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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Walking Beside Him

I decided to contribute to this last Sunday in Black History month with this post about a woman who featured prominently in our society up until her passing in 2006. This woman is none other than Coretta Scott King who walked bravely beside her husband, Martin Luther King. In the midst of their civil rights activities, Mrs. King found the time to juggle housework and babies while her husband spent time pursuing his dream of equality for the black race. And in addition to performing her role as wife and mother, Mrs. King also took part in protest rallies, spoke to scores of people and protected her children from a bomb or two.

Coretta King gave up the bright lights of a singing career to become the wife of a Baptist minister in 1953. She later gave birth to four children. Early in the marriage she worked alongside her husband, or it was more like marched, traveled abroad with him and spoke on his behalf when he was unable to do so. Coretta survived Martin Luther King by four decades, and determined that the work he began would live on, she gave herself no time to mourn. Just four days after his death she led a march through the streets of Memphis, and attended the Poor People’s March in Washington later that year.

Over the years, Coretta King continued to work tirelessly in her husband’s memory, establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, and achieving the goal of having her husband’s birthday honored as a public holiday in Jan. 1986. She continued to travel the globe, preaching the gospel of equality and became a goodwill ambassador and advisor to world leaders, including Nelson Mandela.

Like most wives of men in the limelight, Coretta had to put up with the scores of women who admired and followed her husband. Despite rumors of infidelity on Martin Luther’s part, Coretta “stood by her man” and did not allow those rumors to affect their relationship.

As women we can learn from Mrs. King's example of loyalty, devotion and courage. Whether we are married to a world leader or a subordinate, those qualities can be the "wind beneath our mate's wings." God calls us to no less.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abusing The Petri Dish

Over the centuries Science has proved invaluable to the advancement to mankind. Where would we be without the wheel, the light bulb, the computer and the Petri dish? We cannot envision ourselves living without these necessities, but as with everything else there is always the potential for abuse. By the way, can we manage without the Petri dish? One of my dear friends has three grand-children born by in vitro fertilization, and she thanks God everyday for them.

But the point I’m making is that some things are beyond our reach and we should not try to circumvent God’s will in order to have them. Many married couples agonize over their inability to have children, while others abort babies for one reason or another. What’s wrong and what’s right? To hatch or not to hatch? By the way, hatching is a term actually used in conjunction with IVF. The definition on one website is “Assisted hatching is a relatively new technique used during certain IVF procedures. It is performed in order to help an embryo hatch out of its protective layering and implant into the uterus.” Astonishingly, a term hitherto associated with animals is being used in reference to something as sacred as human conception.

If Aldous Huxley had to write about our society today he might name it “A Braver New world.” A world in which anything goes. You are single and want to have a baby? Go ahead. You are pregnant and want to get rid of it? Go ahead. You want to hatch? Go ahead. Leave God out of it. It’s my body. My right to choose. Sadly, we see the consequences of these misguided decisions. In the case of Ms. Suleman, amazement has turned to ridicule and anger at not just her but her doctor. Book, music and other publicity deals were expected to come out of this, according to one report. But this is one of the sad realities of our “Braver New World.”

So to answer the question above, can we do without the Petri dish? I would say, yes, we can, but let’s keep it. We are not getting rid of the light bulb so we shouldn’t get rid of the Petri dish. But let’s not abuse it. The UK, Australia and New Zealand have imposed restrictions on the number of embryos that can be transferred into a woman’s uterus. Maybe we need to do the same here in the US. After all, we get speeding tickets to help us be responsible on the roads, don’t we? Then why not help us be responsible with the lives of our children?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Can We Forgive?

American Idol has become one of the most popular TV show in recent times. I never became a serious fan of the show because quite frankly I'm turned off by Simon's caustic sarcasm. I think that a judge should be able to tell someone their performance stinks without saying, "Is there an odor around here?" The other reason I don't follow the show is my choice never wins.

This happened a few years ago when my choice, Mandisa, lost to someone else, but as far as I am concerned she was a winner in more ways than one because she had the nerve to stand up to the insufferable Simon. You see, he took issue with her size, and in his own inimitable way, made certain remarks which were very insulting.

The charming, talented young woman told Simon in no uncertain terms that she forgave him without needing an apology because Jesus had forgiven her! To have the boldness to say that on national TV is a gift that could only have come from God. When I heard it I thought, I have to see who this person is, so I watched the show after that and was very impressed.

In reading about the trailblazers that shaped the future of African Americans, I came across a story of a young lady who also displayed a great lesson in courage and forgiveness. Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was bused to the Franz Elementary School in New Orleans under desegregation laws, and met with a great deal of persecution from the white parents, so much so that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered that she be escorted by marshals to school every day.

As a result parents kept their children away from the school as a mark of protest, so little Ruby sat alone in the school while her teacher taught her. But it is recorded that while she was being escorted she prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Eventually the whites woke up to the realization that their kids were not being educated and they sent them back to school.

I spoke to a man the other day who said, “I will never forgive my ex-wife for what she did to me. Never!” He admitted that he was only hurting himself, and when I told him that Jesus chose to forgive the Roman soldiers who tortured and killed Him, he became even more angry and stormed away. But whether you’re dealing with a Simon, an errant spouse or a whole bunch of enemies, forgiveness wins every time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Don't Give Up!

This week I want to comment on a book I read some time ago. It’s The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and it tells of the life of Esther Greenwood, a young student fashion writer, whose troubled life closely resembled Sylvia’s. In the book she says, "I’ve tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar." The book itself ends on a hopeful note, but as some of you may know, Sylvia Plath committed suicide. Her mother said that Sylvia was overwhelmed by trying to keep up with her writing and with the demands of her domestic life.

The idea of someone at the pinnacle of her success ending her life seems unthinkable, but it happens all too often. In this economy when many people are losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings, it is easy to become depressed. Last week the news media broadcast a story of a man and his wife who lost their jobs. He killed himself and his five children. The wife attempted to take her own life but didn't succeed.

This is why I cannot overemphasize the importance of being anchored to God. It is He who gives us the strength to live from day to day. It is He who helps us to stay on the surface when the currents of life threaten to pull us under. Now, more than ever, we need to "lift up our eyes to the hills, from whence comes our help" Psalm 121:1. Please, don't give up. Don't lose hope. Give your life to Jesus today if you haven't done so already, and watch Him take over.