Cultural Stories are Important
One of the WorldPulse promises is to promote "Powerful Community," that we are not alone, that we are a movement that empowers women and creates a better world. That when we share our story, and our solutions, we are taking the first action to create the future we want. Our stories educate others.
With this as a foundation, it occurred to me that our cultural folklore is just as valuable because they are the stories that brought us this far. Each of us has stories which are powerful to us, and I think we could all benefit from sharing the most personally formative of them.
I am using the word "folklore" in a very general sense. It includes, for me, things like folk tales, fairy tales, children's stories, imparted wisdom, speeches, quotations, etc. Literally any verbal communication that is formative to us, our family, and our community.
What do you think?
Who out there wants to participate?
Shall we create a Story Tellers Group (or something like that)?
Here is an example that would be my first offering. It is the most personally influential text that I have ever read. It is an excerpt from a lesser known, untitled sermon by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. on 14 May 1963 at St. Paul’s Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA.
"When I talk about love, I am not talking about emotional love. I am not talking about the kind of love that you have in a romantic relationship, the word Eros which would be used in Greek. I am not talking even about friendship, the word Pelago, which is used in Greek. I am talking about Agape, understanding, creative good will for all men, an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “Love your enemies.” And I’m happy he didn’t say “Like your enemies.” It’s pretty difficult to like some people. Jesus said love them because love is greater than like. When one rises to Agape love, he loves every man, not because his ways appeal to him, but because God loves him. This is what we are trying to place at the center of our movement.
"So we can stand before our most violent oppressor, even those who bombed the home of my brother in Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday night and who tried to bomb the room where I was staying at the motel – we can say we will beat your physical force with Soul force. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will go on in our struggle to be free, and in the process you may not like it but we will still love you.
"Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out into some wayside road and beat us and leave us half-dead, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Dare to send your propaganda agents over the country. Make it appear that we are not fit morally, culturally, and otherwise for integration, and we will still love you. But be you assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer.
"One day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves. We will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process. And our victory will be a double victory. This is our message. This is the message of nonviolence. And I believe that this is the message that will transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
It is the path I intend to follow. How well I do it, how hard the challenges I will face, I do not know. All I know is that his words touch my soul, and I must follow them the best I can regardless of what comes my way.