Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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  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!

February 2, 2019

The Pedalin’ Prof

And HateBusters Founder

Ed Chasteen


William Jewell College

Teaching People How To Like People

Box 442                Liberty, MO 64069           816-803-8371                                      


Interfaith/Interracial and One to One

By Ed Chasteen


Red and Yellow, Black, Brown and White

Christian, Buddhist and Jew

Hindu, Baha’i, Sikh and Muslim, too

All* are precious in our sight

(*Includes Faiths not named)


I want to meet every person I can and expect to like every person I meet. It can be done. I did it for years across the country and around the world. Now I do it closer to home. The world has come to me. Folks of every faith and all races now live as neighbors to me and to each other here in this place I call Greater Liberty.

I live in a town called Liberty. The college where I teach and the church I attend are one block apart here in our town, an area that for years many of us have called “this little piece of God’s good earth.” One summer when college was out, I rode my bicycle alone and without money for 105 days, 5,126 miles across America. On my longest days across the high plains desert I rode 125 miles. So when I was home I drew a 125-mile circle around our town and dubbed this place Greater Liberty, extending the boundaries of this little piece God’s good earth north to Creston, Iowa and south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas and east to Columbia, Missouri.

My students at the college began in 1976 to hold two Human Family Reunions every year. One at the end of the fall semester and another at the end of the spring semester, a practice we continue to this day, our next one coming the evening of Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 7:30-9:00 at William Jewell College,

There is no head table at our Human Family Reunions. No one speaks for more than three minutes. Anyone in attendance who wishes to speak is given their own three minutes. Our guiding principle for the evening: Until we know each other, who’s right is the wrong question.

I have been so long at the college that I am now Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. I have no official duties. No classes to meet. I could never show up. No one would say a word. Or feel neglected.

I tried that. It does not work for me. So we still have our Human Family Reunions. We still teach people how to like people. We still teach people how, when and why to respond to hate. We still help anyone whose lifestyle is targeted by hate. We call them. We ask their need. We provide that need/needs. Free of charge.

With all the above as preamble, I come now to ask you to let me pair you with another person, someone of another faith, another race, maybe of another faith and race. I will pair you for only a few weeks. I will give you seven sets of questions to answer online and send online to your pair. When you complete the seven sets of questions, I ask you to write the life story of your pair, using those questions for your information. Though you and your pair live in Greater Liberty and could meet without much effort, I do not ask that you meet until you come to the next scheduled HFR. And when you come I ask you to speak for just three minutes as your pair.

The 90 minutes you spend at our HFR promises to be a moment in time you will for years recall fondly. The new friend you make could prove invaluable. One to one leading to face to face! None of us is so rich that a new friend would not be a good thing.


Email me at Tell me to pair you with a person of another faith and/or race. I will send you the seven sets of questions and the name of your pair.


Ed Chasteen

January 30, 2019

Really a Good Friday

1-30-19 by Ed Chasteen


Easter Sunday came on April 21 in 1957 and has not appeared on that date since. UNTIL? This year! 2019, meaning that 62 years have passed, precisely the length of time Bobbie and I have been married: Bobbie Amos became Bobbie Chasteen on Good Friday 1957 in First Baptist Church, Humble, Texas. Debbie was born in May of ’58, David in January of ’60 and Brian in January of ’62: All on a Friday.

Bobbie and I celebrate our wedding anniversary every April 19th and every Good Friday, giving us two anniversaries every year. So we tell folks we’ve been married 122 years. This year though, April 19 is also Good Friday, and for the first time we celebrate just our anniversary just once.

With our 123rd anniversary as a couple just 79 days from now, some reflections come to mind. The good has far outweighed the bad. I choose to remember the first and forget the second.

I love Bobbie. I love my children and those they love. I love our town. I love life.




Easter Sunday fell on April 21 in the years 1715, 1726, 1737, 1867, 1878, 1935, 1946 and 1957. Easter Sunday will next fall on April 21 in 2019


January 28, 2019

Wings over England, The Nightingale and The Girl Who Smiled Breads

1-25-19 by Ed Chasteen


What was it about reading these last two that brought the first to mind? Had to have been some powerful force to bridge the seventy-five years between them. I just read the last two at age eighty-three, when my wife brought them home from the library. Her book club was reading them. I was eight years old when my mother took me for the first time to our town’s Carnegie Library and Wings over England went home with me.

The first tells of the British RAF and the German Luftwaffe struggle for air supremacy over England in the early days of WWII. The second describes the occupation of France by the Nazi’s and the resistance mounted by locals. The third takes place in the 1990’s and describes the ethnic cleansing visited upon themselves by the people of Rwanda, a result of colonization by Belgium years earlier.

These three books tell about a time of war. Famous battles and generals, political issues and peace accords are hardly ever mentioned. This is war as seen and understood by children, by ordinary people simply trying to stay alive, to keep their family and friends safe and nearby.

Each book revolves around a child forced to grow up way too soon, robbing them of a childhood, making them see and do things they can never forget, forever changing where and how and why they live.

And these three books cause me to think of three friends I have known: Ben, Bronia and Mom.

Ben Edelbaum was 10 years old in 1939 Poland. His sister was in the hospital to have a baby. Ben was to be an uncle. He was beaming. He and his family went that night to the hospital. As they neared they saw German soldiers catching bundles thrown from hospital windows on bayonets and throwing them into trucks. Blood was everywhere. Ben never saw his sister. He never became an uncle.

Ben promised his dad later in the camps that he would survive to tell their story. After liberation, Ben married another survivor, moved to Kansas City, became a meat cutter at a Milgrim’s Grocery, wrote Growing Up in the Holocaust, and came every October for years to speak to my class at William Jewell College.

Bronia when she was 16 was being driven with other naked people in the back of a truck to the gas chambers. They had been told it was a shower. No one would jump with her from the truck into the snow. Bronia made it back to the camp and was hidden by other inmates. When discovered, she was beaten almost to death.

After liberation Bronia came to Kansas City. She and her husband, a survivor, bought M&M Bakery at 31st and Woodland. One day a robber came and put a gun in her face, demanding money. Bronia grabbed a doughnut and shoved it in his mouth, saying “Hitler couldn’t kill Bronia and you can’t either.” He ran for the door.

Mom was called Maxine by her sharecropper father in Mississippi. Some local whites did not like her father’s success and he was killed. Maxine and her sister were put on a bus to Kansas City. Maxine met and married Alvin McFarland, who had come to KC from Jamaica. Their 12 children live now in different parts of the country.

When I would take students to their home for lunch and a lesson, my students called her Mom. To her friends at church she was Queen Mother. She ran a food pantry. She sang “Pass It On,” at every Human Family Reunion after she first learned of it while fund raising for the Bernard Powell statue. Her Social Action Committee of 20 was always in the news, championing good causes.

The killing of people dear to them is at the heart of all three books and all three friends. Efforts to explain why such things happen ring hollow. Events overwhelm us. Our search for meaning never ends. Always out there. Beyond our grasp. Still we try. While never enough, what else can we do?


The Girl Who Smiled Beads

© 2018 by Clemantine Wamariya

Comments by Ed Chasteen


Clemantine, six, and her sister Claire, fifteen, lived with their parents in the capital city of Rwanda into the 1990s. Noise came. Parents whispered. Guns appeared. Friends were killed. Alone, the two girls escaped. Refugee camps followed in six African countries in as many years, until finally they made it to America.

After years in America, Clemantine wrote a book: The Girl Who Smiled Beads. As gut-clenching as this book is to read, it was so much more so to write, as is made clear on almost every page.

On page 177, Clemantine writes: “I want to make people understand that boxing ourselves into tiny cubbies based on class, race, ethnicity, religion—anything, really—comes from a poverty of mind, a poverty of imagination. The world is dull and cruel when we isolate ourselves.”

Rwanda had once been a colony of Belgium. As a means of maintaining control, Belgium chose favorites among the Rwandan people, making some groups better than others, and leaving them this way when colonialism ended.  Thus came genocide.

How a little girl survives How one still living is also a victim. The pain of remembering.