By Jaclyn K Jones
Sister Rose Clarisse (Pauline) Gadoury, 87, a Sister of St. Anne, died Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 in UMass Marlborough Hospital. You can read the entire obituary online.
To: Martin Luther King
From: Gilbert H. Caldwell
Dear Dr. King,
We first met in May of 1958 at Boston University School of Theology. You were 29, I was 24. You would have been 88 on January 15, 2017 if you had not been assassinated in 1968.
I am 83. One of our Boston University colleagues, United Methodist Bishop Woodie White has written annual letters to you that have been insightful, candid and prophetic. I make no attempt to imitate my long time friend and colleague Woodie as I write this, but, I am inwardly compelled to share the following;
- The last 8 years, we have been blessed to have as our President, Barrack Hussein Obama. But developments that have been taking place in the process of electing a successor to President Obama, have motivated my writing this letter to you that I hope and pray will be shared with others.
- The nation and world now know that the election of President Obama did not usher in a post racial/racist era. We missed an opportunity as proponents or opponents of Barack Obama to act in ways that demonstrated that we acknowledged “America’s Original Sin; Racism”. His opposition could have been a “Loyal Opposition” that disagreed with his policies, but not disagree with the legacy of the anti-black racism that still hovers over the nation; south, north, central and west. The nation has demonstrated that it could accept with enthusiasm two black quarterbacks as they led their respective teams in the quest for a national championship. But, there were some Americans who in attitudes and actions, were reluctant to fully accept a black President of the United States, nor his spouse Michelle and their daughters. Football quarterbacks entertain and excite football fans, but a President represents and leads a nation. This apparently for some Americans, was beyond their capacity to accept.
- Dr. King, our unresolved racial reality is that there has been and is, an unwillingness to express in word and deed that the nation was wrong in ever tolerating slavery and racial segregation. They both violated the principles of equality, fairness and justice that are writ large in Scripture and the Constitution. We waste time in efforts to label persons racist. I am fascinated at how persons whether right or left of center, protect others and themselves from the racist label, but are less enthusiastic in condemning systemic racism re; voting rights, affirmative action, education, housing, economic opportunity, the gap between blacks in healthcare, home ownership, and family, economic well being.
We are not where we ought be on matters of racial justice, because we have discovered we can enact laws that allow us “to change without changing” the deep seated attitudes that once justified slavery and segregation. Yet, Dr. King, I “Dare to Dream” that Republicans, Democrats, Independents and all of us can and will join hands and hearts to make America what it is not yet, but can become.
On Friday, January 13th Grace and I and our son Dale visited the Bear Tavern Elementary School here in New Jersey to talk about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. The faces of those children, their teachers and Principal are in my minds eye as I write this. It is because of them, and those like them that I write this letter. They deserve a better nation than the one that we are now. May we, this MLK weekend despite the dark clouds above us, begin to become Martin Luther King, the nation you dreamed of and believed in as you lived and died for and in the cause of Freedom and Justice.
Gilbert H. Caldwell
Present at the March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, Selma to Montgomery March, Boston Common Rally against school segregation, Poor People’s Campaign.
A retired United Methodist Minister, living in Asbury Park, NJ
Robert McCoy died on January 8, 2017 at the age of 96. He received a B.S.T. in 1955. You can read the complete obituary online.
Rev. Dr. Lieder explores his antique car hobby in this book. From the book jacket: “Throughout his more than 90 years, antique and classic cars have been of major interest. In that time, Dr. Lieder not only acquired an impressive array of special cars but was instrumental in the founding of several antique and classic car clubs. His antique car hobby has been a source of exceptional pleasure for the entire Lieder family.”
You can view videos of the book’s illustrations on YouTube:
The Defeat of Hillary Clinton; United Methodist Voters, Evangelical Christians, and the United Methodist Church
(Please note my full disclosure statement at the end of this writing)
Google provides three definitions of the word, INAUGURATION; “A ceremony to mark the beginning of something.” “The formal admission of someone to office.” “The beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period.” The first two are inevitable on January 20th, the last definition must NOT be the beginning, result, or inevitable on January 20th!
Again, the title of Robert Raines’ long ago book, LIVING THE QUESTIONS, informs and shapes my following questions that United Methodists and others might consider. Over the years I have used Raines title to inform my writing. Writing that for some persons is a wee bit provocative. Smile if you want.
1. The 2016 presidential election in the media and in the minds of many, there was a tendency to bend over backwards to make the flaws of Hillary Clinton equivalent to the flaws of her opponent. Church membership and involvement is not a flaw. Could anyone dare suggest that the Church involvement of Ms. Clinton’s opponent was comparable to her involvement in the United Methodist Church?
2. In the Rust and Bible belt states that Hillary Clinton lost, how did United Methodists vote? And, in the most populous Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, for whom did United Methodists vote? Is the UMC the Republican party, at prayer?
3. Will January 20th “inaugurate” the “situational” commitment to values that those who boast of being evangelical Christians revealed in their voting? Jerry Falwell, Sr. fostered a “Moral Majority” in the nation. Has Jerry Falwell, Jr. revealed how flexible are those values, as he endorsed Hillary Clinton’s opponent? Our President-elect has said that the decision of the Supreme Court re; same sex marriage is “settled law”. How will the Vice-President-elect who does not agree with this, respond?
4. Church membership and involvement were crucial to some as they created negative impressions of Barack Obama’s Chicago pastor and Church. Their negativity was responsible for President Obama leaving that Church and distancing himself from that pastor. Our silence as United Methodists and the silence of other faith traditions as well, in the presence of the “Religious Freedom” as expressed by that Church and pastor was being demeaned, will be a source of wonderment as Historians write of that moment in history. Could the silence of people of faith regarding a Chicago Church and pastor, in 2008, have “set the table” for the impotence and timidity of people of faith during the election of 2016?
5. Finally a series of questions; How can the just announced presence of Hillary Clinton and her spouse at the January 20th inauguration be seen as a commitment to a smooth transition in our democracy, but NOT an endorsement of the systems, policies and practices of the one being inaugurated?…Is the economic “aspirational component” of capitalism responsible for the normalizing of the President-elects behavior, and of the quick turn arounds of the members of his party who once were critical of him? Does millionaire/billionaire status and the celebrity celebration it evokes, suggest that the desire to “be like him and his family” is as “American as apple pie”?… And that it is “normal” to forget and forgive all that we view as negative?…Is the “gift” of these moments a “mirror” that reminds all of us to see in ourselves, some of that we see as less than positive in others?…
And, could the presidential election campaign, primaries and the general election of 2016, provide a “teaching moment” for the United Methodist Church that had a General Conference in 2016? While we are debating and talking about dividing over whether or not our anti-“practice of homosexuality” legislation is biblical or discriminatory, the nation and world according to the little boy, “Are in a mell of a hess.” “Come on United Methodist Church”, we know that in proportional terms, our 45 year effort to build a wall to keep same gender loving people outside, pales in comparison to, as the Spiritual says, “The troubles of the world.” Whether the virgin birth of Christmas, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus or factual or mythical, or both, our negatively punitive response to same gender loving people, diminishes the Love motif of both Christmas and Easter.
There is no question about the truth of that. Are we Able, UMC and USA, to be better than we have been? I believe we are!
(Fill disclosure; tomorrow , January 5, 2017, I have a radiation treatment of a meningioma/brain tumor. 16 years ago, I had surgery in Denver for the same thing. Then I spent months in rehabilitation, re-learning memory, speech, writing, walking, and learning how to drive with a left foot accelerator. If I don’t “Wake up in my rightful mind”, as a prayer of the Black Church says, after radiation treatment(s), I want this to help you “stay woke” as the young members of the Black Lives Matter Movement say).
As usual with all of my writings, this is not exclusive, but is inclusive. Share, forward, Facebook, etc. all or excerpts of it with your comments. I write that you might be encouraged, not to waste time critiquing me, but rather to share
insights of yours, far more profound than mine.
Check out the latest book by STH alumnus, Richard Soulen: Defining Jesus: The Earthly, the Biblical, the Historical, and the Real Jesus, and How Not to Confuse Them. Read more about the book.
“Soulen’s defining of Jesus is critical, profoundly clear, and faithful. Judiciously distinguishing between the earthly Jesus, the biblical Jesus, and the real Jesus, the author offers normative portraits of Jesus necessary to the church–hermeneutically sound, ethically viable, and experientially tested. This short yet magisterial book is a must-read for all who seek to understand who Jesus is in his earthly ministry, throughout history, and for today.”
-Yung Suk Kim, Associate Professor of New Testament, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University
Marlene died at age 73 on December 26, 2016. She graduated with a Master of Religious Education in 1967. Read the entire obituary.
Richard Lewis Beard died on December 3, 2016. He received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from STH in 1957 and was an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. A celebration of his life is scheduled for December 15, 2016. You can read the entire obituary that appeared in the Boston Globe.
Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood is the name of Pat Reyes’s new book, a personal look at the economic and racial oppression that threatened to kill him in his youth and the community that saved him. You can purchase the book on Amazon.