Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

March 5, 2019

 

WJC Fall 1967 Population Students

Volunteering to fast for 3 days

 

 

Bob Mandt

Karen Bendure

Albert Byrd

Beth Unger

Rosemary Clark

John Welliver

Joyce Noll

Linda Boswell

Jeannette Chrane

Keith Wills

Kathy Holt

Pam Dodd

Irvin Tramp

Duane Cline

 

 

Fifty-two years have passed since these 14 students in my Population class at William Jewell College volunteered to join me for a three day fast. Al Byrd lives in Liberty. We have regular contact. In 1967 this class was taught in the fall semester, which extended past the time of the Christmas break and into-January.

Duane Cline did not return to school after the break. I have had no contact with him since that time, but have wondered ever since if what we were learning in the population class played any part in his decision not to return.

I have had no contact in years with any of the other 12. I think of you often. I wonder if you remember this class? Do you remember the fast? If so, what do you remember? Has it come up in conversations? With whom? How often? With what purpose? How has this fast affected your life since?

I had been teaching at WJC for three years when I announced to my population class that I would go on a three-day fast so I could get some better insight into world hunger. I invited students to join me and explained that grades in the class would not be affected if they chose not to participate.

I taught at WJC for 30 years and have been retired for 24.I am now Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Anthropology with an office on campus and a plan to take Jewell students into every high school in Greater Liberty to show them how, why and when to oppose organized hate and how to like people who are not like them.

I’m hoping to hear from these fasting students from long ago some encouraging words that might keep me focused on this task at hand and inspire me that what I do has staying power.

Advertisements

February 28, 2019

The World That Could Be

2-28-19 by Ed Chasteen

www.hatebusters.com            hatebuster@aol.com

 

His friends caution him: “Wickedness wears thick armor.” He responds: “And for that you would have me surrender? Nay, the enchanter may confuse the outcome ten thousand times. Still must a man arise and again do battle, for the effort is sublime.”

This same man mistakes a serving wench for a fine lady and each time they meet, calls her by the name he alone invariably calls her by. She protests. When she hears he’s dying, she goes, finds him delirious and pleads to have him call her name. He cannot. She now sees herself as he has seen her all along and identifies herself to him by the name he has chosen for her.

Another man is released after eighteen years in prison and required to wear the emblem of a felon. He cannot find a job and steals from a priest. He is caught and taken to the priest. For a reason this man never learns, the priest tells the policeman he gave the stolen goods to the man and meant to give him more, which he now does. Rather than returning to prison, this man is free. And rich!

Years later this man owns a business and is mayor of his town, still subject to arrest for not wearing the emblem. Then he learns that a man they think is him has been arrested. They will no longer be looking for him. BUT! He remembers the priest, and he cannot let an innocent man suffer for him.

This man goes to court and identifies himself. In the resulting bedlam, he escapes. Now he is again a felon and a fugitive. Later, he discovers the policeman, who has been after him since prison, working undercover to thwart the interests of the students, vanguard of the coming revolution. This former felon is given permission by the students to dispose of the policeman as he chooses. Again, he remembers the priest who gave him back his life. When he lets the policeman go free, the policeman can no longer believe this man is as evil as he thought. He can no longer pursue this man who is no longer his adversary.

Man of LaMancha and Les Miserables tell the stories of Don Quixote and Jean Val jean, two plays I see each time one comes near. They inspire and inform my puny efforts to affirm and advance the world they see, the world that could be, a world too fleeting, as a line from another play makes clear: “Let it never be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, known as Camelot.” This bittersweet story of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Queen Guinevere, Mordred and the Knights of the Round Table brings me to tears with its all-too-human failure to achieve what it too late sees as The Impossible Dream.

Wickedness comes in many guises and does indeed wear thick armor. And for that you would have me surrender? Not on your life.

“Sancho, my sword.”

February 21, 2019

My Letter to Geneva

2-20-19

From Ed Chasteen

 

As a life-long teacher, I try to be available to talk about any topic a student brings to me. I got the following email request yesterday. I do not know Geneva. Her letter to me comes straight to the point and is intended to advance a cause I champion. Because I do, I am making my reply to Geneva an open letter, hoping that what I have to say might be useful to a wide audience.

Geneva’s Letter

 

Good Morning Ed,

My name is Geneva Blackmer and I was an intern for Vern Barnet, CRES, and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, during my undergraduate studies. As his intern, we began an archival project which would document the history of interfaith in the greater Kansas City area. I have decided to continue this effort for my Master’s thesis project.

I was wondering if you’d be able to answer some questions regarding HateBusters?

Ultimately, the aim of the project is to provide a chronology of all the significant interfaith organizations/events which have emerged in the greater Kansas City area since the early 1900’s.

I am interested in finding out:

  1. When was the organization formed?
  2. What was/is the mission of the organization?
  3. Who were/are the key members/organizers?
  4. How was/is the organization structured?
  5. Does the organization still exist? If yes, how has it changed? If no, why did it dismantle?

Any insight you could provide would be most helpful.

My Reply

1          HateBusters was formed in 1988 by my Race and Ethnic Relations class at William Jewell College. Louisiana had just elected a member of the KKK to their State Legislature. The governor asked us to come help the state redeem itself. We went. Word got out. We began to be invited all over the country by mayors, governors, ministers, rabbis, imams, public schools, prisons, police, civic clubs, universities. We got too busy. I gave up full time teaching to make HateBusters Inc. a 501 C-3 non-profit. We narrowed our focus to this place we call Greater Liberty.

William Jewell College stands on a hill on the eastern side of Liberty, Missouri. So we drew a 125-mile circle around our town and call this place Greater Liberty, but it’s also a principle, the greater liberty we all have to live above and beyond all the labels other folks apply to us and we uncritically assume: race, religion, gender, nation, language, class and others.

  1. HateBusters has twin missions: to respond to hate and to prevent hate. We contact any victim of hate targeted because of a label and ask their need. We provide that need. Free of charge. We respond quickly and publicly, lest the hater think we agree or are afraid. Neither is true. Either makes them harder to beat.

To prevent hate, we wrote a book, How to Like People Who Are not Like You, called by a reviewer, “profoundly simple and simply profound, a formula for building human beings.” We teach our book in schools, religious and community settings. Anywhere. Everywhere. Free of charge. We give online copies to anyone who goes to www.hatebusters.com , clicks on Books and downloads How to Like People Who Are not Like You

  1. Key members/organizers: We are all volunteers. No one is paid. We do this because it needs to be done. We give away membership cards. We have no dues and no meetings. No one is born hating. We are all natural born hatebusters. Anyone who doesn’t want to be one of us may ask to be taken off the list, otherwise you’re one of us.

I go to my basement office every day to keep us going.

  1. We have almost no structure. We keep no records. We have no membership rolls. We never have much money. By choice. But we never say no to any request for help. We send out word and the needed help comes. Having little money means that we always have to explain ourselves. We like that.
  2. Since that morning in 1988 I walked into my class with The Kansas City Star, its big bold headline KLANSMAN WINS ELECTION IN LOUISIANA splashed across the top of the front page, HateBusters has been on our minds and in our hearts.

I had always told my class that it is never enough just to know about a problem. We must act with what we know. We know racism and bigotry are real. As a college founded by a church, anyone whose need we know is therefore our neighbor. Since going first to Louisiana and then being invited all across the country, we have narrowed our focus, more in keeping with our small size and our regional appeal. North to Creston, Iowa and south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas and east to Columbia, Missouri.

This is Greater Liberty. No place more than 125-miles away, an easy drive, doable on a bicycle; 105 counties in parts of four states, home to some three and a half-million folks from all over the world who now are neighbors here on this little piece of God’s good earth.

This is our home. To meet every person we can and expect to like every person we meet and to help others do the same: This is our goal.

Geneva, you ask for any insight I might have and say it would be useful. This is my insight: Being called naive is a compliment. You might want to read

 

THIS IS NOT THE REAL WORLD

© 1996 by Ed Chasteen

 

“I like what you said. I agree. But can you give us some practical advice, something real and not so idealistic?”

Ideals aren’t real: This is a notion so much a part of our world view today. Except on stage in Camelot and Man of La Mancha and when those who-want-to-but-can’t-quite-believe attend their place of worship, our age has surrendered. We have bought into the belief that in “the real world” our deepest and highest yearnings and aspirations do not fit. To take ideals seriously enough to live by puts us ridiculously out of step, renders us vulnerable to the charge of being naive and foolish.

Strange. Visit a prison. You will be told that is not the real world. So with Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the inner city, a fancy restaurant, a homeless shelter, a college campus, a hospital, a war zone, a church. No matter what place you visit, you will be advised, “this is not the real world.”

Where is it then? What detracts from reality of these places? May I suggest an answer? I think what makes wherever we are seem unreal is simply that we no longer bring to that place in our person the moral insight of ideals and the spiritual courage to know they are needed and will work.

When we are mannequins, nothing inside, no vision of what could be, how can any place be real? When we carry unreality about in our person, how can it not infect each place we go? When we urge practicality on those who call us to idealism, are we not trying to quiet those urgings we feel deep within? Rather than struggle to give them voice and life, we beat them back by dismissing the messenger who causes us, for one brief shining moment, to see the reality available on the far side of idealism.

We say to ourselves: “I know it’s not possible to live that way. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Then we go to lunch with our friends so we can together punch holes in the idealism we have just had urged upon us. And when we have all again robbed one another of hope, as is our regular custom, we go our separate and desperate ways out into the various unreal settings that are the funeral draping of our daily lives.

Perhaps we should declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in our spiritual lives so that we can hold our creditors at bay while we secure our rightful place in the noble palace where idealism reigns and all live in continual peace, power, purpose, and joy. And above the entrance to this place the banner reads “Ideals are the ultimate reality, the source of all other realities.”

February 18, 2019

What’s It Worth?

2-18-19 by Ed Chasteen

My book may be worth exactly what I ask you to pay for it. Maybe not even that. That early reviewer may have been completely wrong to call it “profoundly simple and simply profound, a formula for building human beings.”

How To Like People Who Are not Like You is the title of my book and also the title of chapter 4, the PAYOFF chapter. How to like yourself and how to like friends and family come in earlier chapters. All chapters name seven things to believe, seven to think about and seven to do.

Seems to me that things only seem to be complicated. This book explains how to do what its title names. I give the book free of charge to all who go to www.hatebusters.com  and click on books. How To Like People Who Are not Like You is the first book listed. Just download it.

The book asks you to turn to page 127 for a 37 item Yes-No and Multiple Choice self-evaluation quiz to decide where best to begin your reading.

I would love to hear from you. Tell me. How did the book help? If it didn’t, how might it?

 

February 15, 2019

Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us

Valentine’s Day 2019

By Ed Chasteen

The Pedalin’ Prof from William Jewell College

 

With inelegance in vogue, courtesy of the White House, now is the time to openly claim for ourselves the national image of ourselves long cloaked in a more gentile and socially acceptable language, and on rare occasions spoken quietly by some of the irreverently insightful among us. We are “a little pissant college in a little podunk town.”

Rather than the pejorative putdown this image confers when directed at us by outsiders, this image, when taken to heart and embraced, is the freeing and accurate description of every college and every town everywhere. The hubris it takes to claim otherwise overtakes some people and places and is properly seen as self-aggrandizement.

My wife and I once lived in a town whose name when coupled with the state presents the quintessential oxymoron: Humble, Texas. We had lived in Liberty, Missouri several years when her parents came to visit and the pastor of our church introduced them as “the only humble Texans I’ve ever met.”

Maybe because I lived in Humble when I was young; maybe because all those magazines rejected the story I wrote until I got endorsements from famous people; maybe because the graduate school that first rejected my admission later gave me a fellowship; maybe seeing that folks from bigger and prestigious places knew no more and cared no more than I; maybe that university president who left my lecture early, saying, “No one smart talks like that.” Maybe more. Maybe all. Maybe none.

Sitting in church one day in 1786, Scottish poet Robert Burns noticed lice crawling in the hair of an immaculately coiffured lady sitting in front of him, and was inspired to pen these words, translated here into English from the Scottish dialect in which he wrote:

 

O would some Power with vision teach us

To see ourselves as other see us!

It would from many from many a blunder free us,

And foolish notion:

What airs in dress and carriage would leave us

And even devotion!