2 comments Written on August 11th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Jeff Ondrey is a nursing home adminstrator in Western New York and is a member of the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality. 

This past weekend, I had the fortune to be able to visit my little grandson and his family in Washington, DC.  My wife and I took part of a day to visit some of the monuments that we had not seen in over 35 years.  What an inspiring place that has memorialized some inspiring quotes from some inspiring men and women. Our morning began at the Jefferson memorial where the irony unfolded that I had just finished reading the following quote by Thomas Jefferson when a rag tag group of people brandishing confederate flags made a visual spectacle on the steps of the memorial.

jefferson quote

While my own intolerant mind tried to be gracious to allow them the freedom to express themselves, (and I knew my own limitations on this and did not linger to listen to them) I wondered if they had taken the time to read the words on the four massive engravings surrounding Jefferson’s statue.

Our next stop was the Roosevelt memorial, which I had not seen before…a most moving place which included a number of different water monuments and quotes from FDR.  This one moved me the most. FDR quote

And again, I wondered about those confederate flag bearers. But I also wondered about the church, and religion in general, and gender related matters in the church in particular.

Then there were the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Franklin’s illness…gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons – infinite patience and never ending persistence.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Words for me to heed…Infinite patience and never ending persistence.

Then it was on to the Martin Luther King memorial.  This too was not present when I was last in DC. Again, I was awestruck to read the many quotes of this great man, while surrounded by waves of multi ethnic people teaching their children about how this great man influenced a nation.  Again, I pondered how far we have come as a nation, in that we now have an African American president, yet prominent in our daily news are the tragedies of racial conflict that persist….and again I wondered….mostly about why mankind must treat one another as we do.

And then I read these words of MLK.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Strength to Love, 1963.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Strength to Love, 1963.

And I had to wonder yet again, rather reflect on my own self rather than how others think or act. What is my measure as a man, as a human being in these times of challenge and controversy, on matters in the news and in the church that are challenging and controversial? Do I allow light and love to prevail over my own notions and yes, even my own forms of hate to control me and keep me stuck where I have been these many years?


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2 comments “Wondering…”

Thank you, Jeff. When we stop reviewing our ideals we begin to forget what they were.

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Pillars of strength in our history challenging us not to become anchored in a history that would stifle our future. What great insight gained; thank you for sharing it.

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