Saturday, September 14, 2013

Me's & We's

Hello Friends.

Something happened yesterday at St. Anne's Homeless Shelter that had to do with cooking, serving food, and whether that would happen or not on that day.  That got my MOM to thinking about Me's and We's.  When she got home she talked about the situation with me and here is how we see things.  Of course I will pepper this message with some random photos.
The gospel is not a tablet of ink, but a table of food, around which everyone is invited to sit down together and eat, drink and dream, for tomorrow we act.

A few weeks ago we marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.  The power of that proclamation, the timely words of one man spoken at the one right moment provided the “tipping point” for the civil rights movement and for decades of legal and social changes to come.  The power of one man, at one moment, the potency of that one speech, was a beacon of change and hope for the nation and the entire world.
But did you know it almost didn’t happen.  King was determined to keep his remarks brief that day.  At the end of nine minutes King was done with his script and the crowd was still waiting for . . . something.
Then from behind him came a stage-whispering voice.  It was the magnificent, soul-stirring voice of the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.   Like a kid tugging on a parent’s coattails, Jackson leaned forward and urged Dr. King to “go on,” to keep talking.  “Tell them about your dream, Martin,” her voice insisted.  “Tell them about your dream.”
So King did.  He went off-script and climbed into history as he spoke from his heart and soul.  King’s “dream” became the dream and desire of generations to come.   Jackson's one voice told Martin to “change his plan.”  Martin’s one voice then told the people to “change the world.”  One speech changed the world. One person changed the world
By the mid-twentieth century the tide of individualism had surged to a tsunami — so much so that it submerged much of the force and focus of community.  The “me” overwhelmed the “we.”  The needs and wants of the individual outweighed any communal demands or designs.  And we went from individualism to rugged individualism to narcissism and from narcissism to the step beyond narcissism: solipsism (think Charlie Sheen).
Ironically the technological advances of the last few years that have made it possible for any one person with “google-ability” to give their “one voice,” their stand-alone status more of a reality than ever before, it has also re-opened the door to community.  The “Me” is now rediscovering the “We.”  And the power of One to do good or evil has never been greater.
Of course now we call “WE” by something different:  “Social Networking.”  Think about it.  Still highly individualized, every new device, every new app, or every new download all have a communal connection.  E-mails, tweets, blogs, texts, skyping, they all keep us more closely in community with people we know well and with people we don’t know at all.
How the “We” and “Me” come together in the Scriptures is that people are different, they have different gifts and different functions, but all are exercised to build up the body of Christ. The community of faith does not lessen the person to the community nor the community to the individual.
If we are always together or always apart, there is no music.  It's the moving in and out of separateness and togetherness that makes the music.
I began with the ME/WE story of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Let me end with another ME/WE story to the biggest one-time gift in the history of US philanthropy: the 1.7 billion dollar gift of Joan Kroc, the wife of the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, to the Salvation Army.
When Joan was a small child, her father abandoned the family and left her mother to figure out how to feed the family.  In Joan’s memory, these were difficult, dark days. But she remembers one beacon of light in the midst of those difficult times.  Every Friday night an officer from the downtown Salvation Army would visit their inner-city home, carrying in his arms two bags of groceries.  Sometimes he would come in and play with the kids, giving them a father figure to relate to as well.  Without that one Salvation Army officer showing up with those groceries, she doesn’t know how they would have made it each week.
So when it came to decide how best to invest the billions left her by her husband, she remembered that Salvation Army officer and his faithfulness to a needy family.  And before she died she handed a billion dollar check to Salvation Army General Linda Bond. Today we are seeing in the poorest parts of towns beautiful “Kroc Centers” going up to bring health and happiness to needy kids because of one person who was faithful to his mission.
By the way, when that Salvation Army officer died, he had no idea what he had done. When that Salvation Army officer died, he thought he had just had an ordinary ministry and been an ordinary officer.  He didn’t think he had done anything special.
Sometimes the greatest blessings of your life you will never know about.  Sometimes the greatest impact of your life will not be revealed in your lifetime.  Sometimes your faithfulness will bear fruit long after you and I are gone.
It’s not about recognition and reward.  It’s only about serving Jesus as an individual ME in the context of a communal WE.


  1. Lots to ponder here Goose. Thanks for sharing. I needed this more than you will know!

  2. Mom Kim here and I agree with CreekHiker - so much to ponder and like I said in my comment the other day, I needed it. I tend to focus too much sometimes on the ME only and fail to recognize that there is the ME in the WE context. You are a deep thinker Goose and it leads others to have deep thoughts.

  3. You gave us lots to think about, Goose.

    Hope you have a blessed Sunday. XOXO

  4. Beautiful images to support your wise words, Goose.

  5. beautiful post goose. thank you so much.
    wags, bailey unleashed

  6. thanks for my morning wake up sermon, and it is a great one, I agree with every word... your photos are really awesome today, God creation fits right in with your words. the WE in some of the photos are so beautiful and that fish is totally awesome.. love the glowing mountain top.. I went to church and it was outside in nature.. beautiful post

  7. We agree beautiful words and pictures Goose. Thank you. Have a serene Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. Golden LOVE it. Great way to start our Sunday morning. Lots of Golden Thanks. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  9. Goose, you gave us SO MUCH to think about! So many lessons packed into one lesson! We agree whole-heartedly = you just might not realize the big impact you make on someone. You give us a renewed ambition to do our very best today and every day - and to help spread kindness and beauty! Thank you, Goose!
    PS: I LOVE the photos! Especially the ones of you and Belle!

  10. Goose and Mom...thank you for this beautiful message and of course the your camera benefactor blog and pictures are a necessity for you to share your love of God and nature!
    MAdi and mom

  11. Goose, that was one lovely post with so many really good thoughts. The pictures were just wonderful too. You sure made our day and thanks so much. Take care.

  12. Hari OM
    Oh Goose, this is so on-subject of things going at my end this week - not a word out of place here. Sigh.

    ...and gee these photos are uplifiting - I adore the one of the fish close up. Stunning work! Also the one of the rainbow and the one of Belle squirelling watching and the one of your good self by the big stick..... Oh heck. I love them all...

    Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  13. Such a wonderful, and beautiful post today! Makes us stop and think about all the changes we've seen in a lifetime. Most very good, and some not so good.

    I think we all have a dream right now.....a dream of peace in the world for the generations to follow us.

  14. A beautiful post Goose and Mom! You always make us "stop and listen." We WISH the rest of the world could read this today.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  15. Very astute, Goose and Mom. And what a wonderful message. Your photos were awesome also!!

  16. We enjoyed reafing this so much - thank you for sharing

  17. Thank you Goose, beautiful words and pictures too
    Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  18. Sometimes we never even realize we planted a seed that is someone elses oak tree!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  19. You make me think... hard. Thank you. A beautiful message and wonderful photos.

    I want to write more... but it would be more than you probably want to know. Thanks for a great post.

  20. Those are some inspiring words Goose
    Benny & Lily

  21. Exactly!! Thats why we have to be so careful what we do, cuz it all affects somebody later on that we will never know about. Lots to think about here Goose!!


  22. Such beautiful pictures with such a wonderful message. Thanks for letting me and My Vickie come to church tonight and hear another great message. Your mom is a great teacher.

  23. Goose once again your photographs are beautiful but even more, your words today are wise and give so much to think about...Thank you!

    PS Can't wait to read about your geocaching adventures!

  24. That was beautiful Goose and Mommy.

    Loveys Sasha

  25. I sit in front of the computer screen with tears brimming in the corners of my eyes. This was beautiful - a post I will bookmark and revisit often. I would love to read it in a book somewhere...perhaps one of Goose's Gospel's one day. I am so appreciative of the way you bring people together and invite them to feel God's love. It is BEAUTIFUL.

  26. So beautiful. Thank you for another very uplifting post and bringing so many together.

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