Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dr. Joseph Lowery (Cont.)

Dr. Joseph Lowery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were co-founders of the SCLC. He is the dean of living civil rights leaders from the 1950's and 60's and has continued his crusade for equal rights until the present. He is also a noted United Methodist pastor and quite a humorist. He recently received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama and gave the benediction at the President's inauguration.

This past Thursday night I was privileged to hear him speak at Young Harris College, a noted Methodist institution in North Georgia. He was introduced by college president, Kathy Cox, former Georgia Secretary of State and candidate for Governor. President Cox noted that she and Dr. Lowery worked closely together on voting rights issues during her years in office and Dr. Lowery spoke of his obvious affection and respect for her.

Dr. Lowery's message for the evening centered around what he called "Chaplains for the Common Good." He spoke of the divisiveness, hatred, ignorance, and racism surrounding us these days. He said that you have to show love to these people to reach them and to have an effect on them. He gave an example of George Wallace, whom he said that he "didn't like," but he "loved" him as his fellow man. He said that during the re-enactment of the Selma march, Wallace summoned him to his hospital bed and asked him to pray for him, which he did. Then he said that Wallace asked him to talk to Ted Turner about the movie which was being made about Wallace's life. Wallace, Lowery said, told him that he could tolerate all of the bad things the movie said of him except the statements that Wallace's African-American assistant hated him and had plotted to kill him. That, Wallace said, was untrue. Lowery said it must have been untrue because if the man had wanted to kill Wallace it would have been no problem for him. At any rate, he said that he called Ted Turner and related Wallace's request to him. After Turner stopped laughing, he told Lowery that it was too late. The movie was finished and ready to release. Turner told Lowery to tell that to Wallace. Lowery said that he told Turner to tell Wallace himself.

Dr. Lowery spoke of election night 2008, when ABC announced that Obama was the winner. He said that he got on his knees and prayed, thanking God for the progress that African Americans have made and for the safety of the Obama family, knowing the battle that they faced. He spoke of his admiration for the President and his pride when he received the Medal of Freedom from the President just a few weeks ago. He wore the lapel version as he spoke and amusingly stated, "isn't it nice." He said that someday he might let his wife wear it.

At the end of his lecture/sermon, Dr. Lowery asked for a show of hands of those ready to go out and be "Chaplains for the Common Good." He gave a short benediction during which he "ordained" us as those Chaplains. Quite an inspirational message from a great man. He had his audience reflecting, laughing, and admiring during the course of his one hour presentation. It was one of those once in a lifetime events, when you have the chance to encounter a legend.

1 comment:

rainlillie said...

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