The Invitation

“Did you mean to extend this invitation to me?” I know—not exactly a professional response to an invitation to be a guest on someone’s show, but an honest question nonetheless. I responded to another invitation likewise the same week. (More on the other soon.) I mean, who am I? Certainly not an industry professional, nor have I published a book yet, though I’m working on a couple. But often it’s the lessons learned on the journey that prepare us for our destination, and my goal is to glorify God and encourage others along the way. Fear tries to imprison, but God invites us beyond ourselves to dependence on His craftsmanship. Sometimes it’s messy. The way is steep and sometimes we stumble, but God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, scripture says. Good thing.

Honored to share about faith, obedience, and my writing journey with Dr. Katherine-Hutchinson Hayes on her podcast. I pray it provokes all who struggle or strive to excel in God’s call, to step out of their comfort zone and walk it out in their skin.

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Part 2 – Law Enforcement Series: Brian Morrison ~ Community Resource & Civil Rights Police Officer, Barnstable, Massachusetts

At a time in our nation fraught with division, Officer Brian Morrison of the Barnstable, Massachusetts Police Department has embedded himself in his community. He serves as the department’s community resource and civil rights officer among many other involvements. His perspective as a Black police officer, his service, and influence as a bridge between people has won him awards and the hearts of the Cape Cod community and beyond.

“There’s a trick to community policing. ‘Start with the kids.'” Officer Morrison stated in a 2021 Cape Cod Times article by Jeannette Hinkle. “A School Resource Officer’s role is not limited to being a police officer as they are a counselor, teacher, coach, and mentor.” No wonder he is viewed by many as the unofficial Mayor of Cape Cod. What a privilege to introduce you to him during Black History Month in this video interview with an optional downloadable audio version. — Oh, and apparently some police officers prefer chocolate chip cookies! I’ll make sure to remember that, Officer Morrison.

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PART 3: The Integration of Oak Ridge & Remembering #MLK

Dr. Spicer approached the two men who sat with rifles pointed out the window of a car parked in the middle of the lot.

“I thought about what might happen to me, my family, and the Black ladies who just came to wash their clothes…” Click HERE to continue reading  PART 3 in my series, The Integration of Oak Ridge: A unique perspective in the OAK RIDGER NEWSPAPER under city historian Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column. #CivilRightsMovement

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PART 2: The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City

The young Black man stood against the backdrop of Trinity United Methodist Church on Robertsville Road in the late afternoon. Jefferson Avenue stretched across the way. It was the summer of 1963 and the picketers had gathered again outside the MultiMatic Laundry at the end of the West Mall and Market Area in Jefferson Center. Their goal: integrate the laundromat. 

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The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City

I almost quit. I didn’t think I could write the article. But it made the front page of the Friday print edition of the Oak Ridger newspaper under the city historian Mr. Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column.

The battle to write is fierce. I’ve cried my way through writing articles, written under the weight of discouragement and doubt, thought I’d never finish some pieces, and almost didn’t submit others. But several of the hardest pieces to write opened doors, won awards, and people blessed me when they shared my writing ministered to them. —Don’t quit.

We must each obey our call and trust God to enable and use us as He wills. (Remind me of that tomorrow, please.)

Created in 1942, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as the Secret City and the Atomic City, was one of the three major sites set up as part of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project. The scientists at the laboratory in the Secret City developed the materials to build the atomic bomb that ended WWII. But Oak Ridge has other stories. Twenty years after its inception, Black citizens, many of whom the government had brought in to build the laboratory and city, still lived under the oppressive culture and restrictions of Jim Crow segregation laws. 

This article is the first in a series Mr. Smith invited me to write for his column. (Thank you.) 🙂 The articles and the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s were first inspired by the stories of my father-in-law and his best friend. They will feature the accounts of many valiant souls with a message for today. 

“Beneath Dr. James Spicer’s charming drawl and calm demeanor lies a steely resolve, a…” Click HERE to read my article in the Oak Ridger newspaper: The Integration of Oak Ridge: A Unique Perspective

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Protesting Prejudice, Pursuing Peace

“You’ll like this one,” she said as she thrust the sign in my hands and ran off into the crowd, leaving me in a dilemma. I attended this peaceful anti-racism protest organized by friends of my seventeen and twenty-one-year-old children to keep a watchful eye for any trouble, to support several involved whom I love, and to learn. Well, it was a peaceful protest until we arrived at the state police barracks where the march ended. It got a little hairy for a bit when a couple of women attempted to take over while hurling a high decibel, disrespectful tirade of questions and demands at the law enforcement officers who stood in front of the barracks. “Once the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace,” the quote on the sign I held read.

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Why Are We Shouting? (Remembering MLK’s Message)

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I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. ―Martin Luther King Jr.

The King of all creation, Jesus, shouldered our sin and calls us to bear one another’s burdens.

 

alexandra-marcu-1273561-unsplash.jpgRejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NKJV)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

 

So, why are we shouting?

But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; James 1:19 (NKJV)

I’m truly sorry for those who suffered and suffer at the hands of others. We must speak out and stand up against injustice for if we say nothing and do nothing when we are called to stand and speak we become part of the problem. We must take responsibility for our wrong actions and when we are treated unjustly we must remember that reasons aren’t excuses for wrong reactions. We must learn from the past, but live in the present and take steps toward a better future.

..in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, speech

“the time is always right to do the right thing”―Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ―Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 (NKJV)

We are not our skin; it’s just the stuff we live in. Strawberry, lemon, chocolate, vanilla—let us savor the flavor in each other’s cultures.

Some believe themselves superior while exhibiting inferior behavior toward others. With large mouths, shriveled hearts and tiny mindsets they eke out finite lives in their effort to undermine noble ones. Others say they want equal rights but demand special privileges.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” ―Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What if instead of looking out for ourselves we looked out for each other?

marcelo-matarazzo-287570-unsplashLet nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

The Bible says:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, Acts 17:26 (NKJV)

The Great Seal of the United States of America says we are. “E Pluribus unum, out of many, one.” Our pledge of allegiance states, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” and our national motto says, “In God We Trust.” But when we seek our own and trust in man, as some do, we end up divided. See, the Gospel has the answers—it is the answer for all that ails us.

But I think we need to focus less on racism specifically because it is a symptom, just like every other sin, of a sinful heart—and the only thing that will change that is a heart changed by Christ. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer in Threats to the Church and  Keys to Revival

We are meant to marvel at the majesty of the Creator in His creation.

There is a root that sustains

There is one Vine—

Jesus

How marvelously He colors our lives with vibrant brushstrokes of many hues—

Facets of Himself reflected in our differences

Let us recognize our common ground

And celebrate

The ongoing work of the The Master Artist.  

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Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Colby

Link here to read: One Blood, A Civil Rights Story, as told to me by Jean Colby, my mother-in-law and Sara Clay, my sister-in-law about their experiences as Civil Rights activists, about the March Against Fear, MLK, and James Meredith. (Scroll down in my post, See, Stand, Speak.) 

Click here to watch the rest of: Taking Down the Ropes of Segregation

Click here to read, Threats to the Church and Keys to Revival, featuring interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives to see what these great leaders have to say about these questions on racial tensions:

What are your thoughts on the current racial tensions in America? What do you feel has fueled them and what do you think we as a nation and the Church can do to quell this and bridge the racial divide?

…The tensions are high and so political. The whole thing upsets me. People’s lives should never ever be political playing cards, and yet they are. They always are. I believe that what we did during the time of slavery was horrifying and we should not be dismissive of those whom it is still impacting today. I believe…

…My wife is Chicana from west Texas, and I, (though Texan as well), am actually a fifth generation Cherokee that left the… Click here to Continue.

Click here for excerpts from and links to: A Series of Interviews Featuring Pastors and Pastor’s Wives. The final article in the series, which features missionaries, will post in a few days.

Photo credit: Holding Hands,  by Renee Williams, featuring Simone & Mac

Photo Hands with Wedding Bands, by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash

Photo Hands with Thread, by alexandra marcu on Unsplash

© 2019  Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo It On Your Heart

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