Thursday, August 11, 2011

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Mayor Cory Booker

We're getting ready to hear from Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ and looking for help in leadership for our Operation Christmas Child team.

He tells his father's story of being in school where the teacher asked anyone who thinks they're stupid to stand up. Finally, Booker's father stood up and said, "shucks, ma'am I don't think I'm stupid but I didn't want you to be the only one standing." The point is--you will face adversaries and bad things will happen but you must be willing to stand.

Before you can stand you need to understand that you are born as the result of a grand conspiracy of love. People stormed the beaches of Normandy for you. People scrubbed toilets and prayed for you. You eat lavishly from banquet tables prepared by your ancestors. Will you take your blessings and use them to move forward?

His parents introduced him to all the people who worked behind the scenes to give equality to all people and bring new freedoms.

Abraham Lincoln "each person is born an original but sadly most die copies." Don't let the world tell you who you are. Booker admits he still struggles with this.

We are the result of people who did not see the world the way others saw it. In the midst of slavery they saw freedom. In the midst of sweat shops they saw workers' rights. They had the courage to stand up and do something.

Cory walked up to the 5th floor of one of the projects in Newark as a law school student, knocked on the door, and told the woman he was there to help her. She took him into the middle of street and asked Cory, "tell me what you see around you," and he kept describing the problems of the neighborhood. The woman kept shaking her head and said, "You can't help me. You need to understand that the world outside will always be a reflection of what's inside you. If you can see hope and the face of God, then you can be someone who will help me."

Quote from Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world." We have to live out what we want to see happen. The only way to make change in this world is to start with oneself. "If it is to be, it's up to me." Stand up with faith in God, in our nation's ideals.

Before you preach or teach show me in how you live and give who you are. So many things distract us from the 'right here' and the 'right now' such as materialism and 'televisionism'. Example of a man in a blighted neighborhood who used his stimulus check to buy a lawnmower and weed whacker and used them to mow and manicure an empty overgrown lawn where drug deals had been taking place. The drug dealers left and he became a hero in his community.

We are stars. If we don't live life brilliantly and dim our being we won't live luminously. We as people can bring light to the darkness and turn barriers to blessings and obstacles to opportunities.

Booker went to the funeral of a youth who was murdered who he had met and had a chance to impact. He wept afterwards and said "where were we, not for his death but for his life?" Are we evidencing our truth?

Having problems in his political life with not being able to make changes happen and he read the verses that said, "If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains" and read the verses beneath that said you need to fast and pray. So he set up a tent as a place to fast and pray and he called a press conference to let people know what he was doing. Others came around and soon there were crowds. On the 10th day his political adversary, the mayor at that time, came out and Cory felt love for him and the mayor promised change. Because people stood together in humility and respect for those who preceded them, change happened.

There was strength as they stood together. The African saying "sticks in a bundle cannot be broken". "Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered together I am in the midst."

"Let us now stand up and tell our truth to a world that is yearning for it." In this world we don't always get what we pay for but we pay for what we get.

"Liberty and justice for all" must be a passion every day. If we stand like this, then we'll find a way to 'get to the roof'.

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