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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Reciting Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Speech

posted by Cheryl Petersen

With a poignant sonorous voice, Reginald Brunson recited Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. “Every Friday before the Martin Luther King, Jr.  Holiday, I recite the speech at South Kortright Central School,” said Brunson. “I also delivered the speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ceremony in Oneonta on Sunday.”

South Kortright Principal, John Bonhotal, includes Reginald Brunson as a regular guest to recite King’s speech every year at the school. The audience for the Friday production at South Kortright School consists of Kindergarteners through fifth graders. Students from the fifth grade participated with poster cards that illustrated a timeline. “Important events from 1929 to 1983 were written on each poster card,” said Azalyn Brunson, fifth grade student and introducer of Reginald Brunson.

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Brunson stands before the listeners, commanding attention as he draws in his breath. The words are familiar yet so potent they require concentration. Brunson comes to the part of the eight minute speech, repeating with appropriate intonation: “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

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“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

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“Every time I recite the speech, the audience has my attention,” said Brunson. “To touch hearts is my goal. I work with the fact that the audiences in upstate New York are non-minority.” Brunson grew up in South Carolina and was the minority. He remembers the signs clearly stating, “For White’s Only.” “There were seven of us kids in y family and at first we went to a segregated school.” Brunson was in the seventh grade when school segregation was diminished.

“Growing up in central South Carolina was totally different from growing up here in the north,” said Brunson. “There is no comparison and I chose to raise my kids in the north. They didn’t have to be exposed to the prejudices more common in the south. A lot of progress has been made, I love my country, but more progress yet needs to be made.”

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Brunson and his siblings were growing up at the tail end of what is now known as The Great Migration, the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the West, Midwest, and North from 1916 to 1970. The Migration was one of the greatest numbers in history. African Americans left their homes to relocate where there were more satisfactory economic opportunities and less segregationist laws. The burgeoning industrial age was a resource for employment especially during the World Wars. The Great Migration came with problems however such as poor working conditions and competition for living space. Racism and prejudice still existed but African Americans began building their own niches of black urban culture that grew to exert enormous influence. “I remember the marches and the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed,” said Reginald Brunson. “I was eight years old when I watched King die. I don’t forget it.” Years later, Brunson was asked to recite the “I Have a Dream” speech and he memorized it. “I don’t forget it,” said Brunson. “The words and meaning are in my long term memory to stay.”

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“I’ve torn apart the speech, realizing what to emphasize,” said Burnson. “I’ve watched videos of Martin Luther King Jr. giving the speech.” Burnson utilizes his background in theater during the oration. He realized his love of theater while in High School. He went on to study accounting and theater at what is now Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Since moving to Hobart, he has been involved in many productions in and out of Delaware County. Plays of notice are: Witness for the Prosecution, Twelve Angry Men, and Out Town along with a one-man act at Franklin Stage.

“Martin Luther King Jr. had given the speech 5 or 6 times before the Washington D.C. event,” said Brunson. “I recite the final version which King had developed to a full power.” Martin Luther King Jr. gave the final speech August 28, 1963, fifty years ago this year. Brunson has given the speech at a multitude of places. “I will recite it next month when our family goes to Carolinas for vacation,” added Brunson who is scheduled to give the address in Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and his hometown of Sumpter, South Carolina.

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“I’m excited to visit South Carolina, it’s been a while since we’ve been back,” said Brunson. “But, this is home. I love Delaware County. The people in Bloomville, Hobart, and South Kortright are the salt of the earth. They’ve always had my back and they are my family.” Reginald and his wife, Cynthia Hillis Brunson, have a home in Hobart. They have six children and three grandchildren. “I love them all,” adds Brunson.

A fulfilled promise to Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

 

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Zen Kitty

posted by Cheryl Petersen

I am a cat. I was born potty-trained. I know how to bury my refuse and stay clean.

You are a person. You were born innocent. You do know how to clear yourself of guilt.

I live in upstate New York where rocks and grass make for an impossible ground to dig in. The person I live with supplies me with a litter box full of litter he keeps cleaned out.

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People can live in circumstances that cause them to make mistakes and become guilty. However, God supplies them with the knowledge to overcome the guilt with their innate innocence.

You don’t lose your innocence, just like I won’t lose my ability to potty outside. When it snows, I am out there doing my business.

Innocence is constantly being supplied by God, Truth. You can yield to this innocence and heal the mistakes and guilt.

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Within the framework of innocence and truth, your thoughts and behaviors will be humble and honest and healthy.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know yourself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Love is a protective covering. Wear it! Wrapped up in love, human hatred can’t reach you. The confirmation of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.”

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Divine Healing in Practice

posted by Cheryl Petersen
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Review on The Pacific Bible

posted by Cheryl Petersen

As an avid reader of the Bible, I looked forward to reviewing The Pacific Bible. Privy to the fact that almost four hundred verses—reiterating extreme human habits unacceptable in today’s society—have been removed, I reminded myself to read with an open mind.

After reflecting on the fully retained first Chapter of Genesis, with its promulgation of spiritual persons given the dominion to care for the earth, I moved through the second and into the third chapter and smiled. I realized the verse depicting a punishing God that doomed woman to painful childbirth was archived—removed. I could relate. I had mentally removed this false view of God from my own mind almost thirty years ago. I took a strong mental stand with a God who already made and delivered everything, “and behold it was very good,” and the births of my children were natural, quick, and comfortable enough.

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I figure, Scripture must be read with an ever evolving thought process otherwise interpretations become inane. Therefore, while reading The Pacific Bible, I didn’t compare it to other Bibles as if one or the other is wrong or right. I was definitely glad to see Judges 19:25 archived. This verse and its surrounding cohorts were horrible illustrations to make a point to honor angel messengers.

Admittedly, the decisions as to what verses to archive from the Bible would be tough. However, as a Bible student and church attendee, I’ve noticed readers indirectly archive by means of simply ignoring the verses from deeper study. For example, I rarely hear references made to verses offering advice to slave holders and slaves. Many of these references were literally omitted from The Pacific Bible. Because I’m of a mindset to view my fleshly body as the servant of divine Mind, the verses not archived concerning slavery do not bother me.

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Granted, children trained in the Bible receive an educational upper hand since the stories in the Bible are so widely read and known in the world. However, the world has advanced somewhat away from detrimental past behavior. A majority of references to negative behavior that could barb the child’s mind have been removed from The Pacific Bible.

Although I could see why Proverbs 29:15 was removed from The Pacific Bible, reading, “The rod of correction gives wisdom, but a child left to himself causes shame to his mother,” I beg to differ. This verse is not an excuse for abuse. As a parent and former foster parent, I am fully aware of the mistake of physical discipline however to assume we human beings have reached a spiritual attitude or altitude as to remove physical discipline measures altogether is delusional. Moreover, I feel Proverbs 29:19, “A servant can’t be corrected by words. Though he understands, yet he will not respond,” should have also been retained. These verses require further study and understanding. Physical discipline (such as spanking or grounding), counseling, lecturing, psychobabble are a part of society today and still need thoughtful progress.

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To be expected, more verses were archived from the Old Testament than from the New Testament. After realizing the entire verse I Corinthians 6:9 is removed, I concluded that instead of removing the entire verse, I would have preserved the first sentence, “Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?” Agreed, it is futile to categorize what is “unrighteous” on a human scale because it only brings division among people, however it is a truism that unrighteous thoughts do not experience the presence of heaven on earth.

There was a general flowing feel while reading The Pacific Bible. I will and have recommended it especially to those who have put the Bible aside as out of touch with reality. Authors, revisionists, and readers can continue responding to the law of progress which is demanding a clearer correct vision of God and ourself and the world.

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