POST BY BILL PALLADINO
Monday January 17th, 2011
We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough.
Yesterday our team of runners, musicians, journalists, filmmakers and support personnel reached a turning point in the Run Across Ethiopia event. It was as if the veil was lifted from the reality of the country they had been running through over the past week. On Sunday, one after the other, posts came in reflecting a very different perspective. The beauty of the the African continent and the aches and pains associated with running more than a marathon a day gave way to emotional pleas to help make sense of a world appearing more and more alien.
We knew going into this that our team would have a vast set of experiences while covering the 250+ miles from Addis Ababa to Yirgacheffe. It’s difficult to predict, however, the emotional impact on each individual. (If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to visit our blog’s home page here. http://onthegroundtc.org/ The blog posts over the past couple days are truly amazing.)
The main gist of the blogs is the common and repeating reference to poverty and the disparity the team members are feeling. Seth Bernard in his post even says, “we don’t have enough accurate information about Ethiopia in America.” Simply asked, is it that we don’t know enough? That notion is one of the very reasons we at On The Ground are here. We’re building schools, yes. But the bigger job we have is in educating the world about the things we are privileged enough to see.
In the United States today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Among his many great speeches he is most often praised on this day for his ground breaking “I Have A Dream” address. While I love quoting from that masterpiece, the events in Ethiopia being brought to life by our team draw my eyes to something he penned many years prior. It is also one that stands out as it was given in Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. King gave this speech 57 years ago in Detroit’s Second Baptist Church. This is an excerpt. To see the full text of this and all of Dr. King’s speeches please visit this website.
This particular text includes the congregation’s response in parenthesis.
February 28 1954
Rediscovering Lost Values
I’m not exactly a stranger in the city of Detroit, for I have been here several times before. And I remember back in about 1944 or 1945, somewhere back in there, that I came to Second Baptist Church for the first time—I think that was the year that the National Baptist Convention met here.
I want you to think with me this morning from the subject: rediscovering lost values.
Rediscovering lost values. There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to’mind.
We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough. But it can’t be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy, than we’ve ever known in any period of the world’s history. So it can’t be because we don’t know enough.
And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can’t be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amaz- ing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to warp distance and place time in chains, so that today it’s possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that. It can’t be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man’s scientific genius has been amazing. I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men.
[Congregation:](Lord help him)
The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’tso much that our scientificgenius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. (Well!) The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live, (Help him God) have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. (That’s right) So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. (Well)
The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make ofit a brotherhood. (Lord have mercy) And the great danger facing us today is not so much the atomic bomb that was created by physical science. Not so much that atomic bomb that you can put in an aeroplane and drop on the heads ofhundreds and thousands of people-as dangerous as that is. But the real danger confronting civiliza- tion today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, (Lord have mercy)capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most dam- aging selfishness. That’s the atomic bomb that we’ve got to fear today. (Lord help him) Problem is with the men. (Yes, Yes)Within the heart and the souls of men. (Lord)That is the real basis of our problem. (Well)
My friends, all I’m trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we’ve got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we’ve left behind. (Yes)That’s the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it. The only way we can do it is to go back, (Yes) and rediscover some mighty precious values that we’ve left behind.
To return to our website please click this link, www.runacrossethiopia.org