Thursday, December 28, 2006

Weekly Devotion: A Word About Gifts

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and
comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is

no variation or shadow of turning (Jas. 1:17).

Al and I have known one another since we were six years old—more than half a century now! Our oldest son turned forty three days before Christmas, and even our grandchildren aren’t babies anymore. Life has a way of zooming right along, doesn’t it?

One of the best things that comes from knowing someone for so long is that we instinctively know what sort of gift to buy—or not. My husband realizes I’m the practical sort and would much rather get a gift that I can put to good use (like a new toaster or blender to replace the one that just broke down) than one I can do nothing but polish and stare at—and pray I don’t lose!—like a diamond ring. This year he outdid himself: He didn’t just get me a good gift; he got me the perfect gift. It’s an ergonomic, wireless keyboard and mouse, which I’m using right now and loving every minute of it. It’s a gift that says, “I love you and know you well enough to realize this is the gift you want and need so you can continue to pursue your passion of writing with a lot more comfort and ease.” In fact, I hadn’t even hinted to him that I would like something like this, though it had crossed my mind a few times. I didn’t have to; he just knew.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wacky Wednesday

The following is an attempted recap of a five to ten minute exposition given to the youth at my church tonight:

Bro Ferd has asked me to expound a bit on the topic of wackiness and I haven’t had much time to prepare but I’m going to wing it and hope that I’ve enough Word in me that it leaves a bit extra to share with you.

Merriam Webster defines wacky as follows:

Main Entry: wacky
Variant(s): also whacky /'wa-kE/
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): wack•i•er; -est
Etymology: perhaps from English dialect whacky fool
: absurdly or amusingly eccentric or irrational : CRAZY
- wack•i•ly /'wa-k&-lE/ adverb
- wack•i•ness /'wa-kE-n&s/ noun

The word eccentric is defined as follows:

Pronunciation: ik-'sen-trik, ek-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin eccentricus, from Greek ekkentros, from ex out of + kentron center
1 a : deviating from an established or usual pattern or style b : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways
2 a : deviating from a circular path; especially : ELLIPTICAL 1 b : located elsewhere than at the geometrical center; also : having the axis or support so located
synonym see STRANGE
- ec•cen•tri•cal•ly /-tri-k(&-)lE/ adverb

The word peculiar is defined as follows:

Pronunciation: pi-'kyül-y&r
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English peculier, from Latin peculiaris of private property, special, from peculium private property, from pecu cattle; akin to Latin pecus cattle -- more at FEE
1 : characteristic of only one person, group, or thing : DISTINCTIVE
2 : different from the usual or normal: a : SPECIAL, PARTICULAR b : ODD, CURIOUS c : ECCENTRIC, QUEER
- pe•cu•liar•ly adverb

So we see that wacky is a bit off the beaten track. I daresay that some of you find adults to be crazy, eccentric, peculiar or downright wacky and I’ll bet that sometimes adults treat you the same way. It might be because, they don’t understand the hairdo, the tattoo, the dress code, the lingo (a/k/a slang) or the gizmos and gadgets which are second nature to you.

At times we find that the things God ask of us appear to be a bit wacky, or even if they’re not wacky to us … to our friends or unbelievers … we might appear a bit out of step … or whatever the current word is for “not fitting in” or “not fitting the mold”.

If there’s one thing, I want you to come away with tonight is the thought of what you answer to. When you’re among your homies or homettes and the greeting is “Hi ho” and the rest of the sentence is not … “it’s off to work we go” or it might be “hey *itch” or the not so cleverly disguised “bee-atch” and there are no female dogs around, or it maybe for the guys, the famous line from the movie “what’s up my n*gg*r!”

The word peculiar appears in the scripture and further to the above description it has an old fashioned meaning which means special, as referred to Israel and to you and I, who are the children of God.

So now, when you hear the term wacky, think eccentric, a little crazy and most of all peculiar, which means special and then think about yourself and what you answer to.

Does what you answer to make you feel special? Do you exercise your right to be treated with respect? Does it seem hard? Might it set you apart? That’s alright. Alright you ask? Yes … alright.

Because when you think of the alternative … answering to the name of a characteristic that is not you or does not describe you. Every time you do so or let it slide, while you eat away at yourself inside, you lose a bit of you … the part of you that is special. Before you know it… so much of you is lost that being called outside your name doesn’t even bother you anymore… and then … since that doesn’t bother you … you start searching out things, people or maybe even places that will substitute, fill in or replace the part of you that you’ve lost.

That’s how A students end up as alcoholics, addicts, prostitutes or maybe even dead. Because they’ve embraced a duality (living two lives … being one person at church and home and someone else at school).

No need to become the class nerd or whatever the word is today … however, you can keep it real and still be who you are by letting your people know that you know you are special (no … not yellow bus special) and as such you expect to be treated as such.

The Word says:

For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world, Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our]
blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. Tell [them all] these things. Urge (advise, encourage, warn) and rebuke with full authority. Let no one despise or disregard or think little of you [conduct yourself and your teaching so as to command respect]. ~Titus 2:11-15 (Amplified Version)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I've Got a Testimony!

This is where I share my reasons for writing and self-publishing my book and ebook and why I have three more in the works that I will also self-publish with no intent to search out and garner the baptism of the traditional publishing arena. If it happens, fine, if not--fine too. (I really mean that!)

I was asked recently in one of my Yahoo Groups for writers, "Why do you write?"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Book Scavenger Hunt!

Hi Folks,

Have I got a gift for you! A chance to test your Internet savvy and win some books as well.

Fellow author, Trista Russell of sponsors three separate scavenger hunts. Forty authors, forty books and three chances to win!

The only stipulation, you must join her mailing list in order to participate. So hurry up and join and happy hunting to ya!


Summer Book Scavenger Hunts

The scavenger hunts will be held on:

July 12th, August 16th, and September 13th

Participants will search the Internet to answer the 20 questions that will be listed below (websites will be provided with the questions) on July 12th and also sent via e-mail in the Ebony Authors newsletter. The first person to return to this webpage and enter all of the correct answers will receive 10 books. The second person will receive 3 books, and the third 2 books. All books are signed and will be mailed directly from the authors. Books titles and authors listed below.


#1 You must be on the mailing list to participate. If not,
click here to join!

Scavenger Hunts Book List

  • A Dream Come True, by Michael T. Owens

  • Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating, by D.S. White

  • Backroom Confessions, by Rose Jackson-Beavers

  • Blind Temptations, by Lesley Hal

  • Caught Up, by Deatri

  • Changing Faces, Changing places, by Sydney Molare

  • Daddy's Girl, by Linda D. Wattley

  • Devil In The Mist, by Diane Dorce

  • Diary of a Street Diva, by Ashley Jaquavis

  • Dirt Ball Bad, by Lesley Nowlin

  • Dirty Little Secrets, by Joy King

  • Every Woman Needs a Wife, by Lissa Woodson

  • Fatal Desire, by Jessica Tilles

  • Going Broke, by Trista Russell

  • How to Get Over Him and Learn From Your Mistakes, by Honilovee

  • If I Ruled the World, by Joylynn Jossel

  • KARMA, by Hashim Conner

  • Lawd Mo Drama, by Tina McKinney

  • Love Me Carefully, by A.C. Arthur

  • Love, Pleasure and Pain, by Corlis Martin

  • Make You Love Me, by Latonya Williams

  • Mistaken Identity, by Sylvia Hubbard

  • Mode One: Let The Women Know What You're REALLY Thinking, by Alan Roger Currie

  • My Invisible Husband, by Shelia Goss

  • My Woman His Wife, by Anna J

  • Peace In The Storm, by Elissa Gabrielle

  • Second Time Shame on Me, by Erica N. Martin

  • Sooner or Later, by Cheryl Talley Moss

  • The Art of Walking through Fires, by Beverly Welch

  • The Mayor's Wife Wore Sapphires, by Marti Tucker

  • The Party, by Saundra E. Harris

  • The Product, by Marcus A. Parker

  • The Rotation, by Jackie Young

  • The Roux in the Gumbo, by Kim Robinson

  • Two's Enough Three's A Crowd, by Brenda M. Hampton

  • When Death Comes a Knockin', by Vanessa Johnson

Monday, May 29, 2006

Writing Prompts

Wednesday, May 17, 2006:

As a budding wordsmith who switched gears midstream and a conditioned loner, writers groups and writing community efforts were unheard of and as such are still new to me. Since discovering the writing world, I’ve joined, left, phased out and been ejected from several writing groups. I’ll never forget my first group; I think it was called critical writers, or something like that. I submitted what I thought was a brilliant piece of literature—an edited phone conversation entitled "proper phone etiquette" I felt it was a perfect example of the "show don't tell" rule that I kept encountering everywhere I turned.

Well let me tell you, I found out several things after that submission:
  1. There was a rule about adult material (the conversation highlighted the phone sex epidemic I’d encountered while trying to transition from the “online meeting” to the phone then face-to-face routine of the online dating arena.
  2. The main character was implausible. (Ummm … since I was the main character with an alias and things did go down as I stated … did that then mean I was UNBELIEVABLE?)
  3. Some of the more sympathetic critters in the group took the time to explain to me that since I’d dropped them into the conversation midstream, they had no basis for aligning themselves with either character and as such, the great intent did nothing but annoy and/or ring untrue. Okay, now that I understood.
  4. End result—I departed from that group with my tail tucked between my legs, so to speak, and realized that this writing thing just might not be as easy as I thought it was going to be, but that was alright—struggle I understood quite well.

I joined other groups and terms like daily prompts or writing prompts popped up (which I thought were silly). Why write something if I’ve no purpose for writing it? I know, I know—what can I say, I was green behind the ears, or is that wet around the gills? LOL.

Okay, so we can all agree that writing prompts are necessary, we may not like them but as with anything, practice makes, if not perfect—good. Some do daily prompts some do weekly—whatever the case, they are done.


Yesterday as I was leaving work, I was already ensconced in the passenger seat of a co-worker’s car, the seatbelt already fastened, when I realized that I’d left my degreasing fluid. One voice in my head said, "Ah leave it, it’s been there for two weeks, what’s another day?"

Then the other voice in my head said, "You said you were taking it home today, just go get it."

I asked my co-worker if she’d mind waiting and at her acquiescence jogged back into the building. As I passed the HR waiting area, my eyes lit upon some leftover sandwiches from a training session that I’d been invited to pack up and take home.

I continued around the corner and down the hall to my desk. I grabbed said degreaser and returned the way I came. As I came to the waiting area, one voice in my head said, “Why not grab a few sandwiches for your mom?”

Then the other voice in my head said, "She won’t eat those sandwiches, she’s watching her cholesterol."

Then I said to myself, heck, I’ll take a few for me, those tuna fish sandwiches were the bomb!

Aware that my co-worker was still waiting, I quickly found a chinette saucer, grabbed three of the prettily cubed tooth picked sandwiches, wrapped them in cellophane and darted out of the building.


Seated midway point on the bus, my head was reeling with sleep, but aware that sitting in an empty bus with my head lolling to one side as I drooled or snored would not be cute. So I mentally pried my eyelids open and tried to appear alert. Then one voice in my head said, “You’ve your Bible with you; why not continue listening to the tape you began a week ago?"


"Then why not read The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People?"


Then the other voice said, "You’ve got sandwiches, why not eat one?"

"On the bus?"

"The driver likes you, he won’t care."

So with one eye on the driver and the other on the bag in my lap, I retrieved one of the sandwiches and began chewing.

Three quarters of the sandwich was gone when my peripheral vision caught a moving shadow outside my window. I turned my head fully to identify the shadow. It turned out to be a strapping black man. He wore a black shirt and black pants and appeared to be in his thirties. He was searching through the garbage bin right outside my window.

I knocked on the window to draw his attention, but he didn’t seem to hear me. To look at him, he didn’t appear to be the typical embodiment of a homeless person. There was no shopping cart full of belongings, no frayed sneakers with protruding toes—I wasn’t close enough to smell him so I knew not if the stench factor applied. He walked on past my window and out of sight. His being lost to my vision, served to galvanize me into action because I grabbed my purse, left my other bag on the bus and ran past the driver stating, "I’ll be right back" and bolted off the bus.

Upon racing off the bus, I stopped short—no jogging was necessary, he was right there; he’d just moved over a bit to phone booth and was in the middle of investigating a soda can under the phone when I timidly said to him, "Hello, are you hungry—I have some tuna fish sandwiches."

He looked at me and said, "Yes ma’am thanks."

I said, “You’re welcome” and wished to myself that I’d also had a bottle of water.

I didn’t know his story, or how he’d come to the point of searching through the garbage for a meal, but just from observing him—it appeared to have been awhile because he’d lost the furtive “is anyone looking at me” demeanor one would associate with someone searching through the garbage. His attitude wasn’t defeated—per se, just matter of fact.

I wished I could do more—and I did: I prayed for him silently as I walked away and realized had I not heeded the voice urging me to stop and pick up those sandwiches, I’d have been unprepared for the encounter and left with a coulda shoulda feeling.

As I practice improving my writing with writing prompts, so I practice improving my service by heeding God prompts.

Have you practiced heeding a God prompt lately?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Flowers For You On Mother's Day

I know it's three days late and all the festivities are over, but it would be entirely remiss of me not to wish those of you who are mothers (and those of you who are fathers who have had to assume that role) a Happy Mother's day.

So do take a whiff of the flowers and pat yourself on the back as you read my little ode.


may you bloom in and out of season
as you spread your sweet fragrance
to enhance the lives of your children.

may your love be as gentle as a lily,
as firm as its stalk
and as beautiful as its center.

may you be blessed today and always.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Believe the Jeffersons

said it best.

Well we're moving on up
Moving on Up
To the top
Moving on up
To a deluxe blog system
On my own hosting!

That's right... the move is complete. All the unpacking has not been completed, but visits are welcome at the new address.

We look forward to seeing and hearing from you!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


As I sat at my computer, making the most of the extra time afforded by the weather. In the background played the televised version of King: the story of Martin Luther King. It was being aired in honor of Mrs King's recent passing. I hadn't watched it in years, and as such I couldn't tell if the commentary by Coretta, and other characters in the movie, was a recent addition or had always been there.

An impressionable person, I normally avoid most history movies, because the aftereffects of hate and the sense of hopelessness with which I'm left, usually lasts awhile or triggers a bi-polar episode. But for some reason, today, I decided to let it play as I busied myself working on promotional items for my book and the two newsletters I’d created. One had been dormant for a year and the other had never moved past creation. (I always have had a problem with timing. Once I get an idea; I always think I must rush into action, proper planning or not.)

But, today, maybe it was the fact that, busy with my writing and promotional agenda, I'd missed news of Coretta's passing and as such hadn’t even mentioned it on my blogs.

As I watched I wept and prayed. In the midst of my tears I noted what my teenage self and I daresay mid-twenties self had not recognized was the real heart of the battle. Not white against black, not Jew against Gentile but the age-old battle of spirits… good against evil. In addition, as I have now learned from history (and maybe a viewing or two of the movie Barbershop), that Rosa Parks sat down because she was tired, yes--but she was also a carefully chosen participant of the movement.

I watched the scene where fire hoses and dogs were released on children and women, because most of the men folk were already jailed or dead. I wondered how had they convinced parents to allow their children to march? Or how could the parents accede? What could have been said to an eight-year-old to bring realization of the act of a march that was akin to suicide? Raised in an abusive household, I am a product of my conditioning and as such avoid violence like the plague.

I could not see myself marching or allowing my one and only beautiful child to march. I again cried and prayed as I thanked God that I had not had, that particular decision to make or that physical battle to fight; which by no means meant that I had not had battles to fight. My particular battles were a mentally ill abusive and incestuous father, bipolar dis-order, low self-esteem and the daily struggle to be all God would have me to be in the crazy world in which we live.

However, I have learned by experience that you can never judge a person's actions or know their motivation for said action if you've not walked in their shoes. But were I to guess, I'd say maybe they got to the point where they'd had enough and figured that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The indomitable strength of the spirit. You can enslave a body, but a mind is subject to the will of the one who houses it and what influences that body has been exposed.

With this viewing I was relieved of the spirit of hatred and acknowledged that everyone has a choice, no matter the situation, everyone has a choice and I thank God for the parents and children who courageously chose to march on my behalf.

As I watched the scene where MLK was told that four little girls were bombed in a church while there studying. Again I wondered, what were four little girls doing in a church building… alone? Where were their parents, or other adults? But before I could really sink my teeth into that thought, I was derailed by the vision of the horrible makeup job they'd done on Cecily Tyson, in order to make her dusky skin reflect the café au lait of Coretta Scott King or maybe she was victim to the fact that the makeup artist was probably Caucasian.

As I continued into the third hour of the movie, I was gratified that I'd committed to watch but couldn't resist typing up these thoughts and impressions in between commercials so that I wouldn't lose the gist of my realizations and convictions.

I realized that I personally have merited much from the blood, sweat and tears of the civil rights movement. I acknowledged that the struggle still exists for the brothers who have coined the phrase “DWB” driving while black or for secretaries in the office pool with degrees who work for or practically do the work of those without degrees and I could go on but I’m sure you get where I’m coming from.

Despite any of the above, I point to the culprit of struggles of all ethnicities--Satan, the destroyer. Even as I point that out I am convicted by my acknowledgment of the fact that maybe, just maybe I haven’t done enough to further the work begun by our forerunners. I ask myself the question: Have I taught my daughter, nieces and nephews, Sunday School kids about the rich heritage we’ve inherited? Have I been conscientious in the positions I have held at my places of work knowing that every bit of work I do, be it the job of a janitor or President and CEO of my own company, is unto God by and for whom everything was created?

Once I realized that truth, I was able to banish the hatred once and for all, not understanding the physics that enables it to do so, I trust this chair in which I sit to hold my weight. It is the same way that, not understanding His directions, or the things He allows I trust God to have my back. So what is in His will for me… will be mine, as long as I follow His directions.

Which brings me the major point of my conviction: The Voting Rights Bill.

Now I am not a political science major, heck I can barely tell you the difference between a democrat or a republican (but I hear, that even those who are well versed in the workings of politics can’t either). I have long stayed away from the knowledge or any mention of it. Maybe it was the thought that knowledge comes with a certain responsibility, that being making use of that knowledge by educating others and making right choices or maybe it just might be plumb confusing as heck for me.

Either way, I recall a random conversation with my brother-in-law about thirteen or fourteen years ago wherein he, a former political science major mentioned the fact that the voting rights bill, which enables African Americans to vote, would be coming up for extension soon, or we would revert to our original situation of non-voter status.

I remember changing the subject as quickly as possible because after all, that was like a decade away. Since then we’ve had Clinton, crowned as the "black people’s president" yet I note that nothing was done to rectify that situation during his reign. Now Bush has touted the re-signing of the bill. My question is: Why a re-signing, and not a new law eradicating the need for said Bill?
Now I want to get all up in your business now by asking, who voted in the last election? Before you get affronted, I will shamefacedly volunteer that I did not. It was a choice that I felt vindicated in making when Bush lost in the state of Pennsylvania and in New York, my former home state. I again felt vindicated when the “revote” resulted in Bush becoming our president and even went so far at to say to myself, the individual vote didn’t even count anyway, so what would have been the point?

But today as I watched the execution scene and Martin’s life was snuffed out, I equated it with the possible ending of the African American right to vote. A part of me says, "That’s crazy, that couldn't happen today!" But another part of me poses the question, "What are you doing to ensure that it can’t?" Furthermore, I ask, what are you going to do to ensure that it doesn’t?
Friday, February 10, 2006

Best New Author Award

Okay folks,

I sure could use your help on this one.

I'd like you to take a moment to nominate me, D.S. White, for the Best New Author Award at

"Nominate you?" you ask. "But I've not even read your book as yet… what's up with that?"

To that I say:--If you’ve read one of my posts and either been moved to tears, burst into laughter, thought, "how'd she know?" or said to yourself, “she ain’t neva lied!” --Then I'm talking to you.

I parlayed the same conversational tone and keep-it-real attitude of my blogs into my book, so please nominate, and then vote for me, D.S. White.

To do so, send an email to, with D.S. White, Best New Author Award in the subject line.

NOTE: You may only nominate me once, but when the voting begins, you may vote more than once.

Nominations must come from friends (that’s you), family, business associates and reading fans, (you again). The twenty (20) authors who receive the most nominations will be tallied and the list of 20 will be announced by March 10th, 2006. The nomination process is just the first half, so I'll keep you posted.

First Place Author Wins:
FREE accommodations for a 7-day cruise to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico with the CushCity Staff and Authors: Zane, Carl Weber, Mary Morrison and ReShonda Tate Billingsley, and comedians from the "Holla!" DVD series. And also a complete marketing/promotion package as Premier Author.

Now, just between you and me, I’m not real crazy about being on an oversized boat and traveling into international waters. The way I’ve been reading it lately, some folk don’t make it back alive…but I sure would like that marketing/promotion package as a Premier Author.

Also, I think that entering the contest is a good way to start some name recognition going on.

So if you’d like to help me accomplish the above, nominate me, D.S. White, for Best New Author Award!

Thanks in advance,
Saturday, February 04, 2006

Contest in the Hizzouse!

Alright people,

Since I've now joined the ranks of authorship, I have to do what authors do:

Promote and
Offer freebies!

That being said...

Here's to our first contest!

Starting as of 1 minute after this post is published until midnight of February 28th. A free copy of Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating is being offered up for random drawing!

Please send a blank email with "AIJAN Contest" in the subject line to to be entered in the contest.

Here's to the winner in you!
Thursday, January 19, 2006


Good Morning!

Since I've been asked this question repeatedly (and this is in no way a complaint!) let me clarify.

Although not officially released, the blook is available for sale. Just be aware that there's no ISBN and a few typos which I've caught, which will be corrected at the application of the ISBN in the next month.

Thanks soooo much for your encouragement and interest!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's a Wrap!

Hello Folks,

Just a brief note to share the great news that all deadlines have been met and project AIJAN for Lulu Blooker Award 2006 is a wrap!

Thanks to the gifts, time and talents of the Thomson sisters, Rachel who edited, Becky who did layout (and pulled an all-nighter to boot) and Deborah did the cover you see here.

I don't know when I've been on such a high. Oh wait... I know. The high of hearing my first song combats this a bit. But with this comes the realization of a dream twenty-four years in the making. (Paused to whisper, "Thank You God!")

Although the blook (book based on a blog) won't be officially released until June of this year, (once I purchase my own ISBN's and set up my publishing press) here is a sneak preview at my first contribution to the literary world.

Celebrate with me:

Hurray! I'm an author, I'm an author!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Message of Love from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Loving Your Enemies
November 17, 1957

I am forced to preach under something of a handicap this morning. In fact, I had the doctor before coming to church. And he said that it would be best for me to stay in the bed this morning. And I insisted that I would have to come to preach. So he allowed me to come out with one stipulation, and that is that I would not come in the pulpit until time to preach, and that after, that I would immediately go back home and get in the bed. So I’m going to try to follow his instructions from that point on.

I want to use as a subject from which to preach this morning a very familiar subject, and it is familiar to you because I have preached from this subject twice before to my knowing in this pulpit. I try to make it a, something of a custom or tradition to preach from this passage of Scripture at least once a year, adding new insights that I develop along the way out of new experiences as I give these messages. Although the content is, the basic content is the same, new insights and new experiences naturally make for new illustrations.

So I want to turn your attention to this subject: "Loving Your Enemies." It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master:

"Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that
ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven."

Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.

Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.

Now first let us deal with this question, which is the practical question: How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. And I’m sure that seems strange to you, that I start out telling you this morning that you love your enemies by beginning with a look at self. It seems to me that that is the first and foremost way to come to an adequate discovery to the how of this situation.

Now, I’m aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that. Some people aren’t going to like the way you walk; some people aren’t going to like the way you talk. Some people aren’t going to like you because you can do your job better than they can do theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because other people like you, and because you’re popular, and because you’re well-liked, they aren’t going to like you. Some people aren’t going to like you because your hair is a little shorter than theirs or your hair is a little longer than theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little brighter than theirs; and others aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little darker than theirs. So that some people aren’t going to like you. They’re going to dislike you, not because of something that you’ve done to them, but because of various jealous reactions and other reactions that are so prevalent in human nature.

But after looking at these things and admitting these things, we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we’ve done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we’ve done deep down in the past and we’ve forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.

This is true in our international struggle. We look at the struggle, the ideological struggle between communism on the one hand and democracy on the other, and we see the struggle between America and Russia. Now certainly, we can never give our allegiance to the Russian way of life, to the communistic way of life, because communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. When we look at the methods of communism, a philosophy where somehow the end justifies the means, we cannot accept that because we believe as Christians that the end is pre-existent in the means. But in spite of all of the weaknesses and evils inherent in communism, we must at the same time see the weaknesses and evils within democracy.

Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it. Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism? And all of these things must be taken under consideration as we look at Russia. We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa is at bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years. The success of communism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.

And this is what Jesus means when he said: "How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?" Or to put it in Moffatt’s translation: "How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?" And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.

A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.

I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do." There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, "There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue." There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do."

So somehow the "isness" of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls "the image of God," you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.

The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.

Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.

And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.

Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.

I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: "I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power." And I looked at him right quick and said: "Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway."

Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.

There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate [recording interrupted]

. . . that you want to be integrated with yourself, and the way to be integrated with yourself is be sure that you meet every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses. Psychologists and psychiatrists are telling us today that the more we hate, the more we develop guilt feelings and we begin to subconsciously repress or consciously suppress certain emotions, and they all stack up in our subconscious selves and make for tragic, neurotic responses. And may this not be the neuroses of many individuals as they confront life that that is an element of hate there. And modern psychology is calling on us now to love. But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: "Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody." It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because—to to love your friends—because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, "Love your enemies." Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, "You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States." He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: "Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?" Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: "Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job."

Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: "Now he belongs to the ages." And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.

That’s it. There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, "This isn’t the way."

And oh this morning, as I think of the fact that our world is in transition now. Our whole world is facing a revolution. Our nation is facing a revolution, our nation. One of the things that concerns me most is that in the midst of the revolution of the world and the midst of the revolution of this nation, that we will discover the meaning of Jesus’ words.

History unfortunately leaves some people oppressed and some people oppressors. And there are three ways that individuals who are oppressed can deal with their oppression. One of them is to rise up against their oppressors with physical violence and corroding hatred. But oh this isn’t the way. For the danger and the weakness of this method is its futility. Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.

Another way is to acquiesce and to give in, to resign yourself to the oppression. Some people do that. They discover the difficulties of the wilderness moving into the promised land, and they would rather go back to the despots of Egypt because it’s difficult to get in the promised land. And so they resign themselves to the fate of oppression; they somehow acquiesce to this thing. But that too isn’t the way because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

But there is another way. And that is to organize mass non-violent resistance based on the principle of love. It seems to me that this is the only way as our eyes look to the future. As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. Jesus discovered that.

Not only did Jesus discover it, even great military leaders discover that. One day as Napoleon came toward the end of his career and looked back across the years—the great Napoleon that at a very early age had all but conquered the world. He was not stopped until he became, till he moved out to the battle of Leipzig and then to Waterloo. But that same Napoleon one day stood back and looked across the years, and said: "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend? They depended upon force. But long ago Jesus started an empire that depended on love, and even to this day millions will die for him."

Yes, I can see Jesus walking around the hills and the valleys of Palestine. And I can see him looking out at the Roman Empire with all of her fascinating and intricate military machinery. But in the midst of that, I can hear him saying: "I will not use this method. Neither will I hate the Roman Empire." [Radio Announcer:] (WRMA, Montgomery, Alabama. Due to the fact of the delay this morning, we are going over with the sermon.) [several words inaudible] . . . and just start marching.

And I’m proud to stand here in Dexter this morning and say that that army is still marching. It grew up from a group of eleven or twelve men to more than seven hundred million today. Because of the power and influence of the personality of this Christ, he was able to split history into a.d. and b.c. Because of his power, he was able to shake the hinges from the gates of the Roman Empire. And all around the world this morning, we can hear the glad echo of heaven ring:

Jesus shall reign wherever sun,
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.

We can hear another chorus singing: "All hail the power of Jesus name!"
We can hear another chorus singing: "Hallelujah, hallelujah! He’s King of Kings and Lord of
Lords. Hallelujah, hallelujah!"
We can hear another choir singing:

In Christ there is no East or West.
In Him no North or South,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide world.

This is the only way.

And our civilization must discover that. Individuals must discover that as they deal with other individuals. There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history. Oh no, it is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity, and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power-drunk generation that love is the only way. It is an eternal reminder to a generation depending on nuclear and atomic energy, a generation depending on physical violence, that love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.

So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.
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