Sunday, August 25, 2013

Good crazy - Antoinette Tuff walks in the footsteps of Dr. King

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we commemorate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr, I have to wonder just how much we're really ready to embrace his teachings. And - believe me - I put myself right in the middle of that "we." His life was a testament to how much he believed those words... he walked his talk.

We know that Dr. King grounded that belief in the teachings of another radical...Jesus.
You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

- Matthew 5
This is what Rev. Joseph Lowery was referring to when he talked about "good crazy."

It is a beautiful testament to these radicals that - just as we were preparing to celebrate Dr. King's legacy this week - Antoinette Tuff came along to demonstrate just how much power is packed into that kind of "good crazy."

Yes, most of us would find it crazy to identify our own personal struggles with those of a mad man pointing an AK47 at us...much less tell him we love him. But what other weapons did Antoinette have other than the power of her humanity finding a way to touch his heart? In the end, that light proved itself to be more powerful than his darkness. It was a crazy leap of faith in humanity...just what Jesus and Dr. King called on us to do.

It is humbling to ask ourselves if we would have the kind of strength and courage Antoinette demonstrated when faced with that kind if situation. I don't know that I do. But I suspect it all starts with "letting my little light shine" in everyday mundane life.

P.S. Don't ever let anyone tell you that these teachings are about being "passive." Antoinette could have stayed silent or crouched in fear. Instead, she took the bold step of doing just what Rep. Lewis admonished us to do yesterday. She didn't stand by. She stood up, spoke up and got in the way.


  1. Thank you for this post. Your words:

    But what other weapons did Antoinette have other than the power of her humanity finding a way to touch his heart? In the end, that light proved itself to be more powerful than his darkness

    are an excellent reminder of the power that each of us has. It is all to easy for me to feel overwhelmed with the evil I read about every day and forget about the fact I have choices. I needed your reminder here!

  2. The ability to connect - to find humanity in someone who otherwise we'd not know or fear - is transformative. Most of us know that it does not always work. There was no way to connect with the shooter in Connecticut. He entered in fury and rage already lethal. But where we can, we must. Her compassion comes out of a deep place that identified this young man's troubles and pain. If we could do that more often BEFORE trouble, there might not be so much of it. Affirmative humanity such as shown by Ms. Tuff is an awesome way to change the world.

    1. You're doesn't always "work." I thought about that when I was writing this. Its interesting to think about what "work" means. Both MLK and Jesus were killed for it. In that sense, it didn't "work" for them either...except that they both changed the world.

    2. Since American tend to be utterly pragmatic - objectivist - you are entirely correct, but the world would not see it that way or think those who died for causes too foolish. But I have NOTHING better to add than Sheba Lo below. Indeed. They changed the world. And Ms. Tuff just changed her corner of it.

  3. except that hey both changed the world....


    it was the legacy of their life and their death that changed the we can say that it indeed did work...cause here we are still talking and thinking about it ..

    1. Thank you. That's perfect.