the spirit we need to bring. And many ask, How do you struggle when folks are constantly pushing back? I can only say, How else do you struggle? That’s what makes struggle—not constant victories, but getting up after you have been knocked down, again and again. That is what makes for your faith in the fact that you are a follower of the One who took up the cause. (This article is adapted from a fall 2011 interview with Dr. Harding by Sojourners editor-in-chief Jim Wallis in Washington, D.C.)
When Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, was in her senior year at Spellman College, back in 1960, she wrote this in her diary: “Now, as never before, is the chance offered to do something. This is a history-making epoch, where we, me, the young, can be major characters. Now is the time to act, to work, to sacrifice. Life is so pressing. Time is so strained. I’m very frantic in my quest to use it, not to waste it. Now is the time. Each moment must be made to count.” She was 21 years old then. She’s 72 now, still working at the tasks. (This article is adapted from The Black Star Project Journal.) This is indeed the time to overcome what may stand in the way of progress.
As I receive suggestions and comments I expect to get ideas for other featured authors. The next book will focus on a OverComer who has had physical challenges and I will conclude the Conference Call Book Club with the review of a book that will give us insight of someone overcoming mental challenges.
I invite you to join tonight’s Book Club Conference Call to delve into our various, yet important, responses. Get on the call with me and bring your insight and enlightenment.
Time: Thursday evenings from 7 – 8 PM Central Standard Time
Dates: 2/23, 3/1, and Finale 3/15 “At a Place to Be Announced”.
Call In Number: 1-218-548-9465
Pass code: 201211#
Now that you know what I believe, look for the next post in which I talk about why I believe what I believe.
Peace and Love,