PERHAPS A NEW PARADIGM IS NEEDED?

      I HAVE BEEN ALLOWING MY OWN DUST TO SETTLE FOLLOWING THE TWO VERDICTS HANDED DOWN A COUPLE WEEKS AGO WHERE NO CHARGES WERE FILED AGAINST TWO WHITE POLICE OFFCERS WHO KILLED TWO UNARMED BLACK MEN.  IT TOOK LONGER THAN I EXPECTEDFOR ME TO RECOVER  WHICH SURPRISED ME.  IT WAS NOT UNTIL FRAN AND I WERE ON A PLANNED CRUISE LAST WEEK THAT I SLOWLY BEGAN TO FEEL MY OLD SELF RETURNING.  SITTING ON OUR DECK NO THE SHIP AND FEELING THE COLD AIR OF BALTIMORE GRADUALLY TURNING INTO THE WARM SUN OF THE CARIBBEAN I WAS REMINDED HOW MUCH LIFE IS LIKE THAT.  LIFE IS REAPING AND SOWING ,IT IS ANTECEDENT AND CONSEQUENCE, IT IS EXHAUSTING AND REPLENISHING, IT IS  WEEPING AND REJOICING.  “HOLY MOSES, I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED.”
      I RETURN TO A SHORT WRITING OF HOWARD THURMAN WHICH SPEAKS TO ME AND I WOULD HOPE IT SPEAKS TO YOU. IT READS:
         AT TIMES WHEN THE STRAIN IS HEAVIEST UPON US, AND OUR TIRED NERVES CRY OUT
         IN MANY TONGUED PAIN BECAUSE THE FLOW OF LOVE IS CHOKED FAR BELOW THE
         THE DEEP RECESSES OF THE HEART,WE SEEK WITH CRAVINGS FIRM AND HARD THE
         STRENGTH TO BREAK THE DAM THAT WE MAY LIVE AGAIN IN LOVE’S WARM STREAM.
         UNTIL ,AT LAST, WE ARE RESTORED AND MADE ANEW.
I HAVE SPENT MY ENTIRE LIFE WORKING FOR TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE.  EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME THAT TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE IS OFTEN DELAYED DURING THOSE TIMES WHEN THE STRAIN IS THE HEAVIEST.  EXPERIENCE HAS ALSO TAUGHT ME THAT ‘TROUBLE DON’T LAST ALWAYS.’  EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME THAT NO ONE CAN RIDE YOUR BACK WHEN IT’S BENT SO I HAVE LEARNED TO STAND UP.  WHILE I WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE RECENT VERDICTS I AM ALSO AWARE THAT IT MAY BE TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE STRATEGIES BEING USED WHICH MEANS A POSSIBLE SHIFT IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN AMERICA.  MAYBE, JUST MAYBE THE DO NOTHING, INFIGHTING AND OBSTRUCTIONIST U.S. CONGRESS HAS AFFECTED THE WAY WE HAVE BEEN THINKING AND ACTING.  THINK ABOUT IT! WE HAVE SEEN A STEADY PLETHORA OF BAD NEWS IN SPORTS, IN POLITICS, IN BUSINESS IN RELIGION AND IN OUR OWN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS. IT SEEMS OUR PENCHANT TO BE FEARFUL AND ACCUSATORY EVEN OF THOSE SERVING ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE EBOLA VIRUS HAS CAUSED US TO TURN AGAINST EACH OTHER INSTEAD OF TURNING TO EACH OTHER. NO WONDER WE ARE IN SUCH A NEGATIVE ATTITUDINAL MESS.  HERE IS WHAT I AM PROPOSING AND REMEMBER WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS SAID: I HAVE NO NEED TO BE RIGHT AS MUCH AS I HAVE A NEED TO BE HEARD.
  1. CHANGE IN THE NARRATIVE. PITHY SLOGANS AND WORDS LIKE ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME“ AND “I CAN’T BREATHE’ WHILE NOTE WORTHY MAY NEED REVISING. INSTEAD MAYBE THE WORDS SHOULD BE “YOU MAY TAKE MY BREATHE AWAY BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY MY HOPE”. OR WORDS LIKE:WE WILL OVERCOME.’ MAYBE WE SHOULD BE DEVELOPING AND INCORPORATING NEW PERSPECTVES LIKE THE POINT OF VIEW OF A POOR BLACK GIRL OR BOY, OR WELCOMING THE DISINHERITED OF ANY RACE TO THE TABLE WHERE DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE.  WITH A COUNTRY SOON TO BE MAJORITY-MINORITY THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER SAYS DR. PATRICIA KING WHOSE WORDS APPEAR IN THE NEWSLETTER OF THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND.  FURTHER, WE MUST BE INTENTIONAL AND CREATIVE ABOUT CHANGING THE NARRATIVE WHATEVER IT IS TO BECOME.
  2. CHANGE IN LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP STYLES.SENATORS MITCH MCCONNELL, JOHN MCCAIN, TED CRUZ, AND RON PAUL HAVE CREATED SUCH A NEGATIVE ATMOSPHERE IN THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL DISCOURSE AFFECTING A SERIOUS NEGATIVE CHANGE IN THE WAY WE DISRESPECT AND TREAT EACH OTHER. REV. AL SHARPTON, REV. JESSE JACKSON, DR. BEN CARSON AND TEA PARTY MEMBERS WHILE EFFECTIVE IN THE PAST HAVE LITTLE MORAL OR SPIRITUAL CAPACITY. THEY ARE ANGRY AND THEIR MESSSAGE ARISES OUT OF ANGER AFFECTING THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW THEM. SOME WHITES SAY THEY HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESENT DEMONSTRATIONS AND PROTEST BECAUSE IT APPEARS THEY ARE NOT WELCOME-LIKE “THIS IS A BLACK THING.’  I REALIZE I WILL RECEIVE SOME PUSH BACK HERE.
  3. NEW SEATS AT THE TABLE FOR CHANGE. THE NEW TABLE MUST BE MADE UP OF THE CIRCLE OF INCLUSIVITY 0F HIP HOPPERS, YOUTHS, BLACK, HISPANIC, WOMEN, MEN, ASIANS AND MUSLIMS AND SENIORS LIKE AMBASSADOR YOUNG AND MAYOR DINKINS AND JIMMY CARTER AND RABBI ELI WEISEL AND OTHERS. THEIR GREATEST ASSET SHOULD BE THEIR WILLINGNESS TO LISTENAND TO UNDERSTAND AS THEY CREATE A NEW PARADIGM AND A NEW NARRATIVE WE CAN ALL LIVE BY. THEY MUST BE TRANSPARENT AND INTENTIONAL ABOUT THEIR WORK.
HAVING SAID THE ABOVE I WOULD LIKE ALL OF YOU WHO MAY READ THESE WORDS TO KNOW THAT I STILL REMAIN HOPEFUL IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING HAPPENING IN THE WORLD.  HOPE IS WHAT I DO. PRAISING GOD IS WHAT I DO. RESPECTING OTHERS IS WHAT I DO. LOVING OTHERS IS WHAT I DO. BEING PEACEFUL IS WHAT I DO. BEING GRATEFUL IS WHAT I DO. BEING SPIRITUAL IS WHAT I DO. BEING JOYFUL IS WHAT I DO. BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER IS WHAT I DO. BEING PRAYERFUL IS WHAT I DO.  BEING ACCOUNTABLE IS WHAT I DO. BEING IN SILENCE IS WHAT I DO. BEING FAITHFUL IS WHAT I DO. BEING INCLUSIVE IS WHAT I DO. SEEKING FORGIVENESS IS WHAT I DO. WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU BECOMING?
AND SO IT IS!
DR. PAUL

One thought on “PERHAPS A NEW PARADIGM IS NEEDED?”

  1. Thank you Dr Paul for these beautiful words. I used the “what I do” chant as part of the pastoral prayer in service on Sunday. People loved the incantation of how you wrote it along with the powerful message. On their request, I’ve sent them to this blog to read the entire text and follow your blog. Your ministry in all its variations continue to bless and empower the work of justice that you do.

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