Second Baptist Church held a Ministry Fair on the morning of Sunday, February 18. HateBusters was one of the 25 ministries available for folks to stop by, talk with, learn more and perhaps get involved. Several wanted to know what we HateBusters do and where we do it. This is what I wrote to all of those who gave me their email address that morning and what I now write to our church at large.
HateBusters in Greater Liberty
2017 by Ed Chasteen
Years ago when he was pastor of Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Dub Steincross would sometimes describe the one square block on which our church stands as “this little piece of God’s good earth”. I taught just a block from our church at William Jewell College and instantly in my mind expanded Dub’s description to fit both church and college, a two-block beacon in our town of Liberty. And so the size of “this little piece of God’s good earth” might have forever remained had it not been for that summer vacation I took 30 years ago.
From having been in church since my mother took me as an infant, I had acquired this abiding sense that since God is good, there must be at least a spark of goodness inside every person. So when I was 51, I set out to find that spark in the only way I could think of: by doing something fundamentally childish.
When I was 10, Mother bought me a used bicycle and taught me to ride. So when I was 51 and Jewell was out for the summer, I was given a bicycle built by a friend here in Liberty and flew with it to Orlando, Florida. Hosted by a Lutheran pastor and a Jewish rabbi on the weekend of my arrival, they came with me to Epcot Center on Monday morning to join the Disney crew in seeing me off.
For the next 104 days I pedaled northwest toward Seattle and then south to Anaheim, through 13 states, asking more than 500 people for the drink of water, the sandwich, the bed for the night: whatever at that moment I most needed. On the spot! Instantly! Each person had to decide what to do with me when I said, “Hello, my name is Ed Chasteen. I’m riding alone and without money from Disney World to Disneyland. By way of Seattle. To tell people about the Human Family Reunion. I need (water, sandwich, bed). Can you help me?”
Not a single one of these people had I ever met before. Not a single one ever said no. Each of us felt that spark of goodness in the other. Each of us lived an eternity in the moment of our meeting and sought in every way we could to prolong it.
Across the high plains desert on my longest days, I would ride 125 miles. So when I was at home back in Liberty, I drew a 125-mile circle around our town and dubbed this place Greater Liberty. So now in my mind “this little piece of God’s good earth” with our town of Liberty as its center goes north to Creston, Iowa and south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas and east to Columbia, Missouri, including 104 counties, parts of four states and some three million people.
Though a place, Greater Liberty is also a principle. Each of us has Greater Liberty than our friends grant us, Greater Liberty than we ourselves exercise, to rise above and beyond all limitations of gender, age, race, religion, nation, class, culture, creed. Within each of us lives a World Class Person, one who can go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe.
To live as a World Class Person and to help others move in this direction is the work of HateBusters. Taking seriously the axiom, “Think Globally act Locally” we HateBusters promise to respond quickly to any act of hate that targets anyone in Greater Liberty. Whatever the target of hate needs, we will provide: prayers, press conferences, love letters, lawyers, support of any kind. Free of charge.
We promise also so work to prevent hate in Greater Liberty by offering to teach our book, How To Like People Who Are not Like You: anytime, anywhere in Greater Liberty. Our book is available to anyone free of charge at www.hatebusters.com
HateBusters has no meetings and no dues. We give away membership cards to any who ask. We keep in touch by email. When work for us to do becomes known to me, I will immediately contact all HateBusters who have given me their email address.
Please respond to my message to you. Tell me something about yourself and how what I have to say appeals to you. Just email me at email@example.com