Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, September 21, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

We are going to hear Congressman John Lewis speak tonight. He was the youngest of “The Big Six” Civil Rights leaders, and the only one who survives. When he was just in his early 20s, he led The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC]. He was beaten badly by Bull Connor and his uniformed thugs as he tried to march with MLK over the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, AL. [1] Later, with court orders and federal troops, they marched from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital, to rally for Civil Rights. I was in the group that marched into Montgomery. [1]

In the summer of 1965, students from my Wesley Foundation [Methodist campus ministry] in Terre Haute, IN, and nuns from St. Mary of the Woods College cooperated with SNCC in Albany, GA, registering black folks to vote. Renate Judson, MD, of Terre Haute, loaned them a station wagon. They returned to Terre Haute with bullet holes in the wagon. Rednecks had chased Bob Mullins, our Wesley Foundation president, a boy barely past 20 himself, while he drove the wagon, and shot at him numerous times. It was that sort of era.

Last fall, granddaughter Brigid went to hear Lewis at Michigan State University. She stood in a long line to get his autograph for me. She told him that I had marched into Montgomery with him at the end of the Selma march. He said, “Tell your grandfather I said, ‘Thanks.’”

I’ve never had a better granddaughter, a better gift, or a better “thanks.”

John Robert McFarland

1] There are people even today who are willing to say, “Well, it was their own fault. If they had obeyed the police command to go home instead of insisting on their constitutional rights, they wouldn’t have gotten beaten.”

2] You can read a more complete account in my book, THE STRANGE CALLING.

Harper Lee’s “new” GO SET A WATCHMAN is a flawed but fascinating look at a Southern family riven by the tensions of the time.

I tweet as yooper1721.

My new novel is VETS, about 4 homeless and handicapped Iraqistan veterans accused of murdering a VA doctor. Available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $8.49 or $12.99 for paperback, according to which site you look at, and $3.99 for Kindle. Free if you can get your library to buy one.

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