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To Celebrate MLK, Jr?

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

As I look back over my life I am amazed constantly at how, as human beings, we have created such a complicated mess when to live a good life should be a simple accomplishment.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a martyr because he could not live his life ignoring the ills in the society which surrounded him. Most of us live our lives contributing to those ills and making them worse. Our needs are not simple. They grow more complicated as we age in a society which markets hourly with goals to enlarge already out of control egos which we are willing to pay very high prices to satisfy.

I remember Martin Luther King, Jr. from my days as a teen ager. He was not a big hero, he was a young man, studying at Divinity School and doing what he could, with others, to mitigate and change the apartheid which existed in these United States.

A particularly strong memory of Martin King was the time when the Jr. High Choir at my Church went on a trip, driving across the back roads of Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama. Rev. Nicholas Hood was the inspiration behind those trips and we met up at different places with Andrew Young and Martin King. We were about integration and attempting to break down barriers. Amazingly, as I look at my life, that is what I have been doing all of my years on this earth and I don’t see many results from the effort. To try to mitigate evil when it is so strongly entrenched takes more than my life has been able to deliver.

We spent many weekends visiting white churches and always stayed the night in the home of whites where there were young people our ages and on Sunday mornings we sang with them as a part of the Church Service where Martin King preached the sermon.

Our reception in the homes of these white families where we stayed was always warm and welcoming. We ate together, got to know one another and Sunday morning services gave meaning to what we were doing and why. It was truly God’s work. Doing that work, however, you come to know that good is always combined with evil and I saw for the first time what racism was all about.

Having been raised in a middle-class African American community, we were involved in a fairly closed community so our sense of self-worth and who we were was intact. I won’t try to explain that – if you don’t have any idea my sympathy goes out to you.

While I had white friends and white family and the city in which I was raised didn’t make a big deal out of that, but accepted much of that back and forth, it was not what the world in general accepted. Those weekends visiting white churches were about to open my eyes to the evils that existed in this world in ways I could not have imagined.

As we arrived, on a Saturday, in one town where we were to spend the weekend and sing in Church that Sunday morning, we were introduced to the young ‘white’ Jr. choir – our counterparts. At the end of dinner we were split up and sent to spend the night with families who volunteered to be our hosts for the weekend.

While we were getting ready for bed, frantic calls went out from one house to another and the next thing we knew, the ‘white’ families with whom we stayed had swiftly rounded us up and had practically thrown us into the station wagons which brought us and we were speeding down country lanes where we saw Martin King, Andrew Young and Nicholas Hood hanging in effigy from the trees as we passed. We began to realize what was happening when we saw a group of whites coming down the road trying to catch up to us. They were led by an older man with a shot gun. He was not the only one in that crowd with guns. What amazed me was the anger, bitterness, horribleness of their emotions against a group of 14 to 16 year olds – a church group visiting their neighborhood, come to sing in their church on a Sunday morning where Martin King was to preach.

That was the first time I saw racism in its raw form and saw the threat that my very existence posed to all of those people so furious that we dared to think we could sing in their church with their children. Since, as African Americans we didn’t self-segregate, their out of control emotions would force us to with guns and sticks and bricks and bats. Who was their god? It was clearly not God we worshipped on Sundays and met to talk about and study Scripture supporting the structures built to worship God – to learn about Jesus – to worship Christ. Their Churches had the same trappings as the one in which we worshipped – the same kind of cross, the stained glass windows, similar architecture with bibles in the pews, but clearly it was not about the worship of God. They had created a god with whom they could relate with values, a character, and all the trappings we build around religion which worked for them in their need to exist as ‘white supremacists’. The viciousness and ability and need to even murder if that is what it took to maintain themselves as “better than” – supreme over all others – oppressors of peoples not like them was so strong nothing else seemed to matter to them. If they could have caught up to Nicholas Hood, Martin King, Andrew Young they clearly would have hung them instead of the effigies they placed on the road we were driving down.

We were accused of being part of a sex ring. We were supposedly in town and staying with the boys and girls our ages to have sex with them, to morally corrupt them and on and on it went.

As I experienced all of that I experienced a group of ‘whites’ who were so corrupt themselves that they were projecting onto others their sins. I also experienced a group of ‘whites’ who were truly in their church to worship God. In the lives of this last group, they acted out of their belief system which is probably why they were the people who invited us to be a part of their communion. Seeing the evil amidst the good in which they lived and raised their children they were moved to act. At that same moment Nicholas Hood, Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, Jr. were there to help facilitate what they needed to do to bring love, goodness, justice, into the lives of their community.

Since that time I have seen ‘whites’ who live in many radically different ways. Some follow the call of God in their lives and understand they are one with us all. Some follow the call of the god they created and re-create as the need exists to help them live as unauthentic a life as possible, projecting an image onto the world which is very different from who they really are – always hiding the shame they feel -not trying to be perfect, but trying to project a perfect image of themselves – actually living out of their sin instead of living into the authenticity of their beautiful and flawed selves.

The next Sunday Nicholas Hood gathered us together and we studied Scripture while talking about that experience. He was determined to put what happened to us in the context of the Gospels.

Since that time, Martin King walked a long ways on that road and had many encounters with people who came after him the way that group came after all of us because they were so threatened by a Jr. High Choir singing in their Church on a Sunday and staying in the homes of their friends and parishioners some of whom they had known all of their lives, but were still able to accuse of exposing their children to ‘those sex fiends’.

I still see that group of people running down that back country road trying to stop, shoot and kill young teenagers who were such a threat to them and their way of life.

Martin King gave his life to save such people. Donald Trump gave his to make sure such people would live eternally on this earth and be able to wreck as many lives as they can reach and to destroy as much of life as he can reach – including his own.

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Trump’s Campaign Promises & History

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

by: Marceline Donaldson

We need to take a look at a parallel time in history for these United States.  The time of Reconstruction was followed by the dismantling of what the time of Reconstruction wrought.  What we are experiencing under Donald J. Trump is that time after Reconstruction of horror, evil, misery under which so many suffered.

It comes under that old adage – if we don’t know and understand history, we will be forced to repeat it.  And surely enough that is what we are doing.  President Obama brought in an era very much like that time of Reconstruction.  He continued the process of eliminating our equivalent of the “black codes” which began to be dismantled under Martin Luther King, Jr’s Civil Rights Movement – only instead of concentrating on African Americans, Obama addressed bigotry across this country amongst far more than just African Americans.  His time in office highlighted just how venomous bigotry was in these United States and we all thought it was coming to an end.

After the Obama presidency, we elected a man we knew to be a liar, cheat, etc. etc.  Today, we are appalled at what he is doing.  Since he was a very public and visible person and since it was very difficult not to have known Donald Trump and his reputation, it is amazing to me that we, the citizens of these United States who elected him president could be surprised, dismayed, etc. etc. about the actions of this man who was so thoroughly known.  Who you elect is what you get.  There is no miraculous change that occurs.  Many in the media talked extensively about the “pivot” that they expected to happen.  Where did they get such an idea?  Was it from the history that rolled out before them showing that the person elected to office said what he had to say to get elected and once elected he became and started to institute policies far different from those he/she ran on?

We were appalled that President Trump rolled out policies, etc. that he ran on.  He let everybody know who he was and what he was going to do.

He also threw in the politicians lies to some folks, claiming he was going to do great things for them – which totally violated his image; what he was saying most of the time; the people around him, those total racists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other such folks supporting his candidacy who he clearly embraced and preferred in his rallies which were horrid places to be if you were non-white and non-northern european.

Many believed he would “pivot” and be someone very different when he took office.  Only, I wonder if we really believed that or deep down we actually hoped and voted for him because we didn’t want a country where everyone was marching into that nirvana of equality, justice, compassion and Donald Trump looked like the candidate who would make sure that things were put aright which this Obama guy had turned in another direction.  Trump promised to undo everything Obama had done as president and he has actively and hurriedly taken that seriously and that part of his campaign promise he is daily implementing.

Instead of a mirror image of Reconstruction, he has brought about the period of time that followed Reconstruction when work went on to bring back the “black codes” and other laws and principles which would bring the country back as close to slavery as possible.  In the process we have helped to bring this country into a time of great destruction of many of our fellow citizens.  During that time after Reconstruction, justice, equality, compassion were destroyed.  Evil, hatred, bigotry, infliction of pain was the order of the day and for the next hundred years we lived under what that period after the Reconstruction brought.

We celebrated the “first” African American elected to Congress after 1960 ignoring the fact that during Reconstruction over 100 African Americans, just out of slavery, were elected to federal, state, county legislatures and served their fellow citizens well.

Trump’s presidency looks a lot like that of Rutherford Hayes, whose term of office started with a disputed election and during which the Chinese were today’s Muslims.  The Chinese worked hard to build the railroads, but were treated very poorly and were those selected to keep out of the United States the way Trump has worked to keep Muslims from coming to the United States.

The condition of people was horrid and the gains from Reconstruction which the Radical Republicans gained, particularly for African Americans, were destroyed – mostly by the Democrats.

During all of this time I had family living in Mexico who had everything taken away from them and were treated extremely abusively by United States soldiers when the lines were drawn and a part of Mexico became America:  I had family – Choctaw Indians, who were put on the Trail of tears and suffered much:  I had family – African Americans who were active in their small town in Alabama – elected to public office there – and finally, as the political climate changed, were stripped of everything and tarred and feathered, put on the railroad track forced to walk to Texas in that condition by the Democrats:  I had family who were English, Irish, Italian, Swiss and more who gave up their “white privilege” to marry minorities who had experienced those things.

And today, I am living through the modern version of that terrible time because of the Republicans and Donald Trump and his supporters who are moving very quickly to bring us back to that time after our own modern day Reconstruction.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Trump, the United States president, who gained office by lying.

Two of his big lies are currently clearly on view:

He promised Iraqi Christians that he would support and protect them and they supported him in large blocks.  When he gained office he started deporting them by the hundreds.  They have not yet been hauled out of this country because the courts stopped Trump’s deportation of so many.  They would have faced a horrible and dangerous life if they had been deported and they still might be.

He promised to support the LGBTQ Community and just recently showed clearly that his ethics are in the gutter and his sense of values none existent to the point of not merely being “political” to gain office, but evil to gain eternal damnation.

And those are just a few of his broken promises which will cause thousands horrendous, broken, desperate lives of which he will know nothing and of which he wants to know nothing.  His life is privileged and its continuance as such is his only concern.  More power.  More money.  More glorifying of Donald Trump.

And for this we live, work, worship and die in this country.  When will it all change?  What are you doing to bring about that change?  Or are you doing nothing to help continue things as they are because you see yourselves as benefitting?  Life changes in the blink of an eye – your time is coming and soon.

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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. It is the property of Bettina Network, inc. and/or the person who wrote the original blog.

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.

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A Promoter of Conspiracy Theories – President?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

America – really?  You elected a man who was the spokesperson and promoter of conspiracy theories as your president? Really?  Come on – that can’t be real.  Are you really that racist, America?

The last president spent eight years in office – an African American.  He was elected – and re-elected.  He was respected around the world.  He wasn’t perfect, but he did a pretty good job.  He had no scandals during his time in office.  He had no affairs.  He spent his time with his family.  He raised two daughters and now into their teen years – some say, the most difficult time for parents.  And still, after seeing all of that you elected who?  A man who was the spokesperson in Chief for the Birther Movement?  Who was on television and in countless videos speaking far and wide about Barack Obama not being an American.  Who called your duly elected president a liar.  A man who claimed that your American president was living a lie to his fellow Americans by claiming to be an American when he was actually born in Africa.

America, you laughed at this Donald Trump, the Conspiracy theorist in Chief – and then you elected him your next president?  You made him the butt of many jokes and the late night comics had a field day.

America, is your need to identify as White that strong.  You are, after all, the ones who set up “White” as a race.  So I guess we should not be that surprised when you feel the need to protect this “White American” race.  You didn’t realize when you set up this White race identity that it would not only be about slavery and identifying the other as “Colored”, “Black” and now “African American”, but would become your ingrained identity and keep you forever needing to be seen as “better than”.  You went so far as  setting up White Privilege to go along with that White American identity.  Jealous of the English Colonialism with which they tried to rule the world?

Problem with that is colors always seemed to me to be more interesting, have more depth, be about something.  “White” seemed so lacking in ….. something.  And now I see what “White” lacks –  Character? Ethics? Truth? And has a little “Evil” ingrained.   We thought, at some point, that you would just become “American”.

Who is this man?  Who is this conspiracy theorist who so portrayed your president for eight years – and longer – as an African who was fooling the American public by claiming to be an American when in fact he was not.  And you – citizens of the United States – elected this man, this conspiracy theorist, your president.  Donald Trump – president elect of the United States. Chief Conspiracy Theorist.

Your founding fathers must be proud because they slipped into the Constitution this Electoral College, which they hoped would insure that White Males (hopefully) Northern Europeans would always be president of these United States of America.  You kept that Electoral College in your Constitution for hundreds of years as a bulwark against any serious kind of desegregation.  Wow! What foresight you all had.  But what a price you have paid.  Isn’t that what stopped Al Gore?  But then maybe you were right to do that because wasn’t that – no, couldn’t have been, must have been someone else – a look alike.  His character wouldn’t let him.  But then he claimed to have invented the internet, which dropped his character a rung or two, so maybe that was him running into that Tower.

And so the founders have reached into the 21st century with that desire to maintain slavery and have caused you Americans to elect a man who is:

  1. A conspiracy theorist.  His biggest conspiracy and most successful one was spreading the lie that Barack Obama was born in Africa and he and his family were lying about who he really is.  Will he have the support of and appoint other Conspiracy Theorists to his cabinet and other places in his government so his way of being “in charge” will continue on?
  2. A Casino Operator – a man who built and operated several casino’s.  Even one in Las Vegas.  Now, I was always told that Casino Operators could only exist if they were a part of the mafia or could only exist with the blessing and support of the mafia.  Las Vegas – New Jersey – big mafia strongholds in the United States (so I have been told). So what does that make your new president and who will really be in control of your government.  And you looked down on Cuba when it was overrun with mafioso from the United States.  Now that Cuba has cleaned itself up, will the United States of America be the place where that happens?
  3. The owner of a Construction Company – which built hotels, apartment houses, etc. AND would not allow Blacks to rent or live in any of his buildings.  I have seen the newspaper clippings and the cases against Mr. Donald Trump.  Not only against him, but he comes by this legitimately because he inherited this racism from his father, who also built buildings in which he did not allow Blacks to live.  Isn’t that a violation of your laws America?  And yet you elected this man, who with his family, violated your laws blatantly and is still violating your laws and you now call him your president-elect?
  4. A man, who reportedly only values a woman for her body – isn’t that sexism?  Doesn’t that also violate your laws, America.  And still you elected him your president?
  5. A man, who it rumored, has violated all of the 10 Commandments.  Maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but he has violated enough of them that those loud outspoken Evangelicals praising who we thought was God were really only singing their praises to god.  So we really can’t dump on them since they are  worshipping their idols and we do believe in freedom of religion.  We were only fooled a little while by the names they called him.  We were fighting them because we knew our God wasn’t HIM.  We knew our Jesus was born male, not to glorify maleness, but to glorify God.  It was offending God for us to be taking on such a fight to try to keep their god primary in front of everyone.  This election has cleared our eyes. Idol worship is not for us and never has been.   We wouldn’t be surprised if one day soon they don’t start calling their god, Donald Trump.  They have already started to talk about their god sending Donald Trump to them.  And how this is all their gods plan.  But they don’t seem to understand retribution – payment for past sins – God’s wrath – evil.  They seem to think that is a good thing sent by their god for their betterment.  Well, actually, it probably is being sent by their god in the hopes it will produce their betterment, but the way their leaders are running into the Tower offering their congratulations, their services, their excitement about the “Don’s” coming success it is seriously doubtful that God’s message is getting through.

HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN!

Abraham Lincoln didn’t bring you down! – he raised you up.

Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t bring you down! – he raised you even higher.

but Donald Trump is bringing you wayyyyyyyy down.

And look at how your BIG MEN are falling all over themselves running in to kiss the ring. Their character – their ethics – their very souls are on display for all to see.

Wasn’t that Mitt Romney we saw running into Trump Tower and having dinner with the Almighty One?

And we though Mitt Romney was one of the good guys.  When he saw what was happening with the election in his beloved country, he stood up and was counted as someone who said he was not going along with this travesty.  He didn’t say “evil” but he might as well have because what he did say came down to the same thing. But what was he really doing?  Did he read the tea leaves and saw that Hillary Clinton was going to win so he was not downing Donald Trump and taking an ethical stand, but positioning himself to be in line for some kind of substantial position in Hillary’s government?

Oh, Oh, Nooooooooo! Not him too!  Oh my goodness – there goes Al Gore – into the Tower!  Well, we always had our suspicions about him.  He tried, but he just couldn’t pull off being such a good guy.  And now, we see him totally uncovered.

Oh, help me to my seat and cover my eyes and ear, I don’t know how much more of this I can stand.

Oh – and when your new president goes traveling around the world with his ‘wife” – which one?  The one who allowed all those pictures to be taken of herself in the various kinds of poses that a prostitute takes to advertise her wares.  Now, be careful here, I am not calling her a prostitute, but I said clearly, the kind of pictures a prostitute takes – naked on a bear rug with high heels up in the air and handcuffed to the bed and etc.  Some are calling her a soft porn model.  We will just look at the pictures circling the world and shake our heads.  Trump better get the Muslims and soon because when those pictures of his wife start circulating in religious Muslim circles – oh my!

And how does your president-elect handle his anti-semitism.  Well, his daughter has put him in a trap because she went off and married an Orthodox Jew.  Well, not only did she do that, but she became one herself.  Now you know in Judaism, the children take on the identity of the mother, so if she hadn’t converted, her children would not be in danger of being Jews.  But she went off and did the thing so now her husband and her children are Jews. So how did your President-elect handle that?  Is that his anger at this marriage, all of you Americans, that turned him so viciously against Muslims?  So badly so that he wants to eliminate all of them!  Is this going to be another purge by the Norther Europeans.  The last time they tried to get rid of the Jews.  This time there is a Jew sitting in the halls of power so they are going to try to get rid of all the Muslims.  Well, just as well.  Eventually, somehow, they will rid the world of all those they various and sundry people they consider “minorities”.

Oh, America, my heart aches for you.  Don’t you know you have to pay for your sins?  Haven’t you seen enough of God’s retribution to know that your day is coming?  Maybe this is it!  Maybe this is the beginning of your having to pay for the slavery you brought on Africans.  Or maybe this is the beginning of your retribution for what you have done to those who lived in the land before the Northern Europeans arrived.  What are they called today?  Indians?  No, that is politically incorrect – Native Americans.  What a name.  Call them Native Americans and then invade and destroy the little bits and pieces of land they have left and make sure it will soon be covered with the results of the many oil spills that will happen,as those Northern Europeans make loads of money in the companies that are going to dig up their privately owned land drilling for what?  Covering up what?  Taking back what?  Is this a new form of genocide – against those you have given the honorific title of Native American and made them think that this title was their idea?

Oh, America, I pray for you every day.  There are so many good people in your country.  What is going to happen to them.  They seem to be allowing these few others to take over and destroy every dream they have ever had.  Or maybe that is the problem – have they been so treated they don’t have anymore dreams?

My goodness, some of those good people are Northern Europeans.  Then who are these who have so wrecked the land and continue to wreck the land?  Who are those who let them?  I understand Donald Trump owns stock in the company about to destroy the land of the native Americans to cause oil to pollute the water so they will have nothing to drink.  And what about the rest of us – we won’t either.

You have allowed whoever these people are to destroy your country.  To invade and change the dreams of your people.  You started out in such a beautiful way.  We really hoped you would succeed.  But you have now been derailed and who knows if your country will ever be the same again.

Germany certainly didn’t expect to descend into a Nazi state.  And today, it seems as though it is only the Germans who really recognize the danger you are in America.  Have they learned from their mistakes?

So what now?  As your country began to become diverse – that beautiful diverse place where all were supposed to be welcome – what is the quote “bring me your tired,….”  That poem written by Emma Lazarus and cut into the stone with that gift from France to be a beacon to Exiles from all over the world

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Oh, No!  Is the writer of this poem – Emma – a woman? Is that why they turned against immigrants?  Will that open the door to taking her poem off the Statue of Liberty?  And a better, more American under Donald Trump type poem in its place?

Well, that is certainly no longer America.  Will it ever be again?  With Donald Trump and his friends – not likely. The United States of America used to travel the world telling others how they should change to be more like America.  Walk hand in hand into the sunset with the Casino Operator and his Soft Porn Model wife – naahh, that doesn’t sound quite right.

And here you are America – flirting with becoming another Russia; another fascistic state with its super wealthy governing people and underlings in line for bread – you can ignore this if you dare, but stay on this road and that day is coming and sooner than you think.

I used to think America was the greatest nation on earth.  Today, I realize you are the most foolish.

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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. It is the property of Bettina Network, inc. and/or the person who wrote the original blog.

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.

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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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