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March 2007 Archives

March 13, 2007

Spring: A New Beginning

Dick Bernard
March 11, 2007

Not to be missed:
Sunday March 18 1 pm Uptown Minneapolis (Hennepin and Lagoon): Anti-War Protest
Monday March 19 7 pm St. Joan of Arc 4537 3rd Ave S Minneapols: Paul Loeb speaking on "How to Stay Inspired for the Long Haul".

The two above events are, in my view, perfect "twins" for a new beginning, a new spring. It would be nice if neither were necessary; it is a reality that both are necessary. One continues a sad witness to the disaster that discerning people knew would be result of the Iraq War, and the Terrorism it spawned, not diminished; the other is an opportunity to recharge the batteries, as Paul Loeb's book titles suggest: "The Impossible Will Take a Little While", and "Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time".

Being Witness is not an easy task, but it is essential. A friend spotted this 1968 quote of Hubert Humphrey recently, and it says it all about those of us who quietly labor for peace and justice in this world of ours: "What you do, what each of us does, has an effect on the country, the state, the nation, and the world." This quote mirrors the comments of Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at at the Town Hall Forum on Darfur March 11. Walz noted the need for the public to "keep the pressure on"; Ellison, said "Politicians see the light when they feel the heat". Klobuchar recited the timeless truth recited in every speech given by Lutheran minister and German dissident Martin Niemoeller after his release from long imprisonment in Germany after the Nazis were defeated in WWII. "When they came for the Socialists, I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist...Then...Then...Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me." (As I recall, Niemoeller was early viewed as a troublemaker by the Reich; he was too prominent a cleric to be killed; and too outspoken to be 'loose on the streets', so by the end of the 1930s he was imprisoned and thus, they felt, rendered harmless.)

Being Witness is not an easy task, but it is essential.

Continue reading "Spring: A New Beginning" »

March 27, 2007

Paul Loeb and Faith Kidder: The Unsung Hero

April 1, 2007

Paul Loeb came with a dose of inspiration on March 19, and the over 100 of us who came likely left with a bit more hope that despite sometimes depressing thoughts, and unmet expectations, about the fruits of our labors, we are making a difference.

As he talked, I kept thinking of Faith Kidder. More on that in a moment.

Loeb, nationally known speaker and author (Soul of a Citizen: The Impossible Will Take a Little While) told stories of people who made a big difference without even intending to.

Take Rosa Parks...and Martin Luther King, for instance. Everyone knows their role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights movement. Loeb did not focus on them, however. Why did Rosa Parks finally take action, and who got Rosa Parks involved, he asked? At the time she refused to give up her seat, she was apparently secretary of the local NAACP, and it was apparently her husband who had gotten her interested in involvement with the NAACP. And who got Rosa Parks husband involved, Paul asked? At this point, that's a key, but unanswered, and probably unanswerable question.

As for MLK: just by chance he happened to be a new pastor in town at the time the bus boycott began, and was pressed into leadership, probably against his better judgement at the time. He didn't rush into leadership; he was called to leadership. (King's feeling at the time, in his own words, is quoted in my posting in this space for January 29, 2007, Cindy Sheehan and Season for Nonviolence).

Loeb mentioned a number of other examples: some people of prominence, others we've never heard of, who against all odds made a difference.

And I kept thinking of Faith Kidder.

Without Faith's vision and persistence, we would not have had the opportunity to hear Paul Loeb on March 19. She had seen an essay of his that she really liked, and found his website
http://www.paulloeb.org , and while browsing the site noticed that Loeb had a small opening in his schedule between two midwest engagements. Faith, being Faith, decided to go for it, and lobbied a skeptical Paul Loeb until he was convinced that she, working strictly as an individual, could actually pull together an event worth his time and effort. From his telling, it was several weeks before he decided to take the risk and commit to a program sponsored by an individual he didn't know, who couldn't guarantee much of anything. His reluctance made a lot of sense. Faith didn't quit. I think Paul was glad he came to Minneapolis for the unplanned engagement.

I hardly know Faith, but I know her well enough from other events she's organized to know that when she sets out to do something, she quietly and persistently and effectively gets it done.

So...Paul Loeb spoke to over 100 of us on March 19. He's the one in the photo. But the one who really deserves the credit is the person out of sight in the background, who invested most of the effort, and stayed out of the spotlight, Faith Kidder.

The heroes in this movement, Faith and many others, are and will almost without question be the unsung ones...mostly invisible in the background doing what needs to be done. They may never truly realize the difference that they're making, or made, but they certainly do make all the difference, and they're all around us.

Thanks, Faith, for making what seemed impossible, possible, giving we casual bystanders an inspirational evening March 19.

About March 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dick Bernard Venturing in March 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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