northanger (northanger) wrote,

agape, the beloved community

Garrett Hubbard, USA Today

An Experiment in Love (1958)
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.,
Edited by James M. Washington

Agape is not a weak, passive love. It is love in action. Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community. It is the insistence on community even when one seeks to break it. Agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community. It doesn't stop at the first mile, but it goes the second mile to restore community. It is a willingness to forgive, not seven times, but seventy times seven [+] to restore community.

CDI’s implosion of Hudson’s set three new records:

• At 439 ft. tall Hudson’s is the tallest building ever imploded, eclipsing the record held by CDI since 1975 with the felling of the 361 ft. tall Mendez Caldiera Building in Sao Palo, Brazil.

• At 439 ft. tall Hudson’s is the tallest structural steel building ever imploded, eclipsing the record CDI set in 1997 with the felling 344 sq. ft. tall #500 Wood Street Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

• At 2.2 Million square feet, Hudson’s is the largest single building ever imploded.

The Power of Non-violence
Invited by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) at the University of California at Berkeley, King spoke on 4 June 1957 before a packed audience of eager students. This excerpt is from that address. [+][+]

From the very beginning there was a philosophy undergirding the Montgomery boycott, the philosophy of nonviolent resistance. There was always the problem of getting this method over because it didn’t make sense to most of the people in the beginning. We had to use our mass meetings to explain nonviolence to a community of people who had never heard of the philosophy and in many instances were not sympathetic with it. We had meetings twice a week on Mondays and on Thursdays, and we had an institute on nonviolence and social change. We had to make it clear that nonviolent resistance is not a method of cowardice. It does resist. It is not a method of stagnant passivity and deadening complacency. The nonviolent resister is just as opposed to the evil that he is standing against as the violent resister but he resists without violence. This method is nonaggressive physically but strongly aggressive spiritually.

The Role of Agape in the Ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Pursuit of Justice
Jerry Ogoegbunem Nwonye

The highly significant level of success enjoyed by King in his quest for justice was due in large part to the concreteness of his personal convictions and principles and his ability to bring those Christian principles into dialogue with American pragmatism. King did not just believe that racism and racial segregation were wrong, he pointed out why they were wrong in the Christian Scripture and the "official" documents of the founding fathers of America. In this way, King was much more than an activist for civil rights; indeed, he was also a missionary to secular America.

Beloved Community and Beyond
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Image of God
Richard W. Wills

In several of my recent conversations about Martin Luther King Jr., I have observed, more often than not, that the general perception of King has been significantly formed, fashioned, and even fixed by a single moment in time, his August 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech. As momentous as the March on Washington was, the reality is that many of the presumptions about who he was, what he thought, and what he hoped to achieve are often based on that single King caption, a mere sound bite selectively gleaned from an extremely complex system of thought, much of which was articulated and published prior to and beyond that historical moment. For many, "I Have a Dream" has come to represent the "essence of King," notwithstanding that this very narrow window, though symbolic in and of itself, is far from exhaustive. A full accounting of King's evolved dream is far more extensive and for some, perhaps, far more difficult to appreciate and affirm. While the speech fosters that congenial sense of human solidarity that is often associated with a vision of humanity joined by this common spirit of altruistic goodwill, King in fact never suggested a philosophy of "going along, to get along." Prior to concluding his address with the hopefulness of his dream realized, King provided a chronicle of the unsettling conditions that precipitated a painful past and persistent present. In contrasting the social reality of 1863 with that of 1963, King celebrated that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed but in the next breath went on to lament the fact that a hundred years later, the Negro still was not free. Thus while his dream envisioned a future date when racial, social, political, and economic issues would be reconciled and resolved, that vision was imagined against a contrasting current reality that was very much foreign to that noble vision. His concluding thoughts captured the essence of his hope for beloved community, and yet it was clearly a hope that emerged out the context of a less hopeful social reality.

Coretta Scott King said of the March on Washington, "It was as though heaven had come down." If it did, it descended only for a moment. Within weeks of that dreamlike historic gathering, a 10:22 A.M. bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing Denise McNair (age 11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14) shattered that tranquil vision of things hoped for. …What does beloved community look like in the wake of unbridled ruthlessness and unrestrained acts of irrationality? While that August 1963 image of beloved community undoubtedly represented authentic King thought, the escalation of violence forced him to reconsider and contend with the social perplexities that lingered well beyond that promising moment in American history.

Hence, even though the denial of beloved community never became an option for King, his thoughts regarding its approach and achievement certainly were nuanced. …For King, the issue was not one of whether or not such a community should materialize; the recurring thought was one of exploring how long it would take for that vision to become a growing national reality given the new levels of violence. How does a society of individuals created in the image of God choose to transition into a kinder, gentler social space?

reading about King's concept of agape made me think of controlled demolition. i used to live in Detroit and was probably in the Hudson's building as a teenager. luckily, found CDI's complex steps to demolish this building, which seems like a perfect illustration of the difficulties obtaining equality. it's "controlled demolition" because there are permits, scheduling, safety issues, engineering &c. it's a planned event, no one's surprised by it. "controlled demolition" because one structure is demolished to build, hopefully, a better one. "controlled demolition" because without it it's an act of terrorism. however, failure to reach agreement that the checkerboard building really is an eyesore & needs to go, may conflict with those who believe the building is under appreciated. i think that's what's most frustrating about losing King and Malcolm X, they would have continued to articulate these challenges (especially Malcolm X after his pilgrimage to Mecca). and change isn't easy. i grew up with one American flag looking one way & would probably miss the old one if a new star got added today. but, there was probably a moment in American history where the flag was changing constantly as new states were added. so change itself is a cyclical and generational dynamic. and all of this gets factored into any given change situation.

[7:52 AM 8/25/2011] :: didn't think anything more to add, but three leaders worth mentioning: Jack Layton, Ellen Eglin, and Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs because the true testimony of a leader is generating other leaders. Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple August 24, 2011 [+]. recently, Apple briefly bumped Exxon from #1 most valuable company spot, Apple worth more than all Euro Zone banks, and Samsung invoking Kubrik's 2001 (btw, 2010 currently showing on cable) [+][+][+][+].

Ellen Eglin because she knew her customer. instead of getting a patent for the wringer washer she invented, she sold it for $18, never making a cent. why? because if folks knew a black woman invented it, she thought, they might not use it [+][+][+].

first learned of Jack Layton's passing here, quoting from Jack Layton's last letter to Canadians (August 20, 2011): My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. but primarily because of this: To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. » Jack Layton: A chalk tribute in Toronto » Layton chalk memorial » Remembering Jack Layton at Nathan Phillips Square

it's great and wonderful when there's a leader. but i thought the American entrepreneurial spirit was about standing on the precipice of unseen opportunity while someone didn't throw you a parachute, but the tools needed to uncover "new markets". i guess one of the fundamental attributes of a leader is that no one else keeps you going but you. keep moving forward is part of your dna.

[7:528 AM 8/25/2011] :: just after posting above, Tim Cook's first Apple memo: Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA.

Tags: agape, apple, dna, ellen eglin, jack layton, mlk, nonviolence, steve jobs, tim cook

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