Monday, June 13, 2016

Responding to Terror with Love on the Sleeve / #Orlando #thisAmericanQuilt @potus #socialresponsibility #faith

An individual can enter a room and change the atmosphere with their presence. You can enter a discussion and shift its direction.

A person can amplify thoughts and feelings and facilitate positive disruption on a global scale.

Without taking credit, without seeking fame, without looking for glory,
a man, woman or child can be a catalyst to change the thread humanity.

Without claiming ownership, a holocracy of love and hope can turn us all on fire for each other. 

How can we effect a change we can believe in?

What actions are consistently required to positively disrupt humanity on a local, national and global scale?

How is it possible in this day and age for individuals to become empowered to lead where the leadership is needed?


About a month ago, the exhausted 'tensionators' in my car's engine ripped one of the belts for the second time making the steering wheel freeze up, the radio die away, and the gas and brake pedals to stop responding as I was driving. I was meters away from taking the ramp  off Houston Street and onto the FDR highway that straddles Manhattan in New York City. Fortunately, I was able to maneuver the car onto the curb as other cars dodged a collision with my car which stopped responding and was just coasting forward.

It was midnight and I live forty miles from the city. Parking it next to a fire hydrant, I abandoned the vehicle next to a housing project and skateboarded away to hail a taxi to Grand Central Station. Somehow I went deep into the housing project. My phone service was not working well either complicating matters. Lo and behold though, a yellow cab dropped off some party goers at the corner I was on as I was trying to work my phone and I hopped in with my longboard. The next day I took the train back from Connecticut and made the arrangements for the car to get towed to a repair shop. 

It was Rocky, a Muslim man who came to help me, a Christian man. He was a able to jump start the car for me on the spot giving us time to land the vehicle onto his flatbed tow truck. I took the passenger seat as he drove us into Brooklyn to a trusted mechanic who was Muslim also. Initially, I was going to have him take me to the dealership mechanic, but he told me I could save a few hundred dollars with one he trusted and my car would be worked on immediately, rather than have to wait for other cars to be serviced. I agreed and we were on our way over the Williamsburg Bridge and into what I like to call the 'jungle.' 

I am just a man. I make mistakes. But I am a Christian. I read the Holy Bible (KJV) and though I have not memorized it, I have read it and re-read it for two decades being very well-acquainted with it. To me, it is the very Word of God. In it, I read that the Lord tells us to love Him with all our hearts, all our minds and body and secondly, to love all others as we love ourselves, no exceptions. 

To love others... 

I interviewed Rocky in the cabin of his tow truck on our way to the Brooklyn repair shop. He appeared to me as a devout man of faith and he instructed me as I listened intently during the interview. I learned new things I did not know and he gave me a present at the end. 

"Rocky, you are Muslim. In my bible God sais he is love. In the Psalms, one of the names God uses to identify himself is Allah. Allah is love. He is lovingkindness. Is that not the truth?
 Why does a militant organization like ISIS put a claim on God, who is amongst other attributes, love itself and use guns to kill in His name?

Rocky told me that ISIS is a terror organization who is interested in power over others and that they actually have nothing to do with following the principles found in his bible, The Quran. He then expanded to me and told me that the bible I read was the Word of God and that Muslims recognize all the books found therein, including the gospels of Jesus as holy. I was astounded. I knew that Islam recognized Jesus as a prophet, but to hear this man call my bible the Word of God was eye-opening for me. Suddenly, I felt that he and I were not so far apart. The present he gave me...a copy of The Quran, was received by me. I can read a book. I can read the book which a large portion of humanity considers important. I can read this book and understand my brother better. I am a Christian man. Yes, I am. I am my brothers keeper. It is not for me to just watch out over those who read the Christian bible only, but to be a servant to humanity, without regard to religion, race or belief. God orders us to be loving and places wisdom and understanding at our feet when we practice this.

Rocky and I did not see eye to eye on everything, and that is okay. I believe that Jesus is the living Christ and son of God. I believe it when I read that the 'Father and the Son are one," as it says in John 10:30. The prophet Muhammad was undoubtedly a man filled with great wisdom and understanding and a full heart that seeked the Lord. It is not necessary to fight claims on what God is when knowing that He is love can be enough to bring a man like Rocky and I together as brothers.

The attacks in Paris, Brussels and Orlando need to be met by being bold and smart with law enforcement and with our determination to consistently respond to hate with love. Is it the way forward to isolate and cower ourselves or to reach out to one another, especially across race and religion to make more positive ties that bind us to each other, irrespective of race, religion or creed?

I have already begun to read my brothers book. 

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