What Would MLK Do?

I’ve been struggling to write a post on “What Would MLK Do?” Now I don’t have to. Charles Johnson has written  The King We Need: Martin Luther King Jr., Moral Philosopher,. He is a student of Dr. King’s life, writings, legacy and has written several books, including at least one novel, on MLK. A thoughtful post by a very good writer.

“What would MLK Do?” in brief:


Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus
Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation-not victory.
Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

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What Would Macy Do?

Joanna Macy is “a Buddhist scholar, environmental activist, and author whose teachings are informed by the dharma, deep ecology, and systems thinking”, i.e. an activist-contemplative like Martin (Luther King). Rilke’s Book of Hours as Portent and Guide is a report on a workshop Macy did recently using Rilke’s poetry as guidance and support for activist-contemplatives. Contemplatives, as their practice deepens, start having more in common with contemplatives (mystics) in other traditions than the regular churchgoers in their own tradition. Macy nicely bridges Buddhist and Christian contemplative thought and practices.

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What Would Martin Do?

The recent election has troubled me and caused me to wonder how to respond.  Lashing out with the same ugly tactics does not improve the state of the world.  Neither does apathy and inaction.  I have been asking myself, “What would Martin (MLK) do?”  How to be kind without falling into being “nice”, appeasing the hateful?

A Time for Discernment – A Muslim Woman Calls on her Buddhist Cousins in Faith, a post by a Muslim woman on a Buddhist site, lays out a path for the faithful of all religions and peoples.

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I have made it
  to the two year mark,
thankful.  I made it with a wife
  who was the light out of the dark place
where I was not sure I could go on.

The chem doctor says "Two years is key
  though for three, we'll watch carefully
and then free you to fly on your own at five."

I've learned compassion, to suffer with,
  because now I have enough
suffering of my own to begin
  to hear, to understand, to relate, though
no two sufferings are the same.

I've learned humility, painfully, bumped
  off the place of privilege
that an 800 lb gorilla mind carries.
  I now see sometimes where it sat
was on me and my relationships.

I've had a rainbow of guides through a place
  where there are travelers
but no natives; caravans in fact
  because solo travelers
seldom thrive.

Though insurance picked up
  most of the bills, I can pay more
in the coin of the realm: in thanks,
  in good news, in being a success story
where not all
  are so successful.
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Mindfulness in Crisis

Crises reveal your values because you have to choose.

Ed Milliband

It’s the end of a long day. I’m behind on the doctor recommended exercises, both mental and physical. I tell myself the physical exercises are too stimulating to do this late in the day. They’ll make it hard to sleep. Who am I fooling? The mental exercises push me and I get anxious. My first thought is the cancer related cognitive dysfunction scares me, a lot. My second thought is without a healthy body, a healthy mind is impossible.

Let’s get some perspective. The heaviest weight is 8 pounds. That isn’t going to get me too pumped to sleep.

Mindfulness practices urge me to pause before reacting and notice what’s going on. Are my choices serving me well? No, not really. I need to do both.

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URL Change Complete

The URL for this blog is now http://blog.zaml.us/. The old URL, http://austinblues.dyndns.org/, now redirects to the new URL. The old domain name will not be renewed and some time next year will stop working. Please update your bookmarks and RSS feed addresses. Thanks for reading.

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URL changing

The URL for this blog is changing from austinblues.dyndns.org to blog.zaml.us.  If one URL doesn’t work, try the other.  It takes time, probably up to a day for DNS changes to ripple all the way out.  When the new URL seems stable, I will change austinblues.dyndns.org to do a permanent redirect to blog.zaml.us.  Your browser may automatically change the bookmark or you may have to change it manually.  Sorry for the disruption.

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Fear, Aggression, and Greed

In the last election, the winner in most races was fear, aggression, and greed.  Those who appealed to the hopes of the voters usually lost.  This dynamic is happening again this election cycle.  In the Republican primaries, hope was quickly eliminated.  Bernie Sanders tried but sometimes slid into fear et al.  Hillary tries both.  And I am losing hope sometimes in hope.  I know I will vote against fear, aggression, and greed in the fall.  I just wish I had more hope to vote for.

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He has shown you what is good. … To act justly and to love mercy

Micah 6:8

Mercy is in many ways the opposite of greed. Greed is taking all we can get, by law, by force, by whatever means. Mercy is leaving something, maybe everything, for others.

A judge knows all the punishments (s)he can give to a convicted person. Conversely, (s)he knows all the rights (s)he can take away: life, liberty, money, possessions. A judge who shows mercy leaves some or all of that to the convicted.

A land owner may leave some of the harvest for birds, animals, human gleaners. (S)he does not take all (s)he can.

An ungreedy (merciful) person making a business deal can leave something on the table.

Mercy builds a more robust community. People don’t have to beggar their neighbor in their everyday dealings. That spreads the resources around for when there is a crisis. Bitter, impoverished people are unable to help each other.

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How Then Shall We Live?

The Bible tells the stories of Jesus’ miracle healings. We all love miracles. My cancer treatment was a miracle of sorts. It is now a year after the end of chemo. Not all cancer patients survive this long. The woman with the issue of blood had spent twelve years searching for a cure. The crippled beggars had spent their whole lives begging. Jesus said to them, “Your faith has made you whole.”  He empowered them for new life. The life they knew was dead. Granted new life, how shall we live after the miracle workers are gone?

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