Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Spider

I believe in the power of stories.

To become an effective leader I thoroughly believe one must collect and morph him/herself after those fables which model truth. If someone wanted to get to know me without doing so directly I would, without hesitation, first direct them to my bookself. Some of my stories are encapsled in literature--John Stienbeck's recklessness, Ward Just's insight, and Dr. King's Justice--others are wrapped in my dreams, my heroes, my deceptions(art), my experience. Some were forged out of location and others were given by a wise old dog. I look back upon my life and I see stories. Some that are, some that will come to pass, and others that will never be. Perhaps here I agree with the post-modernist view that all reality is constructed, for I am living the story I want to become. Some may have reality and other not, yet it is ultimately the story--the fiction, the art--that grips us. And so if I may, I would like to step aside from all else and tell a story. It is not long nor will it win me a laureate. In fact, many of you have heard this story before and yet I continually come back to it. And so, I will tell it again.

A few years ago, as every year, I was up in the northern spine of Minnesota for a week of fishing. My family and I, along with cousins and stragglers, take the eight hour trip by car to Bass lake, north of Grand Rapids. Though called Bass lake, I have not once caught a bass there. However, this is not enough to deter me, and so that year, just as the last, I for one week became a morning person and woke up at the wreckless hour of 5 am. Climbing into a flimsy John boat I cross the glassy lake to the lily-pads on the other side, and with more faith than all the saints of old combined I cast my ambitions into the water and pray my precision will find a friend that day. Yet morning after morning my hopes lay unanswered. Thus seeking to prove my merit as a sportman I move on to others and hope that before the sun falls I can boast of 12 in order that I too may have illustrious tales of a fight while sitting around the fire.

And so one evening, as all evenings in the woods are, I took my gear from the boat to the cabin in order to fine tune my strategy for the next day. But I was stopped, I was stopped by the sight of a large grotesque eight-legged demon of a creature--a spider--the cause of my unrest as a child and the worst of all God's creature's, plus a pinch more for measure by its arrogance. There it was and I wanted nothing to do with it. The movement of its conniving legs filled me with fear and anger at its very existence shot at my heart. I wanted to kill it. It was a threat and I endowed with the greater sovereignty wished its demise. There, in that moment I stopped.

Alarmed by my emotions I was able to engage in Mans greatest tool and think critically of the moment. Why did I fear it? Why did I want to kill it? I asked myself. I wanted to kill it because it was foreign and unkown. So often what man doesn't understand we destroy. Yet there is another response though one that is more difficult. We can work towards understanding and take a disciplined look at life through a variety of lenses. We can if you will, learn a new dance.

Monday, November 07, 2005

In Honor


An observer from PBS recently speculated to what Rosa Parks is looking at in the above photograph. After several ideas he ended by saying that Ms Parks was looking at a white male, any white male: young, old, bigoted, progressive, poor, or affluent it need not matter. And as she looked at him, she thought of how her actions as the catalyst to the Civil Rights movement would ultimately free him to think rightly of African Americans. For that I say thank you Rosa Parks, your legacy will be honored.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Damn! I Do Have Sexy Legs

That's right! Amandla has been rock'n for one year kids. So what better way to celebrate then to go with a new look. Hopefully you all like it, the dark and dismal is gone. So tell me, What have you liked? What do I need to improve on? Again my philosophy for this blog is that it is first and foremost not mine, but collectively ours. I may be the administrator but ultimately I want Amandla to be a forum of all things politics, faith, art, environment and any of the other critical issues that affect our lives. All opinions are welcomed, and you are all free to create your own posts and I encourage you to do so. Also I have tried to make this a resource with some helpful links to help us all remain informed. If you know of any websites that would be useful, tell me and I will put them up, or of anyone that should join tell me their e-mail address and we will see if we can round them up. And finally, in case you are wondering what Amandla means its the Xhosa word meaning power of the people used particularly by Nelson Mandela to encourage the anti-apartheid movement. Cheers.