Archive for January, 2016

January 21, 2016

An Open Letter

to

Antioch Community Church and Daughters of Antioch

January 21, 2016 from Ed Chasteen

Bless each and every one of you. Your generous gift from your Christmas Card project will help HateBusters keep helping all folks in Greater Liberty become good neighbors to one another. Our current and on-going plan is to visit all Islamic organizations in Greater Liberty. As people of faith, Christians and Muslims living together as neighbors have opportunity to show the wider world how that faith draws us all to live above and beyond the descriptions of us broadcast in sound bites on TV and headlines in newspapers.

I call this little piece of God’s good earth where we all live Greater Liberty for several reasons. First, HateBusters headquarters is in a town called Liberty. Second, on my bicycle ride across America some years back, I pedaled 125 miles on my longest days. So I drew a 125-mile circle around Liberty, going north to Creston, Iowa and south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas and east to Columbia, Missouri. This area includes parts of four states, 105 counties, and about three million people. Rather than focus on the big wide world, Greater Liberty is where we live and work.

Greater Liberty, though, is more than a place, not even primarily a place. Greater Liberty is primarily a principle. And the principle is this: We all have Greater Liberty than we ever practice to rise above and beyond all the boundaries others expect of us and we too easily assume. Boundaries of race, religion, nation, gender, class, politics. We are more than all the labels we apply to ourselves, the labels we think other people think we should live within.

We can aspire to be World Class Persons, able to go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. We may never get fully there, but to journey in that direction in company with like-minded people puts us in step with the legendary figures from our collective past whose lives and teachings draw us ever upward.

Antioch Community Church and Daughters of Antioch have for years given spiritual and financial support to HateBusters puny efforts to shape our little piece of this big world. As a symbolic gesture of gratitude, I would like to come at a near time of your choosing to your church to present two awards from HateBusters, one to Antioch Community Church and one to Daughters of Antioch. Please tell me when this awards ceremony might be appropriate.

Gratefully,

Ed Chasteen, HateBusters

Founder and President

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January 11, 2016

Makin’ Rounds

of Smal Town Cafes

©2016 by Ed Chasteen

Clumps of children stand on random street corners in our town this Monday, June morning. School buses will soon come to take them where minds are made and dreams are born. “Have a great day,” I yell as I pedal past.

Rounding a corner onto the street where Princess lives, I’m resigned to not seeing her. She finished sixth grade just a few days ago. She’s taking swimming and is just now across town in the pool. She calls me Papa and signs the art she creates, “Papa’s Princess.”

I pull to a stop across from her house where a young mother stands in her yard, awaiting the school bus with her two daughters. “

How’s your father-in-law?” I ask. We’ve been gone and just heard.”

He’s in Smithville now. His left side hasn’t come all the way back. Makes his balance hard.”

Can he have visitors?”

Yes, he can.”

Do we need to call? Or can we just go?”

I think you could just go. I don’t know when he has therapy.”

By a route I would never take in my car, I come about an hour later to Kearney and Sarah’s Table. “You comin’ in, Ed?” Betty calls out as I stand in the door. “You bet,” I say.

Have a seat,” Mel says as he motions to a chair at his table. He has just finished his usual bowl of oatmeal.

What’s J.D. doing this summer, Betty?” I ask.

Still keepin’ bees. Has seven new hives. Gonna take EMT training in August. Can’t get his license till he graduates. But having his EMT will give him a leg up on being a fireman.”

He’s a senior next year?” I ask. “Doesn’t seem possible.”

Betty smiles. Raises her hand near a foot over her head. “He’s a big boy now,” she says.

Have you met my daughter, Tracy? She works at Liberty Terrace and is going to National University out at Zona Rosa.”

You introduced us a couple of years ago,” I say. “Tell J.D. we need to go for another ride,” I say as I’m leaving.

Where you headed?” Mel asks.

Think I’ll head for Holt. Don’t go there much since Rosie’s closed. Anything downtown open anymore?”

Don’t know,” says Mel. “Ask Betty. She lives there.”

Mel has been talking to the couple at the adjoining table about places they like to eat. All three of them praise Granny’s, just off I-35 at the Holt exit.

Granny’s has the best biscuits in the world. Melt in your mouth. Fried biscuits. Ever had ‘em, Ed?” Mel asks

Sorry to say I haven’t. But now I will.” I say.

Betty names several new businesses in downtown Holt. Dolly’s Diner is the only one that sticks. “It’s where Rosie’s used to be,” she says.

By another round about route no car would ever take, I come a good while latter to Dolly’s

You open?” I call to the woman who stands in the doorway.

Till 2 o’clock,” she says. “My watch says 11:30. I think I can make it in by then,” I say.

The menu offers all the standards of small town cafes. But I have only one test for a first-time café. “Half order of biscuits and gravy,” I tell the waitress when she brings my ice tea. She’s back in a moment. It looks right. It’s hot. Creamy. Chunks of sausage. Tender biscuit. A+. I’ll be back.

As I sit to write these words, the rain that’s been threatening all morning finally comes, giving me time to try the pie. Can Dolly’s pass both my tests the same day?

Meringue! High and stiff, lightly brown, topping rich chocolate. That’s my dream pie. I find it now and then. Cream pies Dolly’s has. But we make our own,” my waitress says. I prefer my chocolate pie recently from the oven and with a flakey crust. Dolly’s is cold, crust firm. Not tough. And not bad:B. Next time I’ll try the pecan.

Inside the door of Dolly’s one unisex restroom this bit of poetic advice:

Don’t sit in here just contemplatin’

Us folks outside git tired of watin’

I hardly ever return by the same way I came, thinking I need to see what’s down other roads. Today, though, I do retrace my route. Sarah herself is at her table, with Carl, her husband. He’s the meat cutter at the grocery store across the street. “I heard you were off today,” I say to Carl.

How’d you know?” He asks.

I was here for breakfast. Betty told me.”

As I near home a shiny black pickup comes from a side street and stops to let me pass. As I ride by, the driver yells, “Hi, Ed.”

I’m a doctor. Not a M.D. A PhD. I don’t doctor the body. What happens between us! That’s my field. Inter-group Relations they called it in grad school. Race Relations my specialty. Relations between religions a recent addition.

Three rounds I make. A daily one around our town. Seeing and being seen. Over years becoming part of our town’s ambiance.

Then several times a week, I ride to towns an hour or so away to visit my satellite clinics that appear to most folks only as eating places.

Then occasionally to the outer limits of Greater Liberty I need to ride. When in the paper or on TV I learn that hate has come among us, I find a way to be invited to come and help.

The town called Liberty has long been my home. But even longer I have done what I can to set folks at liberty from those limitations that restrict where we can go, to whom we can talk and what subjects we can discuss. Greater Liberty I call my practice.

The purpose of my practice as a doctor of relationships is to lead us all to become World Class Persons, able to go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. A less ambitious objective could more likely be achieved. But I’d rather fail at something grand and noble than succeed at a lesser goal.

Riding a bicycle is my way of getting there. Join me sometime.

January 8, 2016

Ambassador from Second Baptist Church

to Other Communities of Faith

and

HateBusters

Teaching People How To Like People

Box 442 Liberty, MO 64069                                 816-803-8371 hatebuster@aol.com

www.greaterliberty.org                                                         www.hatebusters.com

https://hatebusters.wordpress.com

As Ambassador from Second Baptist Church to Other Communities of Faith and as Founder of HateBusters, first at William Jewell College and now a 501C-3 non-profit, I want to visit and offer friendship to every Islamic organization and community within 125 miles of Liberty, the town where I live and both my church and my college reside. Greater Liberty I call this place. All who live here are my neighbors. And more than a place, Greater Liberty is a principle: We can live above and beyond the limitations of race, religion and nation.

Red and Yellow, Black, Brown and White

Christian, Buddhist and Jew

Hindu, Baha’i and Muslim, too

All are precious in our sight

By email and phone, I will contact Greater Liberty Islamic organizations and ask if I can bring a small group, perhaps only one or two, no more than 12, to visit for just 90 minutes. We hope when we come to sit in a circle and talk to each other, each person in turn telling where they grew up, what their parents did, how many brothers and sisters they have, where they went to school, if they are married or single, if they have children, what their hopes and dreams are.

I will bring a notepad and ask both those who come with me and those we visit to write their names and email addresses. When I am back at home I will prepare a list of all names and emails. I will email these names and addresses to everyone. We all then will be able to contact one another. We might follow up on something from our first meeting. I will follow this same pattern when I take folks on every visit. Dozens I hope. Each person who goes with me and every person we visit will get an updated list of names and email addresses after every visit, meanng that hundreds of us will now be able to be in touch.

Both those I bring and those we visit are motivated by their faith to live in this world by certain teachings and practices. But we are not prepared at our first meeting to discuss our faith. We first need to know one another as persons. When we know one another as persons, we are better prepared to know each other as Christians and Muslims.

I will begin all my visits from the parking lot at Second Baptist Church. None will be planned very far ahead. As soon as an invitation comes, I will drive there in my red PT Cruiser HateBuster Mobile, license # H8BSTR. A day or two before I go, I will send by email an invitation to join me. I can carry three others in my HateBuster Mobile. As many as eight others may come in your personal cars.

So that we of different faiths might live pleasantly, peacefully and productively together on this little piece of God’s good earth we know as Greater Liberty.

Ed Chasteen