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The Rev. Nicholas Hood

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

by: Marceline Donaldson, April 11, 2016

Rev. Nicholas Hood

Rev. Nicholas Hood

Andrew Young, Nicholas Hood

Andrew Young, Nicholas Hood

Some remembrances write themselves.  This one is being written through heavy grief because it is not only a memory of Nicholas Hood, but  long overdue grieving of my youth and someone who contributed majorly to who I am as a Christian today.

Nicholas Hood is in my heart and soul.

The example he set for so many will last a very long time as will the witnessing to his life, his life’s work and his God.  He was one of those who witnessed for his God in a mighty way.  When God calls one to the ordained ministry, God calls the pastor and the prophet.  When it is a genuine call to the ordained ministry the life of that person is never the same and their life forever after reflects that call.  Clearly, Nicholas Hood was called by God to the ordained ministry and he never left the path he walked following that call.

“Suffer the little children to come unto me …………….” was one part of Nicholas Hood’s ministry.  With a group of us in New Orleans, life would never be the same.  We integrated the Congregational Church’s summer camp in the Panhandle.  It was an incredible, life changing experience.  There were times around a camp fire when we heard, as young Black children, what young White children thought of those like us.  Stories of how the White children – teen agers – had been taught that integrated marriages produced spotted children.  Comments I have never forgotten.  That one stood out more than the rest because my grandfather had the genetic disease which causes one’s skin to turn from brown to milky white and I could see it spreading across his hands and in later years his face.  His father was Blackfoot Indian.  His mother was French.  I knew better than to believe the stories I heard around that camp fire, but that one got inside and it took some time before I was able to dig it out.    Nick Hood was there talking to all of us and going into detail on racism and how it works and spreads from one generation to the next.  Those were stories told to their children by parents who were full of fear and afraid their children might bring home a Black boy or girl friend and they were doing everything they could to prevent that and keep the color line unbroken.  What Nicholas Hood did for us, after that night around the camp fire, was to witness using the Gospel to put all of what we heard into a context which was powerful I can still hear parts of it.

Nicholas Hood was there at the end of that camping experience when we were on the way home and we all went into a diner to eat.  We had been so caught up in the experience of being together – White and Black – that the reality outside the camp had not been restored and we sat in the diner causing a bit of an uproar because Blacks were sitting at the counter waiting to be fed.  We were unaware of the sit-ins beginning to happen across the country.  We just wanted lunch.

Nicholas Hood brought a group of us – very young people – with Andrew Young and Martin King – across the backroads of Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama as a Jr. High Choir to sing in White Churches in which Martin preached.  We spent the night in the homes of the White Jr. High Choir members before and after the service and after that when we were all quickly hustled out of the homes where we were staying back into the cars to be driven down the road at high speed watching in front of us seeing Nicholas Hood, Andy and Martin hung in effigy from the trees down the road and behind us a group of very angry whites with rifles coming to run out of town the oversexed Blacks who couldn’t be about anything except a sex orgy sleeping with the young White teenagers whose families offered us hospitality.  That was my first experience being seen, not as a human being but as an oversexed machine to whom friendship wasn’t possible – but was interpreted as some kind of sex thing.  Nicholas Hood was there to put all of that into the perspective of the Gospel.

I didn’t realize how much children absorb of Sunday sermons until I looked back and remembered some of Nicholas Hood’s sermons, which got into my soul.  I couldn’t have been more than 13-14 years old.

I’ve made lots of missteps in my life, but somehow I have always been able to self-correct.  Some compass inside always brought me back to the faith of my childhood and the example of those around me at the time.  To be able to see beyond today and to talk to those who are no longer here is a New Orleans thing and not an easy thing to handle,  but Nicholas Hood kept my deepest secrets which were never shared.  That is a gift and I am so very grateful to the giver.

Rev. Hood came to Minneapolis years ago and we spent an incredible evening going over life and where it had taken us.  An evening I have always cherished.  I’ve watched his life and how he lived it and one thing stands out above all else – his faith in God and his steps, which were ordered by God. He lived to the benefit of so many – me included.  Life happens, but it does not always happen full of love while we are doing God’s work.  We can get so confused as to what God is calling us to do.  What is the work we need to be doing for ourselves and for others?  Nick Hood’s life shows an example of someone who was very clear about the work God called him to do.

By your fruits you shall be known.  By what Nicholas Hood was about all those 92 years speaks louder than anything anyone could say, explain, add to his life’s story. By the fruit of his life – “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17″So every good tree bears good fruit,” …………  You have left clear evidence by your fruit that you are one of God’s own forever, Nicholas Hood.  May God bless and keep you close for eternity.

See also:

Tonight, I Watched My Father Die

http://www.wxyz.com/news/civil-rights-activist-former-detroit-city-council-member-nicholas-hood-sr-dies-at-91

Rev. Hood Sr.

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Everything talked about in this blog and in any other blog in the Bettina Network, inc. is the opinion of the person who wrote the blog and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Bettina Network, inc.

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

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Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

A Statement on the Environment

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

images
Surprises come from many directions.  This Encyclical Letter, distributed by the Vatican from Pope Francis, was one.  We hope you read it and take it to heart.  It is not something we are accustomed to seeing come from the head of a religious community.  We hope more such statements are forthcoming.

We should make Pope Francis an honorary member of The Black Race.

Be patient as you read this letter – there are a lot of empty pages you must scroll through.  We tried to eliminate the empty pages, but couldn’t so you will have to read and scroll yourselves.

The link to this Encyclical Letter follows:

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/06/18/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si_en.pdf

For the conviction and faith in this Encyclical and for having the independence and spiritual strength to publish it Pope Francis now resides in:

     Bettina Network’s Hall of Fame.

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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Membership in The Black Race

Monday, June 29th, 2015

To answer a callers question – we made an independent decision to give you an answer:

Question:  Can you be a member of more than one “race” at a time?  For example, can I be a member of the Black race and other races?

Answer: Yes.  It is your decision.

Question:  Do you have to be a citizen of the U. S. A. to become a member of the Black Race?

Answer:  No, the Black Race has members spread around the globe.

Question:  How do I join?

Answer: By sending an email with your request to bettina-network@comcast.net

Question:  Now that I am a member of The Black Race can I solicit friends and relatives to join?

Answer:  Of course.  The more the merrier and the more effective we will be in this attempt to eliminate racism, sexism and all the rest.

 

MEMBERSHIP:

Trudi VanSlyck has become a member of the Black Race (Cambridge, MA)

The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Bennett, Jr. has become a member of the Black Race (Cambridge, MA)

Regina Downer has become a member of the Black Race (Weston, Vermont)

Marceline Donaldson has become a member of the Black Race (Cambridge, MA)

Prof. Dr. Hikmet Ucisik has become a member of the Black Race (Istanbul, Turkey)

Dr. Gino Cattani has become a member of the Black Race (Lucca, Italy)

Walter J. Foley has become a member of the Black Race (Norwood, MA)

Frances Maloney has become a member of the Black Race (Boston, MA)

Cheryl Nicholas has become a member of the Black Race (Randolph, MA)

Courtney Ratliff has become a member of the Black Race (Randolph, MA)

Jaimie Botero has become a member of the Black Race (Cambridge, MA)

Mike Johnson has become a member of the Black Race (Boston, MA)

Bruce Downer has become a member of the Black Race (Weston, Vermont)

Courtney Conway has become a member of the Black Race (Randolph, MA)

Nathaniel Conway has become a member of the Black Race (Randolph, MA)

Dr. Robert Perry has become a member of the Black Race (New Orleans, LA.)

Lani J. Stacks has become a member of the Black Race (Lemon Grove, CA)

Mr. Mark Roudané has become a member of the Black Race (St. Paul, MN)

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Marceline’s Brown Biscuits

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2015

Named by a guest, these ‘biscuits’ are easy to make and they destroy the marketing mythology that cooking and baking are difficult and one must, instead, decamp to the local store to buy the instant variety of anything because we don’t have the time or knowledge enough to cook – we must buy instead from the ‘professionals’.  For us, such prepared  food has too much salt – too much sugar – too many preservatives and other things which don’t belong in food.  We like plain ordinary ingredients which one can quickly turn into great biscuits in five minutes of prep time.

These biscuits can be made in many versions.  One can make plain biscuits for a great breakfast, dripping with butter; or one can put cinnamon, apples, onions, peanut butter, cheese, nutmeg, sugar, etc. into your own version of these biscuits and call them Theodore or JoAnn’s Biscuits.  (Hi JoAnn, thanks for naming my biscuits.)   Only your imagination limits the possibilities.  We have been known to put everything except the kitchen sink into our biscuits and the more ingredients, the better the biscuit.  Want something really special, try making these biscuits with raw, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk.  Now there is a biscuit that harkens back to the time when food was food and not a conglomeration of chemicals.

Start with one cup organic whole wheat flour in the food processor.

Add one cup organic whole wheat pastry flour

Add one teaspoon salt – or to taste

Add one teaspoon baking power

To remember the ingredients – it is biscuits with the power of one plus six. What is the six?  The number of ingredients.

Turn on the processor and give it a few twirls to mix these dry ingredients.

Add one stick organic butter to the ingredients in the food processor – slice the butter to make it quicker to incorporate

Turn on the processor and let it twirl until all ingredients are mixed and it looks like tiny little balls

Add 2/3 cup milk and twirl for a quick second until the ingredients are in a kind of ball.

Use organic butter to make rounds of grease on a cookie sheet.  Each round is where you will drop a biscuit.

Take a small handful of the biscuit dough and roll it lightly between your hands to form a ball. If your hands get sticky during this process, put a bit of flour on the palms of your hands and keep rolling the biscuit dough between them.

Drop the biscuit ball onto one of the greased rounds on the cookie sheet

When all are done, bake at 350 degrees until done.  Maybe 10 to 15 minutes depending upon your oven.

Let them cool for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven or they will break up and you will have to eat biscuit crumbs.

These should be very light and lovely and give you about one dozen biscuits.

For variety – use organic coconut milk instead of cow’s milk – or goats milk – or almond milk – or whatever you like.  We loved the coconut milk.  It was a subtle taste.  You knew something great was in the biscuits, but you didn’t know quite what.

To the plain biscuits, add grated cheese before baking.  Grate cheese and just push a small amount into the biscuits.  Top with a square of butter, sprinkle salt over the biscuits and then bake.  These are super fantastic.  The addition of the cheese, salt and butter takes these out of the everyday category into the universe.

To the plain biscuit dough, add a heaping tablespoon of organic ceylon cinnamon. Use organic coconut milk instead of regular cows milk. Add sugar to taste – a lot if you want sweet biscuits, a medium amount to make these ‘dressy’.  Grate a bit of nutmeg into the biscuits or sprinkle the tops generously with nutmeg and sugar before baking.

Add chopped apples to the sweetened biscuits.  Apples give an unexpected taste and texture to these dressed biscuits along with the coconut milk plus.

NO! ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WHITE FLOUR FOR ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR.  Organic Whole Wheat Flour is what gives these biscuits the taste of ones grandmother used to make.  The good grandmother, who knew how to cook with solid, organically grown ingredients.

It takes, at most, five minutes to mix these biscuits and another ten to fifteen minutes to let them bake in the oven.  The effort is minimal, the results are spectacular.

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

 

Martin Luther King Day at Bettina’s

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2015

Hate murdered a man, at 39 years of age, who preached love.

Hate murdered a man, at 39 years of age, who preached love.

It has been amazing and humbling to watch the progress of the Martin Luther King holiday over the years.  We watched from the beginning, when there was much conflict, confrontation, opposition, loud voices of angry protest at the very idea that such a man, with his history and achievements should be honored. We watched until today when the determination and love of those who were going to make sure Martin and the work of the Black Civil Rights movement was recognized.  This 2015 year we celebrated and recognized a man and a movement with time out of school for our children, to the closing of banks, the post office and some of our corporations.  To get even this far, has been a long, hard, painful, but very rewarding journey for many.

How do we treat greatness when discovered or suspected in African Americans?

How do we treat greatness when discovered or suspected in African Americans?

We attended and participated in events which recognized Martin Luther King and the movement of which he was one of the leaders.  The events, their venues, the people participating were a cross section – not only of America – but across parts of the world where the work of the Civil Rights Movement was remembered.

There was much “breakfast table talk” about the history which brought us to this day.  We hope it continues throughout the year. I thought we would share some of that conversation with you:

“We had a fantastic breakfast – I would have to call it a ‘breakfast seminar.’   Only one person at the table had been through the Civil Rights Movement which created this holiday.  The rest of us were either not yet born or were on the other side.  I was one of those on the other side at the time because, to me, what was happening with the protests, the disruptions, the dogs, the hoses aimed at the hurting of even young children was something I couldn’t abide.  I didn’t think there was anything wrong with life the way we were living it.  My point of view was not that of those who were willing to die for their freedom and were looking to the future at their children’s future, but of someone whose life was being disrupted.  Not seriously disrupted, but enough to be inconvenienced and I just wanted it to stop and things to go back to the way they were.  I don’t know when God took hold of me to shake me up and to shake those attitudes out of my life, but somehow it happened and I am now a part of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.  My grey hair can be seen among all of those young people and I hope somehow, even though it is a very little and very late, my efforts will matter to those who come behind me.”

 

Are you listening out there in Simi Valley? How diverse is your neighborhood!

Are you listening out there in Simi Valley? How diverse is your neighborhood!

WOW!

WOW!

 

“What a history lesson!  I remember studying the Civil Rights Movement in school.  We learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and what that time was all about, but I had never talked to someone who was a part of that history before.  This was a very different perspective.  I think of history as being about the study of dead people and past times.  Here I was in the middle of a conversation with someone who lived that history and those past times are still with us today.  I have never been a part of a demonstration of any kind.  Never talked to anyone who had.  Didn’t intend to talk to anyone who was a part of something like that and here I was in the middle of breakfast deep into a conversation that changed my life. Thank you to my breakfast companions for putting up with me.  My responses must have been horrible to you, yet you were so kind – well almost kind, after you got over the shock of my being at the breakfast table.   I don’t know what I expected, but certainly not what happened.  I have never even thought twice about the Martin Luther King holiday.  No different from all those other holidays I don’t celebrate.  Maybe it is the newness of this one – with the pain still being felt by those who experienced the events which led up to this being important enough to remember once a year. This is, however, a holiday I am bringing back to my family to celebrate every year by learning something new about that time in history and by trying to be a little better about dealing with my prejudices which have caused so many people pain. But – is ‘celebrate’ really what I want to say.  I almost feel as though we should all be in sack cloth and ashes for what we’ve done, but ‘celebrate’ is what I feel.”

A truth the world needs to hear! From the religious aristocrats to the homeless on our streets, none of us is immune from this need! To be accepted by proving that we can discriminate against our brothers and sisters just as good as the next person.

A truth the world needs to hear! From the world’s elite,  the corporate billionaires, the religious aristocrats, the homeless on our streets, no one   is immune from the need to be silent so we can be accepted. “I am sorry, but I can’t get involved. Only when my earthly masters signal their approval.”

“A small group of us (women all) get together every year on Martin Luther King day to try to continue to work through our conflicting thoughts about the Black Civil Rights Movement.  It was a difficult time for us.  Women  – who were discriminated against, not only by the wider society, but also by the Black Civil Rights Movement.  It was very male oriented and some, in the movement, felt embarrassed if women were perceived as being in any leadership position.  We withdrew, but still supported what was happening with our money, by marching and by being a part of.  At the same time, we gathered together to fight for the equality of women and here was an example where those discriminated against were discriminating against us. That is so the human condition!  Flawed, full of sin, dragging our own history and almost blind to that of others.  Our time together, each year, is to try to reconcile and acknowledge our being human and to root out our separateness to be able to embrace everyone and not feel victimized as we work with those also fighting for their freedom in a society which seems to need to have a group on top and a group less than and which needs to manage and continue their being on top by playing one ‘less than’ group against another.”

images-5

 

 

“I love Bettina’s.  It is a safe place to be able to express whatever and you never know who is going to be at breakfast.  May you all live long and prosper.”

 

 

 

Ed Note:  We had a lot more expressions of breakfast at Bettina’s on Martin Luther King Day.  We shared just a few.  The places where people came from, knowing the history of King and the Movement amazed even us.  We could put this all together in a book, but we will stop here.  Hope this gives more meaning to your day and information to your life.

 

129902141An insight into a reality we find hard to accept!

 

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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The Rev. Dr. Lillian D. Anthony, my friend

Monday, December 1st, 2014

by: Marceline Donaldson, president

Bettina Network Foundation, inc.

 

There are some people one expects to go on forever, but none of us lives forever.

Lillian was a force of nature. Her strength came from the clear, truthful, fearless and love filled way she lived her life.

I have always called Lillian ‘my friend’, but as I look back over our lives I realize she was also one of my mentors from whom I learned a lot.

I met Lillian back in the l960’s in Minneapolis. She was challenging the City of Minneapolis about its lack of civil rights and was in the process of becoming the first head of one of the first city civil rights departments in the United States.

It was amazing for me – a young, southern, quiet, full of my early training.  A person who wore gloves everyplace and usually with an umbrella at hand, who had been trained to always remember who she was and act accordingly – to meet this woman who always knew who she was and she was neither quiet nor southern.

I was just coming out of a not so great marriage and trying to stand on my own two feet for the first time in life. I’d found a beautiful house I loved and tried to buy, but the owner declared he would not sell to an African American. I was furious; was not going to take such; and wasn’t sure where to go or what to do when someone suggested I call Lillian Anthony – which I did.

Lillian responded immediately. She was head of the newly established Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights starting in l968 and had some power to address what happened to me.

We met and talked and hit it off right away. Lillian went off to address the problem and in a couple days called and we met again. She told me the problem was solved, the owner had no problem selling the house to an African American woman and she knew that for sure because she’d just bought it.

We started to laugh, almost uncontrollably. It was a joke that was funny far beneath what was on the surface and so off we went on a lifetime of what can only be described as a hilarious friendship full of one-upmanship’s. When we met at social, civic, or other events we would point and laugh uproariously because we knew we were the sharpest looking people in the room. I knew I looked better than Lillian and she knew she looked better than me.

We often went shopping together – to estate sales, of course – but we had to fight to buy what we wanted because we always saw the same item at the same time and it was a free-for-all as to who got to it first.

I was invited to a meeting in Chicago in the early 1970’s of 100 Black Women and so was Lillian, who was one of the coordinators of that event. Once there I met Elma Lewis – who had not yet become Miss. Lewis. There was a skit in the room with all of us gathered and a woman dressed as a waitress came in with her clothes askew looking very stressed and disheveled, crying out – ‘help me, they shot him’.

No one in the room moved, except me, who jumped up to run to this woman to help her in her obvious distress, while telling everyone else in the room how they should be helping also. Elma wanted to know “who is that woman”. Lillian, who was sitting next to Elma said – that’s just Marceline. She is always in the middle of everything saving the world . Elma called me over to sit next to her and she and Lillian laughed and carried on – at my expense.

Turns out, the waitress was a part of the skit to see who would respond and to then start a discussion on being involved. However, that didn’t work because Lillian, Elma and I couldn’t stop laughing and just having a great time out of all of this.

That was the start of a great trio of friends. We weren’t together a lot, but when we did get together it was always a good time.

Lillian designed the Afro-American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, becoming its first chairperson. She did an amazing job of helping to found the Department and headed it in a way which helped develop the entire field. No, Skip Gates was not the first and neither was Harvard.

Lillian ran into trouble at the University as Black men challenged her position which they thought should belong to an African American man who they claimed should have better credentials than Lillians’. So Lillian resigned and went off to the University of Massachusetts to obtain a Doctorate in Education. In addition she also served on the faculties of the University of Nebraska, George Mason University and Towson University in Maryland.

Even before all of this, Lillian went to seminary at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and received her Master of Religious Education in 1953 long before women were even beginning to see the possibility of a seminary education. Before that, Lillian received her undergraduate degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO.

After leaving seminary Lillian worked at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church as the director of religious education. A job most women found if they were lucky enough to finish their seminary education and find a job. The Church was way behind the society- still is today – in addressing the equality of men and women and Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.

Lillian also taught in Assuit, Egypt and was the North Central Area representative for the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Ordination was not possible then, even though God’s call to Lillian to the ordained ministry was strong,  so she went instead into Religious Education. Lillian did not ignore this call to ordination into the Presbyterian ministry, which wasn’t realized until decades after she turned to listen to what God was calling her to do. What was clear in Lillian’s life was that God calls and man decides to ignore God’s way and pursue his own, blocking the path of women and minorities. It was clear looking at Lillian’s life, that it is dangerous for men to block God’s call, but they never seem to get that message because they are still today blocking as best they can – only today being joined by a few others who are not White European males!

Before I met Lillian, she had served the Federal Government from 1965-1968 as the district director for the Department of Labor establishing anti-poverty programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

When I moved to Massachusetts, Lillian was already there at the University of Massachsuetts working on a doctorate in Education. She insisted I join her because she felt I would need something to fall back on and with a doctorate I could teach in Academia someplace.  I was not an academician, nor anything close and I decided that was not my path. She, Elma and I got together several times while Lillian was studying and both tried to push me into this doctorate business, but I resisted and took another path.

Several years after I moved to Massachusetts, Elma Lewis called to say she had heard from Lillian who was concerned about me because we hadn’t been in touch for quite some time and wanted Elma to make sure I was alright. They both knew my penchant for jumping into the fire and they both have had to pull me out several times.  According to Elma, there were rumors and they were worried about me.

Elma called me to say John Ross was picking me up to bring me to her house for lunch, but before he did he was going to take me on a tour of Boston. I told Elma I already knew Boston, had been living here for a few years and that was great, but I preferred lunch times to tour times. Elma said nothing and John Ross picked me up and took me on a tour of Boston. Elma was now Miss Lewis and you did her bidding.  John Ross asked all kinds of questions – how are you, what are you doing, are you alright financially, can we do anything for you, and on and on he went. I finally stopped him to ask why he was trying to get into my business. John Ross said he wasn’t he was just instructed by Elma to ask all of these questions because they needed to make sure I was alright and didn’t want me to say everything was fine – when we talked over lunch – and everything was not fine.

John Ross took me to Elma’s, where she was on the phone with Lillian and they both demanded I not stay out of touch for so long and whenever I had a problem of any kind they were just a phone call away.

That was a very emotional moment for me, but I knew that was how they both were and I must have had some kind of publicity or gossip which made them think they needed to circle the wagons.

Having had that kind of mentoring, I have tried to live up to their example and be there for others – although I have not been perfect following my mentors. I do fall away and still get busy with my own business and have missed many such opportunities presented to me by the universe.

One passion in Lillian’s life was ‘collecting’. It is a passion we both shared, but mine was about 18th century French furnishings, art objects, etc. Lillian’s was about collecting negative Black images throughout history. She had an amazing collection and her house – wherever it was – reflected this passion.

At one point in Louisville and again in St. Louis her home was a place classes of school children visited with their teachers to take the tour of Ms. Lillian’s home.

Oddly enough – or should I say expectedly enough – our two passions ran parallel because as Lillian became more knowledgeable about her area of collecting she ran across many objects which were from 18th century and beyond  in the time frame of my collecting and items made by some of the same people and companies I loved. Lillian knew about and owned items made by the Dresden, Meissen and other factories of negative Black images and while artistically exquisite the subject matter made you wonder about this use of the artists talent. I remember when Lillian bought a beautiful piece of Dresden china which depicted a Black child being born out of an alligators egg and others pieces that went downhill from there.

My thoughts about negative Black images had to do with the Aunt Jemima dolls and the Uncle Tom depictions, but they went far beyond those simple objects into incredible works of art meant to support the racism against African Americans in as many and as subtle and not so subtle ways as possible.

Lillian brought a part of her collection to Boston for an exhibit along with a program speaking to this form of maintaining the structure of racism. It was well attended and the curiosity and amazement from those who had my early thoughts about this area was astounding.

Lillian was head of the Afro American studies department in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Maryland to become a professor in the same area at Towson University.

Her life and career extended across the country and in several institutions. She left each one better for having served there.

Lillian’s last job before retiring was as the associate for equal employment opportunity/affirmative action in the human resources department in the Prebbyterian Church’s national office in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lillian was also able to function as an ordained minister before her death and her sermons were memorable, moving and caused you to rethink who you are and how you were responding to God’s call in your life.

Lillian was clearly one of God’s chosen and never forgot that she was called by God to spend her life ministering to God’s people and she did that with love, compassion, fearlessness, dignity and grace.

She received many awards and honorary recognitions like the Mary McLeod Bethune Award, presented by the Louisville National Council of Negro Women. She was also appointed to the President’s Disability Task Force.

What many people did not know was that Lillian lived with Lupus most of her adult life. How she did all of what she did and dealt with a very debilitating disease we will never know. Lillian was never a victim and nothing that happened to her turned her into a victim. She was always a child of God who she believed was the active force in her life and to whom she owed everything.  She lived that life to the fullest – always.

Unfortunately for me, I did not stay as close to Lillian as a friend should and so my grief is not over the loss of a friend – who I know is celebrating with all of her friends right now having a joyous time – but over the loss of my opportunity and responsibility not to lose track of someone who I was close to and loved like a sister.

Through all of this I have learned that life and our society separates friends and families and thereby increases the burden on those we love and don’t keep up with because of our busyness trying to keep body and soul together.

Each time this happens I resolve to not let it happen ever again and then I hear of a close friend who has died and my guilt, regret and sense of great loss starts all over again.

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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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“Do Not Be Afraid”

Monday, October 6th, 2014

What follows is a link to a sermon preached on October 5, 2014 in Harvard’s Memorial Chapel by Rev. Jonathan Walton.  It quotes a powerful poem written by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, past president of Morehouse College.  We recommend a quiet space to listen to this very powerful sermon which addresses a lot of what ails us personally and as a society.

http://www.harvardmemorialchurch.org/media/sermon_audio/sermon_10.05.14_walton.mp3

A guest at breakfast quoted this poem in a most powerful way as he tried to sum up the sermon he had just heard.  He was especially moved on hearing the sermon since the poem was one he’d heard many times over his life and one which he committed to memory because he found it so moving.  What he found so moving was the context in which the Rev. Walton used the poem in his sermon.  We thought our guest should turn professional because his delivery added to the profoundness of the poem

 

For you – the poem is reprinted here:

Life Is Just A Minute

Life is just a minute—only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon you—can’t refuse it.
Didn’t seek it—didn’t choose it.
But it’s up to you to use it.
You must suffer if you lose it.
Give an account if you abuse it.
Just a tiny, little minute,
But eternity is in it!”

By Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, Past President of Morehouse College

Ed Note:  Sorry for all the “powerfuls” in this blog.  Couldn’t find another word to fit.

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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

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An Intensely Religious Week

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2014

Intensely Religious – how do we turn that into – gloriously  Spiritual!  I hope it is not the intensely religious who have brought about so much bigotry in the world and the gloriously Spiritual who have given us so much freedom!  Maybe my values are a bit screwed.

It is one of those years when the religious celebrations around Spring are shared in close date proximity by several Religious faiths.  That doesn’t always happen.  After the winter we had and after the destructive forces hitting at the economy and the terrorists hitting at all of us it is no surprise that this Spring season finds some of our religions practically intertwined date-wise.

Within all of this hectic ceremonial time – and there is now a lot of ceremony going on all over the place – with its requirement of watching our diets; scheduling around many religious services – there came that still small voice in the form of guests in one of the Bettina Homes.  It was such a reprieve and a taking back to what we are all about and what is really important that we found ourselves being really grateful for the reminder.

A family came from England to America to witness to the life of a friend, and isn’t that what it is all about.  To take time from very busy lives; to spend money traveling to another country for just a few days to say  by your physical presence that this person mattered. He was important to us and our lives and we want to just stand with a group of his friends to give witness to his life.  In that small act – which today isn’t so small when you consider that most of us would be worried that our lives would fall apart if we took time out to do such a thing and we could better spend the money on something for our family – these guests and friends, by their presence and the reason for their visit,  gave me reassurances about the goodness of humans who can still sometimes come through with what is most important in life in still, small ways.

I am now ready for these Spring Religious Holidays.  I can get through all of the trappings because I know there are people who still care and get it right.  I am human and sometimes frail and one day I won’t be here anymore.  Will anyone witness to my life?  Did I reach out and live so that someone will stop and in the silence give thanks that I lived?

We are fast becoming a society where we don’t and won’t take that time away from the hectic busyness in which we constantly involve ourselves to keep from becoming conscious of the fact that we are slowly and sometimes at a faster pace marching to our own deaths.  We go to great lengths to cover-up that fact so we are not conscious of our limits as humans.  We walk across and away from those who have no home; those who are not so successful; those who are not interested in getting caught up in that busy, busy cycle of life.  We can’t after all be around those who would remind us of our own humanness.

I give thanks today for the family that took just a couple days to acknowledge the importance of the life of another human being.

Ed Note:  Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people.  Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

UBUNTU – I Am Because You Are

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2013

“I am not a saint – unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” – Mandela.

…………………………………….If only that described all of us!

The world is pouring out its grief, celebration, joy, gratitude, love for the life of Nelson Mandela.

………………………………………………………..Which has to make you think and ask – why?

What makes a human being rise to such a level that we are all grateful for his life on earth and come out to celebrate such an exceptional human being. Is it because so few such people have lived on this earth, especially when put in the context of the totality of those who have lived?

While most are celebrating such a great man – in Bettina homes we are asking why so few have risen to this height?  Why so many human beings have been so absorbed with the mundanities of life that keep us busy and distracted so we can keep ourselves unaware of our irrevocable march towards death?  Is it the self-absorption which some of our huge egos demand for their self-gratification? Is it the inconsistencies in values which we carry that keep us from living out our beliefs because we might get hurt – might miss a meal – might not accumulate as much wealth as possible?  Or is it our contradictory ways of thinking and acting which we develop in our striving to create the structures which we think protect us and keep us secure, but which really oppress us?

How long, O Lord, do we have to wait for the many to live life the way Mandela lived his?  Why does he have to be special? Why in our own small parts of the world we insist on living  anti-ubuntu lives?  Haven’t we experienced enough of the misery, poverty, pain, horrors that this causes?  How long will we surround ourselves with “our own kind”?  How long will we live blinded by the fact that we are all included in “our own kind.”

Whatever hurts me hurts thee! Whatever joys I experience grow exponentially when I share them with thee! My freedom totally depends upon your freedom.

One can hear why Mandela was great by just listening to the speeches honoring him.  Some were clear, unobstructed  by play acting, playing to the audience, playing to their own egos, unable to give a great speech honestly honoring Mandela’s life because they have allowed their minds to be clouded by their refusal to accept and act on their own values and take responsibility for their lives.  Some were almost unintelligible and said more negatives about the person giving the speech than positives about the man the speech was supposed to be honoring. True Freedom eliminates that and you could tell whose lives were on track and whose were confused and muddled from listening to those speeches!

Mandela’s memorial services today gave us a stark opportunity to see and hear the differences as men and women gave their speeches of remembrance and the crowd reacted.  Some people don’t have images, reflections, pretenses, – they have a rock solid faith, clear and authentic lives they are living and it is reflected in their very being, the words they use, their demeanor around others – especially their ability to be themselves when greeting strangers.  Some people  first promote their image and then everything else – lets not even begin to be who we really are, that must not show until we know the person better.

Why do so many of us want, protect and pass on to our children, as great gifts, the bondage in which we live?  Why do we give up a beautiful life well lived for an existence that others have told us we must sacrifice ourselves to maintain?  Why are we enslaved to sexual stereotypes – racial stereotypes – national stereotypes – religious stereotypes?  We live out of them.  We live for them and to promote them hoping that in exchange we will be able to live physically comfortable although seriously compromised lives.

FREEDOM will come to this earth when we celebrate lives like Mandela’s many times each day instead of once in a lifetime.

We set up ‘sins’ that we must stay away from and/or avoid the perception of our being involved with because that might handicap our future.  We don’t set up, teach, preach, live authentic lives.  The sins we set up and announce from our own mountain  seem meant to deflect us and allow a few to claim perfection in their life’s story.  Those are very far from the real sins of our lives – the inability to live authentically,  the refusal to feel empathy for those on the street with no shelter from the cold, hunger, dangers of the street.  Our refusal to stand on our own professed faith and most especially to give no room to others to stand on theirs – this seems to be the biggest sin of our creation.  These are  the commandments by which we live and demand that others of “our kind”  also live.  Our need to act to keep from feeling threatened by those we don’t understand; those in whom we see what we don’t like in ourselves – those we scape goat, and see reflected in our own mirror – we act against and break our own mirror.

As we look around at others it hurts the soul to see in them the rejection, mean spirit, and refusal to live truly free lives.  After all, what does it matter in the end?  We all die – and what a horrible death to leave this earth with unrequited dreams, longing, loves because you were trying for things that die with you for which there is no resurrection or redemption and which did nothing to make your life great.  Worse, to die without ever having had dreams, great loves and without having left behind a legacy which helped change this earth for the better.

Isn’t it sad that we choose the fleeting fame and what we call ‘security’ instead of choosing to be about the business of living fully and making sure we are there to help others do the same?

There is no such thing in life as ‘security’, but we are willing to sacrifice much to attain the mirage.

Ecclesiastes comes to mind often – ‘vanity of vanities………’

Oh for a world full of people like Nelson Mandel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Not only was Nelson Mandela clear as to who he was and whose he was, but he was a man who never met a stranger.  He could reduce you to your real self in front of him in seconds or make it extremely difficult for you to maintain the pretense and image built up over years of living someone else’s imaginary life projected onto your own.

We pray that we all can move away from and cast out the garbage that collects as we live our lives striving for security; putting forth an image of someone we would like to be and who we would like those meeting us to think we are; cast out the values we collect to cover our insecurities and fears; cast out the mean spirit we take on because we need to feel better than other human beings who we describe and see clearly as those less than us helping us to be better than they are.

We pray that we have no more such outpourings as are happening this week for Nelson Mandela.  Not because we don’t appreciate and value his life and work, but because we will be living in a world where there are  so many like him that his life and how he lived it becomes normal and is common all around us.  What a world that would be and what a wonderful place to live, love, work, and just be!

UBUNTU! A future and a word taken into the world’s vocabulary as one of its own no matter what the language.  A word that describes – how we live – who we are!

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

2013 The Jubilee Year

Friday, February 8th, 2013

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2013 for Marceline Donaldson

We declare the year 2013 to be the Year of the Jubilee and a holy, joyous, history making, sin forgiving year!

By whose authority? – by our own.  Isn’t that how such things happen!!!!

Generations from now, the historical cry will be reported and everyone will forget it was declared by one little person in a tiny corner of Massachusetts in danger of being crushed by Harvard University.

Why 2013? —————– Why not 2013!

The year Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of these United States. A man of African and Colonial American origins.  He not only models what African Americans can accomplish, he also models that ‘half-breeds’ can be brilliant, successful, achieve beyond everyone’s expectations and really – how can you tell his racial background from just meeting him?  Doesn’t his smile wipe all of your doubts away?

His election – his person – does not go through years of ancestors stolen from Africa and forcibly put into slavery.   He comes from the combination of the Africans who escaped being brought over as slaves and the very middle-class White Americans who brought some of his family/tribe/countrymen over to do their work for them – for free.  And, in spite of that ancestry he is just as nice and kind and smart and thoughtful and….as he can be.  The progeny of the original enemies in these United States – the original American oppressed and oppressors – those who stole the freedom of generations of human beings so they wouldn’t have to do their own menial work and those who were stolen and lived for generations outside their own country, culture, language, until they no longer could recognize from whence they had come.

This Jubilee Year, which we are declaring, also comes 50 year after Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement which broke out in this country and partially freed some of us from sitting behind signs on buses; drinking from water fountains which were never clean; going to the back door of restaurants and paying the same price for contaminated food handed to us out the back door which we then had to find a place to eat;  travelling and wondering just where we were going to sleep the night because hotels, motels, inns, were not welcoming and did not allow Blacks to register; going to inferior segregated schools; not being allowed into institutions of higher learning except for those established ‘for colored patrons only’ and on and on and on.

We are a step beyond slavery, but still not free!  A more qualified African American woman was passed over for Secretary of State in favor of a qualified, but less qualified White Male from a very Patrician American family – complete with trust fund, hundreds of millions of dollars and a phalanx of supporters in his chosen profession protecting him and making sure anyone threatening his path to his chosen goal was dutifully destroyed – or at the least – with reputation mangled.

With BHO’s election to the presidency we should proclaim this a great year of celebration. No, he is not perfect.  No, I don’t agree with all of his stands on things.  No, I suspect he has more than a little bit of sexism in his soul and it has popped out and will probably continue to do so.  No to a lot about BHO, but YES, I will shout and loudly proclaim this celebration and the debt we owe him for stepping out and moving all of us out of a less equal time.  If I knew about ram’s horns I would probably continuously bother all of my neighbors by playing several, all year.

This Jubilee Year, which we are proclaiming, is a year of unmitigated joy, but also a year of universal pardon for all of the sins of the past.  It is time to put slavery, its manifestations in today’s society, its ruination of the lives of some of my and your ancestors (be they White, Black, Green, Pink, Brown or Purple) in the past and look to the future which this year proclaims possible.  A future that is about all of us – that sees us working together to bring about a world free of the horribleness of the past.

In this Jubilee Year:

We need to call on our brothers and sisters to stop manufacturing foods and other processed goods which are harmful to us!

We need to call on our brothers and sisters to take global warming seriously and stop polluting the planet and to stop doing all the other things which are turning our living rooms into our toilets and our bodies into garbage disposals and composters at the expense of our health!

We need to call on our brothers and sisters to learn to settle their grievances without resorting to killing another human being – raping women and children – blowing up buildings out of their self-righteous hatred – playing games which hurt others, but relieves their own anxieties and covers from them the fact that they are mortal and one day will die.

We need to call on our brothers and sisters to take responsibility for each other.  No one should sleep on the street or in other than a bed, have warm clothing, enough food to eat and be able to live without the fear of another human being.  We are, afterall, more alike than different.  We are our brothers and sisters keepers.  We have heard those messages from childhood as have our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and much further back into history, heard them also, but we still have not put them into practice in our lives.

We need to call on our brothers and sisters to do at least one good deed each day for someone in need.

We need to dismantle our class structure which raises us up to believe some of us are better – as a part of a group – than others of us.

We need to dismantle what is left of racism.

We need to dismantle what is left of sexism.

We need to totally dismantle ageism.

And we need to do all of that and more before December 2013 so we can all end the year feeling great about ourselves and each other.  So that no matter where we are in the world it is a safe place and if we need anything the people in that place will move to supply whatever ‘it’ is.

According to Leviticus 25:10 “Thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year and shalt proclaim remission to all the inhabitants of thy land; for it is the year of the Jubilee.”

This needs to be a year of great goodness – great deeds – great acknowledgement of our common and shared humanity each one equal to the next, no one greater than another.  We should work hard to keep this Jubilee Year and at the end, maybe we will have created habits which carry over into 2014.

50 years ago – at the beginning of this cycle of this Jubilee year

  • John F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers were assassinated and W. E. B. DuBois dies!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. writes his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ and later in the year gives his famous “I have a Dream Speech”, during the March on Washington.
  • Hoses and Police dogs turned on protestors and are nationally televised for the first time
  • Children’s crusade brings about a form of settlement – Birmingham juvenile court inundated with African-American children and teenagers arrested while protesting
  • 16th Street Baptist Church bombed killing four young girls – out of which came Condoleeza Rice
and out of all of this and much more in the celebration year, the sabbatical year, has come Barack Husein Obama.
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A Larry Hagman breakfast!

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2012

Such a discussion.  We need to express sympathy to Larry Hagman’s family on his death.  By all accounts he was a fun, lovely person who has done much good for those around him.  We hope his soul rests in peace.

However, a breakfast conversation about Hagman was kind of different.  Everyone was, at first, expressing what they had read in the media, heard from the media or saw on the internet.  Somehow, the conversation turned to what Hagman was really about – looking at him from the perspective of the body of work he left behind.

The general expressions were about how skillfully and completely he had taken in an entire society and projected onto all of us a lethal kind of sexism, which influenced a generation of impressionable young people.  How many are watching re-runs of “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Dallas?”

“I Dream of Jeannie” was a sitcom which I thought was cute, although I didn’t really watch more than one episode.  It wasn’t described as “cute” around the table.  Jeannie was described as a blond, Middle-Eastern belly dancer who was so into her inferiority and her role as fulfiller of this man’s needs, wishes and dreams that she even called Hagman ‘master’.  It was a complete rolling out of a sit-com which fulfilled most mens’ dreams and which negatively paralleled the women’s movement – re-enforcing and making even worse, stereotypes which the women’s movement was trying to counter with an image of woman as equal.  Was it coincidence that such a show was rolled out when the Women’s Movement was becoming an important force in American Society, Business and Culture?

“Jeannie”  also parallels the stereotype of the Middle-Eastern male warrior dreaming about dying to reach his virgins.  Jeannie herself, could very well be almost number one in that dream sequence – yet this was an American not a Middle-Eastern show. Hmmmmmmm!!

And then there was “Dallas”.  Wow! This was the sit-com which made Hagman into a multi-millionaire on the backs of women – helping to make their lives difficult by depriving them of any vestige of equality, dignity, responsibility, etc., having to fight off other women falling all over themselves to hook up with the most machismo of men – looking to cash in on the power of the men in the show!  It didn’t come in for any good comments.  Nor did Hagman at this point.  He lived well at a woman’s expense.  May he rest in peace and the body of work he helped produce be buried with him.

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Poetry – Valerie Gillies

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

copyright 2012 Marceline Donaldson

We experienced a wonderful, brief, impromptu concert of troubador harp music by daughter accompanying her mother’s poetry recitation.  It was a magical time.  We thought we would share with you a small glimpse of Valerie Gillies’ poetry.  She has several books of poetry, if you are interested and would like to read and know more about her work.  “Her poems are rooted in an elemental world, and take from nature a lightness as well as a terrestrial substance. At the technical level her experiments with the musical dimension of poetry increase its diversity and resonance: she sees message and form as indivisible.”

They were in Cambridge for a Celtic Conference which brings in the most interesting, talented and gracious people.  We look forward to their arrival every year.

copyright 2012 Valerie Gillies

FRUID WATER

Tune:  “Logan Water”

“Fruid Water, furthest of all from the sea,

yours is the voice that means far more to me

than the salty wave flowing up the beach

of a great stretch of ocean I may never reach.

Little I care for foaming breakfers on the shore

or the surface calm that moves so much slower

if I hear your notes that are sweeter than the surf

of all the different waters of the earth.

 

I don’t need to see the whale or sea-wrack,

the flight of the gannet, the diving of the shag,

I long to watch your trout or your owl flying low,

on your banks I hear the sudden hooves of the roe.

Each of us finds that you can quench our thirst,

stream and surrounding terrain belong together from the first.

In the face of the light you become, through your quality,

like an eye reflecting us in transparency.

 

Huge masses of water roll in the oceans,

deep currents circulate, of gigantic proportions,

but where you flow freely and trickle over stones

you play with waves in rhythm, vibrate and sing along.

Out of vapour you have come back to liquid,

you return in your course every time to Fruid.

Evaporting, loop with air currents and precipitate:

between earth and heaven you mediate.

 

Your moving form issuing from the hills

twists in strands of water changed like turning veils;

they make a rope that spirals down the glen,

new water falling through it to refresh men.

I can tell by the current as it swirls along

where it comes from, what rocks cause its tensions,

and I praise your wave shape through which the water flows,

for they remain the same, and rarely go.

 

From “The Chanter’s Tune” a book of poetry by Valerie Gillies                                                                                                                                                        Published by Canongate Publishing Limited Edinburgh Scotland

Republished here with permission of the author/poet

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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Hail Mr. Gomes

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
 

copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2011
by The Rev. Dr. Robert Bennett

The Rev. Professor Mr. Peter Gomes  – internationally known as Harvard University’s pastor – died February 28, 2011.  He was 68 years old.

The Rev. Gomes was such a presence within “the college” and its environs that to say he will be missed is truly an understatement.

I first met Peter Gomes – an elegantly dressed young man, complete with watch fob – in the mid to late 1960’s when he was a student at Harvard Divinity School.  He has been a friend ever since.

Initially, when I first met Peter, I thought he was one of the faculty – he had such an incredible bearing.  And indeed, upon his return to Harvard in the beginning of the 1970’s, after his graduation and after spending a couple years at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Peter had indeed become an officer of the college.  This was the start of his career and tenure at Harvard’s Memorial Church.

Peter’s impact at Harvard has been felt in so many ways: his teaching and preaching; his writings and not least of all, the weekly gatherings of the community for tea at his home.  It is a home filled with antiques – each with their own history.  It was a proper setting for a man who loved life and surrounded himself with so much beauty and elegance.

Needless to say, the Rev. Prof. Gomes’ involvements in the social and political issues of the day were felt beyond the walls of Harvard Yard and are already being recalled in notifications of his death.

Looking back on Rev. Gomes’ life, it is as minister to the college which marks his major contribution.  Beside Sunday worship, his pastoral role was expressed through Memorial Church’s varied programs throughout the seasons and festivities of the school year; not the least of these being daily Morning Prayers and talks in the chapel; the pastor’s role as confessor, counselor and friend to student and faculty alike; and – who can forget Mr. Gomes in his varied roles during commencement festivities.

It is all of these good and happy memories which help overcome our sense of loss and sadness and bids us offer a farewell shout:

                         SALVE!  PETER GOMES!


I will miss you!

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

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