My Blessings to You in 2009

shelia-021Hello my dear friends, my sons, my grandsons, godchildren and loved ones! First, let me give thanks and praise to God for each of you, for your help, your support, your love, your concern, your prayers, thoughts and dedication to me. Many things I have taken on in 2008 would not and could not have been done without your help and commitment toward me, and your belief in the dreams and talents God has placed in my heart.

It is my prayer that as God leads us into a new beginning, with the first of many blessings, starting with President Barack Obama and the First family, that we will make many more strides, and the first steps that we take into the new year will lead to marvelous and great things. It is my earnest prayer that God’s blessings and His unmerited favor will overflow in our lives,in our careers, in the desires of our hearts, in the lives of our families and loved ones. I pray that those blessings will run us down and overtake us like a mighty rushing wind!

All that we have been through in 2008 has made us who we are today. I’m sure many of us didn’t think we’d even be here. I’m certain we each faced our own personal strugles, obstacles, trials, and storms of life. Some which seemed torn beyond repair – yet God is faithful. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. God’s word says in Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Just think about that and meditate on how powerful God’s words are.
In 2009, let us seek God first and set our sights on things above. Let us obey his commandments. If we fully obey what God directs us to do, He promises that we will be the head and not the tail, that we will be blessed going in and going out; that our offspring will be blessed. He says, that enemies which come at us one way, will depart from our presence in seven ways! God promises we will be above and not beneath; that we will be lenders and not borrowers…”

Let us move forward in 2009 with great expectancy. Let us declare life and not death; and most of all let us do all that will honour, glorify, magnify and praise God!

I love you all so much (But God really does love you more!)

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The Task At Hand

My Son’s Wife by Shelia E. LipseySinsatiableInto Each lIFE
Hello All,
As most of you know who follow this column, I am a Christian fiction writer and author. I stated this because I wanted you to know being an author, a Christian fiction author at that, is my purpose in life as far as my gifts and talents. I believe I have been chosen, appointed and assigned to write and speak. It’s a joy to be able to do what you love and get paid for doing it. For this, I am truly thankful to God. This doesn’t mean that I don’t become exhausted at times or that I don’t frown at the word ‘deadline’ every now and again, because I do. It does mean however, that the task at hand is one that I do love. Like many, I would love to make lots and lots of money; I won’t lie about that. Yet, it also means that even if I don’t make lots and lots of money, I will still continue to do what God has called me to do – write and speak according to His will and in His way.

Many writers/authors, I’ve been fortunate to meet in person and online, are not concerned with whether or not they reap the financial benefits of their craft, especially the Christian writers I have spoken to. They are concerned with getting out the message that God has given them to depart. I too believe this and uphold this as well. But I also believe that God will greatly reward me financially here on earth for doing that which he has given me to do. After all, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills; all that is and ever was belongs to Him. I am His child, called according to His purpose, and not only that, I am an heir and a joint heir as well as adopted into His kingdom.

What person or parent do you know willfully withholds their wealth, good fortune and bounty of good from their children? There are some who do, I must admit, but it’s usually based on a world of greed, selfishness and sin. But the God I worship and adore is perfect and He loves me unconditionally, at least that’s what I believe. He is my Daddy, my Father, my God and my Lord. Therefore, I have no problem asking my ‘Daddy’ for the things I desire. I do desire wealth, great wealth. I do desire my books to be on the New York Times bestsellers’ list. I do desire to write life-altering books that bless people, both those of faith and those who do not believe what I believe. I do give my all to the ‘task at hand.’ I do want to be appreciated and recognized. That’s simply human nature. But my first priority is to do that, which I am supposed to be doing, and that’s why I strive and I work hard and I do my best to become the best.

I am to do me and you do you, but doing me means reaching, hoping, dreaming, looking, searching, expecting for the greater, finer things of life. I want to leave a legacy that will go through generations and that legacy includes the books I’ve written, the speeches I’ve spoken, and the money I’ve made for doing these things.
Now, before each of you, I stand on my faith and I ask God to enlarge my territory, to increase my wealth so much so that I will be able to do great and marvelous things for others and for my family, to bless each word that I write and speak, to bring my vision into being. I want to accomplish the task at hand and I do expect to be rewarded here on earth and in heaven.

Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!

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Who’s Who?

 

Remember in your high school days when you chose a classmate for “Who’s Who.”  Some of the categories that could be won were “Most Likely to Succeed, Most Comical, Most Loquacious and one that really stood out was “Best Dressed.”  If you apply this Best Dressed category to today’s child of God, do you think that you would win?  Do you think that you would even be nominated as one of the Best Dressed children of God?  The qualifications don’t have anything to do with whether you sport the latest fashions, or whether you can mix ‘n’ match your outfits to make yourself look like you just stepped out of one of those fancy fashion magazines.  No, the Best Dressed child of God should not be so concerned or consumed by his or her outerwear but it’s what is worn on the inside that counts.  For instance, how is your heart dressed?  Is it dressed with jealousy and envy or compassion and love?  Is your spirit dressed in the best of the best?  That is, are you dressed in the full armor of God? As a child of the most high King you are continually being set up to be destroyed by the enemy.  He wants to see you lose your winning place as one of God’s Best Dressed.  But if you put on the full armor of God you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.   You see, my friends, the Word tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, you cannot half dress if you expect to win.  You have to put on the full armor so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.   The next step that you need to take to be one of God’s Best Dressed is to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, and then you put on the breastplate of righteousness.  But that’s not all.  You know in order to be one of the Best Dressed you must be fashioned from head to toe.  That means that your feet should be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, you must take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.   Finally, put on your last piece of attire-this last piece is what makes the rest of your outfit stand out. It is the deciding factor in whether you are chosen as one of God’s Best Dressed.  It is the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God!  So my friends, as you walk mighty in spirit this week, take the time to dress yourself in the appropriate attire so that you will be able to WIN whatever battle that comes before you The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.  The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.  Psalms 37:39-40 Scripture to hide in your heart:  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.. Psalms 23:2-3 There was a poem I used to recite as a small child called I’m Determined to Be somebody Someday and it was written by Herbert Brewster.  Well, I took that poem and made a few revisions and tailored it to fit my life: My physical condition and sometimes dark circumstances,Often made it appear that I wouldn’t have a chanceI’ve had some trials that attempted to throw me off courseSituations in life that left me with limited choicesBut in spite of the things that have tried to stifle me along life’s way,I was determined to be somebody someday There wasn’t any royal blood coursing through my veinsNo great family background for me to claimMy physical condition to you might look badYou might say, she hasn’t had the chance that others have hadBut in spite of the things that have tried to block my wayI’ve continued to say, I’m going to be somebody someday My legs well they may be skinnyAnd my body at times pain-wrackedBut I can’t let things like that throw me off the trackI can’t let times of failure keep me down Instead I keep climbing the ladder of life round by roundI’ll keep on climbing, keep reaching upKeep on believing, and keep on trusting 

And in spite of all the obstacles that have tried to block my way

Look at me now

Didn’t I tell you – I was going to be somebody someday? ~By Shelia E. Lipsey What are you going to do with the failures in your life:  I urge you to use failure to reflect, then take time to rest and finally use it as a period to learn how to react.

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Transcript of Obama’s March 2008 speech

Transcript of Obama’s speech

What are your thoughts on this speech? Share with us how this makes you feel.

The following is a transcript of Sen. Barack Obama’s speech, as provided by Obama’s campaign.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.
Sen. Barack Obama has said the controversy over his ex-pastor’s remarks has been “a distraction” to the campaign.

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy.
Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least 20 more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution — a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.

What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part — through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk — to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign — to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together — unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction — towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.

I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners — an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters.

I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts — that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity.

Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African-Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.”

We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action, that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.

On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation — that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Rev.Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain.

Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered ontroversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice.

Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country — a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America, a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the
perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Rev. Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems — two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are
neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Rev. Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?

And I confess that if all that I knew of Rev. Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.

He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine, who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth — by housing the homeless,ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, “Dreams From My Father,” I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:”People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out,
a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note — hope! — I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the
stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones.

“Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.

“Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish — and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety — the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger.

Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping,screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear.

The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes,the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Rev. Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.

Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork.

We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America — to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through — a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.

And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country.

But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination — where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments — meant that black families could not amass
any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations.

That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families — a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened.

And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods — parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement — all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Rev. Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted.

What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it — those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.

That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations –those young men and, increasingly, young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways.

For the men and women of Rev. Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.

That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Rev. Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.

That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.

But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community.

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.

Their experience is the immigrant experience — as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime oflabor.

They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense.

So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced,
resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation.

Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere
political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle-class squeeze — a corporate culture rife with inside dealing,questionable accounting practices and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that
favor the few over the many.

And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns — this too widens the racial divide, and blocks
the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction — a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people — that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.

But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans, the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family.

And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their
own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American — and yes, conservative — notion of self-help found frequent expression in Rev. Wright’s sermons.

But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Rev. Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country — a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still
irrevocably bound to a tragic past.

But what we know — what we have seen — is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope — the audacity to hope — for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed.

Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.

It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less,than what all the world’s great religions demand — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find
that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle — as we did in the O.J. trial — or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina — or as fodder for the nightly
news.

We can play Rev. Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children.

This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st Century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region,every walk of life.

This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.

We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for president if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.

And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation –the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today — a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr.King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, 23-year-old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was 9 years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents, too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in
her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time.

And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

E-mail to a friend.

Minnie E Miller
The Rebel With Causes & Author

A MUST READ FROM REV. WRIGHT, SR. PASTOR, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

A MUST READ FROM REV. WRIGHT, SR. PASTOR, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

Repost from newsgroup email newsletter, Rev. writes Jodi Kantor of the New York Times

Please read the article and share your thoughts or opinions.
March 11, 2007
Jodi Kantor
The New York Times
9 West 43rd Street
New York,
New York 10036-3959

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in sixty-five years. You sat and shared with me for two hours. You told me you were doing a “Spiritual Biography”of Senator Barack Obama. For two hours, I shared with you how I thought he was the most principled individual in public service that I have ever met.

For two hours, I talked with you about how idealistic he was. For two hours I shared with you what a genuine human being he was. I told you how incredible he was as a man who was an African American in public service, and as a man who refused to announce his candidacy for President until Carol Moseley Braun indicated one way or the other whether or not she was going to run.

I told you what a dreamer he was. I told you how idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn’t I think it would be incredible to have somebody in the Oval Office who
not only knew about Muslims, but had living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told you how important it would be to have a man who not only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how important it would be to have
a man who knew what Sufism was; a man who understood that there were different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others because
they believed something other than what he believed.

I talked about how rare it was to meet a man whose Christianity was not just “in word only.” I talked about Barack being a person who lived his faith and did not argue his faith. I talked about Barack as a person who did not draw doctrinal lines in the sand nor consign other people to hell if they did not believe what he believed.

Out of a two-hour conversation with you about Barack’s spiritual journey and my protesting to you that I had not shaped him nor formed him, that I had not mentored him or made him the man he was, even though I would love to take that credit, you did not print any of that.

When I told you, using one of your own Jewish stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?,” that Barack was like that when I met him. Barack had it “in his hand.” Barack had in his grasp a uniqueness in terms of his spiritual development that one is hard put to find in the 21st century, and you did not print that.

As I was just starting to say a moment ago, Jodi, out of two hours of conversation I spent approximately five to seven minutes on Barack’s taking advice from one of his trusted campaign people and deeming it unwise to make me the media spotlight on the day of his announcing his
candidacy for the Presidency and what do you print? You and your editor proceeded to present to the general public a snippet, a printed “sound byte” and a titillating and tantalizing article about his disinviting me to the Invocation on the day of his announcing his candidacy.

I have never been exposed to that kind of duplicitous behavior before, and I want to write you publicly to let you know that I do not approve of it and will not be party to any further smearing of the name, the reputation, the integrity or the character of perhaps this nation’s
first (and maybe even only) honest candidate offering himself for public service as the person to occupy the Oval Office.

Your editor is a sensationalist. For you to even mention that makes me doubt your credibility, and I am looking forward to see how you are going to butcher what else I had to say concerning Senator Obama’s “Spiritual Biography.” Our Conference Minister, the Reverend Jane Fisler Hoffman, a white woman who belongs to a Black church that
Hannity of “Hannity and Colmes” is trying to trash, set the record straight for you in terms of who I am and in terms of who we are as the church to which Barack has belonged for over twenty years.

The president of our denomination, the Reverend John Thomas, has offered to try to help you clarify in your confused head what Trinity Church is even though you spent the entire weekend with us setting me up to interview me for what turned out to be a smear of the Senator;
and yet The New York Times continues to roll on making the truth what it wants to be the truth. I do not remember reading in your article that Barack had apologized for listening to that bad information and bad advice. Did I miss it? Or did your editor cut it out? Either way,
you do not have to worry about hearing anything else from me for you to edit or “spin” because you are more interested in journalism than in truth.

Forgive me for having a momentary lapse. I forgot that The New York Times was leading the bandwagon in trumpeting why it is we should have gone into an illegal war. The New York Times became George Bush and the Republican Party’s national “blog.” The New York Times played a role in the outing of Valerie Plame. I do not know why I thought The New York Times had actually repented and was going to exhibit a different kind of behavior.

Maybe it was my faith in the Jewish Holy Day of Roshashana. Maybe it was my being caught up in the euphoria of the Season of Lent; but whatever it is or was, I was sadly mistaken. There is no repentance on
the part of The New York Times. There is no integrity when it comes to The Times. You should do well with that paper, Jodi. You looked me straight in my face and told me a lie!
Sincerely and respectfully yours,
Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. ,
Senior Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ

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