My grandma used to like to sing a song in church. She said, “I was sinking deep in sin. Far from a distant shore, very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the master of the sea heard my despairing cry, and from the waters lifted me, now safe am I.” And then they would sing, “Oh, love lifted me. Love lifted me. When nothing else would help, love lifted me.”
Love has the capacity to set us free. When the powers of this world would bind us and put us down.
Number one. The exaltation of selflessness. Dr. King said long ago that that our capacity for evil makes the non-violent way the only way because our power and capacity for evil makes it possible to destroy ourselves. A world predicated on selfishness is a world that will destroy itself. Just imagine for a moment a home and a family where everybody functions only on their own self-interest. You've got a mess. Now, extrapolate that out to workplaces. I mean, imagine a workplace where all anybody really cares about is, “what's in it for me?” Extrapolate it out to a society and extrapolate it out to a world, and you have a world where nobody will care about anybody else's suffering unless it affects them. You have a world that's a nightmare, a world that will self-destruct in time. That's what's at stake.
Number two. Climate change.
Number three. Apathy
Number four. Rats.
Number five. A root canal at the dentist.
Six. Phone call from the FBI or the IRS.
Seven. The movie The Birds coming true. Uh, let’s see.
Eight. My nephew... I mean, he's young. He's a fine young man and all that kind of stuff. But I do think about, what if he runs into the wrong police officer? Most police officers, let me tell you something, they’re good folk. They are. And they put their lives out there on the line. It's just one bad apple. That's all it is. But what if he runs into the wrong one at the wrong time at night and mouths off. I mean... but the irony is, my father had that conversation with me when I was a teenager. I'm sixty-five years old.
Nine. The reduction of truth. My fear is that truth is naked in our public square far too often. That what is just plain true and what is false are being so confused and so garbled. And anytime people can't tell truth from falsehood, you've got a society that's on the verge of being in trouble.
I'm a grandchild of the South, if you will. And for a long time we lived the lie that Jim Crow was good for everybody. That was a lie. And folk had to speak the truth. That's what the civil rights movement was about, to speak the truth that Jim Crow and the inequalities that were implicit in it are a fundamental lie. And when the whole nation began to realize that, that's when things began to change.
Ten. The rise of hatred and bigotry. There is an atmosphere in our country right now that is making room and space for the proliferation of various kinds of bigotries and animosities and stereotypical behavior and hatred. The FBI, their statistics, the Southern Poverty Law Center, their statistics, 2018, 2017, 2016, there is an increase of hate crimes. And this really does go back to the question of truth again. That hatred or bigotry in any of its forms when it's manifest needs to be exposed, and the truth needs to be spoken. Not in anger, but truth spoken in love. You don't eradicate evil by adding more evil. Don't ever diminish the impact that you can have on other people's lives even if it's just one person. Don't try to impact a million people. I can't conceive of -- I don't know what a million people looks like. I know what one looks like. I know what one child looks like. If I can help somebody along the way then my living will not be in vain. I can’t help everybody, but if I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not be in vain.
I'm Bishop Michael and these are 10 things that scare me.