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I Am Worried

I am very worried about future generations. Education as we have known it is dead. The computer screen has replaced human beings. Computer screens do not have hearts and souls.

I love Furman University because Furman University loved me. Those wonderful human beings who made up the faculty looked at this kid with poor eyesight and no money and they saw a teachable, reachable brain. They encouraged that brain to come alive. They pushed, they pounded, they nagged, and they encouraged that brain to think for itself. Not only did they make certain that the foundation was solid but then they went further. They reached for the soul. What are you going to do to make the world a better place? How will you pass it on? I left there with a thirst for knowledge that has not been quenched. I left there with a sense of responsibility for others that will not let me rest.

Who will do that for future generations? Who will look at a kid with all the odds stacked against her or him see the potential and set out to release it?

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With

Eyes to blind to see

Ears to dull to hear

Hearts too cold to bleed

Mouths to full to feed

Souls to faint to plead

Knees too stiff to bend

Wills to callas to cow

Heads to fixed to bow

God to distant to heed

The enormity of the need

The world is left to spin

Indifference spells the end.

Love alone provides the key.

Too much to ask of you and me.

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Talk to ME

I am a patriotic person. I love the 4th. of July celebrations. I vote. When my children were small I took them with me to the polls just like I went with my dad. They were always welcomed just as I was as a boy. I grew up in politics. People wanted my dad’s advice.

I grew up in the segregated South. It was wrong and I knew it was wrong at a very early age. When I think of what John Lewis and thousands of others went through to exercise a right that I take for granted, I begin to understand white privilege. I have felt the bitterness of discrimination but what pain I have endured is nothing in comparison. This is a great country full of hope. It is a work in progress and every day moves us closer to the ideal.

I went from grade school through a Ph.D. program without having a single black person in my classes. My children have never not had black classmates. I was president of the PTA the first year of integration. We did not have one racial problem. I worked hand in hand with many organizations in Charleston to foster a healthy racial atmosphere. The Charleston Speech and Hearing Center led the way in serving the Head Start programs. My wife and my children were with me every step of the way.

I believe that people of good will can solve problems. The art of the deal is compromise. Neither of us might come away with all that we wanted, but each one of us will have something. What part of the dream can I have now? What is available to me at this moment? How can I help you get what you need?

I believe strongly in the social Gospel. In fact, if the Gospel isn’t social there is no Gospel. The good news is that we are set free to make this a better world. There is plenty of work to be done. We should get to it.

 

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Christian Leaders

Tom Guerry and Mitch Carnell at French Huguenot Church

Mitch, Carol and Dr. Martin Marty at FBC

“Remember your leaders Carol Carnellwho spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out.” (Hebrews 13: 7 (CEB)

When I was eleven years old our pastor gathered a group of us preteens together every Saturday morning for two or three weeks to talk to us about making our public profession of faith. I have always had many questions. Most adults did not want to deal with them. Preacher Gowan was different. “Mitch,” he said. “God created all of you. That includes your brain. God did not expect you to turn off your brain when you come to church.” I did not realize it at the time for I was much too young, but what a gift he gave me.  He was giving me permission to grow as a Christian. He was encouraging me to eat solid food.

Sixty-five years later Dr. Cynthia Campbell, President of the Presbyterian Seminary in Chicago, expressed the same though a bit more eloquently. “There is no place you can go that God isn’t already there. There is no question you can ask that God hasn’t already answered.” Her message was urging us to grow in our faith. I am blessed by the Christian leaders God has brought into my life to show me the way, to encourage me, to comfort me, to challenge me.

Prayer:

Thank you God for the saints you bring into my life to guide me and to strengthen my walk with you. May I be that encouraging to others. Amen.

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