Week of 2/26-3/2/2024: Douglass & Sojourner Truth; Shameless SCOTUS

February 26, 2024: The Holiness and Greatness of Frederick Douglass
February is Black History Month and today we celebrate the brilliance of Frederick Douglass. He has been called “the most influential black man in 19th-century America” who experienced “untold acts of brutality” as a slave. An exquisite orator and writer, he is said to have “mastered the master’s language.” He has been called a social reformer, abolitionist, writer, orator and statesman. Douglass published an abolitionist newspaper, supported the Underground Railroad, became the first African-American to receive a vote for President of the United States, journeyed to Ireland and England where he was bought out of slavery, and both counseled and criticized Abraham Lincoln, who welcomed him to the White House on three occasions. One particularly relevant teaching for today is this: The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.  

James Earl Jones reads Frederick Douglass’s historic speech from 1852, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” Video by Democracy Now! 

February 27, 2024: The Wisdom of Frederick Douglass, continued
Among Douglass’s many wisdom teachings is this: Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to suppress, rob and degrade them, neither person nor property will be safe. About politics, he offered the following: Power and those in control concede nothing…without a demand. They never have and never will. He exhorted us: Each and every one of us must keep demanding, must keep fighting, must keep thundering, must keep plowing, must keep on keeping this struggling, must speak out and speak up until justice is served because where there is no justice there is no peace.

February 28, 2024: Douglass: Learning, Education, & Two Versions of Christianity
Learning meant everything to Douglass who, as a child, found ways to learn to read and write even though it was forbidden to slaves. He tells us: Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty, it means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light by which men can only be made free. Douglass believed in a faith that led to action. I love the religion of Christianity…full of good fruits and without hypocrisy….I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. He distinguished between what he called “The Christianity of this land” and “the Christianity of Christ. The difference is so wide that to receive the one as good, pure and holy is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt and wicked. I hate the corrupt slaveholding, women whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.

Mural by Parris Stancell, Philadelphia, sponsored by the Freedom School Mural Arts Program. Left to right; Malcolm Shabazz (Malcolm X), Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass. Photo by Tony Fischer, on Flickr.

February 29, 2024: Sojourner Truth, Another Spiritual Hero and Activist
We cannot talk about great black leaders of Spirit in the 19th century without also talking about Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, both of whom knew and interacted with Frederick Douglass. Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) began her life as a slave and became a leader in the abolitionist movement and the women’s movement. She said, “I don’t read such small stuff as letters, I read men and nations.” She lived and lectured all over the Midwest and the Northeast, “speaking for the rights of colored women,” as she put it. A feminist long before it became popular, she tells us: I have done a great deal of work, as much as man, but did not get so much pay. I used to work in the field and bind grain, kept up with the cradler; but men doing no more, got twice as much pay….

March 1, 2024: Sojourner Truth, Sacred Activist, continued
Because of her visibility as an abolitionist, President Lincoln invited Sojourner Truth to the White House in October 1864. Long before Rosa Parks, she insisted on riding in streetcars that were for whites only, thus protesting segregation. One time she said (referring to a minister): That little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him. Another time she asked: Children, who made your skin white? Was it not God? Who made mine black? Was it not the same God? Am I to blame therefore, because my skin is black?….Does God love colored children as well as white children?  

Alayna Vernon recites “Ain’t I A Woman?” by Sojourner Truth, delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio. Marco Learning

March 2, 2024: The Supreme Shame of the Supreme Court
Today is the funeral for opposition leader in Russian, Alexei Navalny. But we interrupt our honoring of martyrs and social reformers to reflect on the decision of the Supreme Court yesterday to consider Trump’s argument for immunity. Shockingly, they won’t consider it until April 22, which would likely postpone his insurrection trial until after the November election. Doesn’t it seem like a good idea that voters learn before a presidential election whether or not one presidential candidate is a felon who incited a violent mob to overturn an election? Respected appellate judge Michael Luttig, well known for his conservatism, said, “There was no reason in this world for the Supreme Court to take this case.” Praising the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for their “masterful opinion denying the president’s claims of absolute immunity,” he insisted that SCOTUS could have decided this “very quickly” but instead granted Trump the delay he so desired.

Banner image: “I love my history” shirt seen at a George Floyd protests in Uptown Charlotte, 5/30/2020. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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1 thought on “Week of 2/26-3/2/2024: Douglass & Sojourner Truth; Shameless SCOTUS”

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    In the Spirit of Creation Spirituality Lineage of “… Mystic Explorers… Cosmic Thinkers, Earth Keepers,” I would like to recommend the following spiritual book: “The Dimensional Ecology of the Omniverse: How God and Souls in the Afterlife Create and Inhabit Intelligent Civilizations in Our Multiverse” (2014) by Alfred Lambremont Weber, J.D., M.Ed., Edited by Aidan Kelly, Ph.D.
    These are two reviews of this book:
    1) Webre’s book “Exopolitics” founded the science of relations among intelligent civilizations in the multiverse. “The Dimensional Ecology of the Omniverse” integrates empirical data from intelligent civilizations in the Interlfe, demonstrating a functional ecology of intelligence in the dimensions of the Omniverse. Webre, a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, is a former Fulbright Scholar.
    2) Webre’s compact and easy-to-read book is a brilliant compilation of solid scientific evidence for the existence of human souls that reincarnate and exist in parallel lives in many dimensions, frequently as extraterrestrials! This is a must-read for anyone who wants to fully engage with many dimensions to end absolutely any fear of abandonment, death, or the future.” — Barbara Hand Clow, co-author with Gerry Clow of “Alchemy of Nine Dimensions of Consciousness.”

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