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Dreams To Reality Take Determination

Source: Dreams To Reality Take Determination

The Jesse Owens movie that is coming out is a reminder of the importance of dreams and a person’s determination to follow those dreams. We often forget his story and how he helped break down race barriers in a quiet way with his dreams and determination.

He attended Ohio State University without a scholarship, working several jobs, married, and found time to practice and compete. All this in an era when it would have been unusual and challenging for an African-American to attend an NCAA school like Ohio State.

Kathy worked with one of his grandchildren who told her that Jessie Owens was a quiet and humble man. He worked as a playground supervisor giving back to children and providing a positive role model for young people to follow. Jimmy Carter suggested Jessie Owens did more to break down racial barriers through his determination and his efforts were “a prelude to helping others.”

A Child Sits

Several years ago, during a lively family discussion about war, I was asked where I stood. Peace is simple, yet apparently unachievable. I am opposed to war on the grounds there is a Commandment: “Thou shall not kill!” This underpins all Abrahamic traditions which guide Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths. Furthermore, this premise is central to the Golden Rule which is universal.  Who suffers? Inevitably, it is the weakest, the most vulnerable.

A child sits–


Is it the cold?


Loneliness, fear

So fragile and weak

In desperate need.

Amidst war’s carnage–

No refuge

Only chaos

Military heroes wreak havoc

Who is the toughest?

The biggest bully?

Kick sand in a child’s eyes.

There is no right side

Real courage

Begs and pleads?


Wanton, senseless

Violence and death!

Who gains?

It does not take a hero to order bombs lobbed into civilian areas of cities. Nor does it take a hero to hide behind women and children when bombs are lobbed. Last night, I heard a talking head on TV ask who has the moral high ground. Is there really one when the objective of both sides is to punish the most vulnerable. What a silly question. There is no moral high ground in war only criminality.

True Transformation

This posting is not an original. Yesterday, I read a chapter in Jesus the Radical by Father John Dear SJ. I thought the list of ways easing human suffering, in some ways updated, was worth repeating.

“If we take time for daily prayer and sit quietly listening, our hearts will be disarmed of our inner violence” (p. 107).

The disarming of inner violence can happen and be heard in

  • in the silence of the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as we call and act for an end for nuclear proliferation;
  • in the voices of the Hibakushka, the atomic bomb survivors who call for total nuclear disarmament and the abolition of war;
  • in the laughter, longings, and cries of the world’s children, who look to us for peace;
  • in the poor and the marginalized, who suffer the fallout of our six-hundred-billion dollar budget for war. This is now understated. What good could be done with a mere fraction of that money?;
  • in the cry of liberation from the wrongly and unjustly imprisoned, the tortured, the homeless, the hungry, the ill, and the dying;
  • in the dead of Rwanda, Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Central America, South America, Libya, Syria, China, and our own city streets, who cry out, “Stop the killing, stop the bombings, stop the violence;”
  • in all those who are different from us, who call us beyond the blindness of racism to the vision of a reconciled humanity, the beloved community;
  • in the faithful women of the world, who remain wide awake, announcing a paradigmatic shift, the fall of patriarchy and its hierarchy;
  • in the solitude of creation, from the mountaintops to the oceans; in the gentle rain and the silent breeze that call us to praise a God of peace, a God of Life;
  • in our own hearts, in our breath, in our prayer so we can go down the mountain to our cross or suffering in a spirit of love.

Adapted from Dear, J.  (2000). Jesus the rebel: Bearer of God’s peace and justice. Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward.

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