Sunday, August 24, 2014
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, has been on my mind. I'm a white, middle class, educated, clergy, American, etc. By my nature I have biases and prejudices, some of which I'm aware but most of which I'm not consciously aware. Nevertheless, I am sensitive about racial prejudices. It was early 1960's when Judy, myself and several friends drove out to Glorieta, New Mexico for Student Week. One of those friends was an Afro/American who was the Baptist Student Union President at Oklahoma City University. We had heard of a steak house in Amarillo, Texas. Since that was on our way, we decided to stop there and eat. We were met at the front door by a man who told us that our friend could not come in. The rest of us could come into the restaurant but he would need to eat behind the restaurant. None of us entered the restaurant. I can't recall our conversations as we left. I do remember that I was shocked, confused and angry. I had heard about racial prejudice but I had never personally observed it. That was the first time that I can remember. Since that experience and with years of education and spiritual direction/counseling, I recognize that I have my own prejudices with which the Lord and I need constantly to be working to heal. So, when I see in the news about Ferguson, hear some comments about President Obama, read about the situation in the middle east and so many other situations. I think about the reality of prejudice that lies within all of us.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Fifty-one (51) years ago today, Saturday, August 16th, Judy and I were married. The ceremony took place in the First Baptist Church of Eufaula, Oklahoma. It was officiated by Judy's Uncle. We "honeymooned" in Branson, Missouri. That was before Branson became an entertainment community. Back then it was a quaint, lovely and small fishing village nestled beside a beautiful river and lake. Our first apartment was over the garage of Mr. and Mrs. DeGraffenreed's. Mr. DeGraffenreed kept a small herd of goats fenced in behind the garage. His daughter worked at Oklahoma Baptist University so Judy would ride with her to the OBU each morning and afternoon. Judy was completing her Senior year at OBU with a major in Business Administration and Religious Education. I'd take our old Mercury to Norman, about 40 miles west, where I was working on my Master's Degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. A year later, we had both graduated. We loaded all of our "worldly goods" in our new 1964 Volkswagen "beetle" and headed to Louisville, Kentucky, and Southern Seminary. Kentucky was a new world because I had never been further east than western Missouri. I wanted to go to Southern Seminary because I was interested in Pastoral Counseling and studying with Dr. Wayne Oates. The first phone call in our Seminary Village apartment was from Dr. Oates and he wasn't calling for me. He called for Judy because he was seeking to hire a secretary as the Director of Graduate Studies at the Seminary. Judy's Pastor in Eufaula, Oklahoma, had called Dr. Oates and told him that we (more importantly Judy) were headed for the Seminary. Judy had a job as his Secretary before I even knew what he looked like. Funny how things sometimes work out. Tonight we are going to our favorite Lexington restaurant as we thank God for 51 years. My monk friend at the Abbey says that we qualify for the vow of stability.