Applying Mathematical Theology, Street Knowledge, Spirituality, Principles, Rational Thought, The Scriptures, and The Wisdom of the Ages to the Problems of Original People in The Western Hemisphere and All Over The World - An Invitation to Atheists, Agnostics, Hebrews, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Gods and Earths, Unitarian Universalists, Jehovah Witnesses, Baha'is, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Nuwabians, Freethinkers, Humanists, Vodouisants, Santeros, Practitioners and Experiencers of African Traditional Religions and Spirituality, Experiencers and Practitioners of Indigenous Spirituality and Traditions, Scientologists, Spiritual Nomads, Truth-Seekers, and Those Of Us Who Are Well, Just...'Here'
Last year around this time, I had the honor and privilege of speaking to many of those who have registered for the BlackElectorate.com ‘Building and Business” Weekend or are seriously considering doing so. For over 5 hours, I listened to and spoke to people from all over the country - humble, talented and opinionated individuals who are passionate about life and helping Black people rise from the condition we are in. I was deeply touched and above all, encouraged and inspired by them all.
As I learned of their interests, suggestions and what is resonating with them about what we have planned and described, I was compelled to put myself in their shoes, as best I could, and also to find ways to relate, connect, and speak to them of the relevancy of our mission and objective to their personal interests as well as the need for us to unite with the like-minded (as one Sister from Virginia mentioned to me) and the like-spirited.
It was quite a powerful experience to speak to – within a span of a few hours – Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Africans, Artists, Childhood Friends, Scholars, Professional Political Persons, the Apolitical, College Students, and Those Who Are Just Learning About Are Website.
We built with one another, talked a little business, cracked jokes, and spoke about the dire condition of our people and the reason for the hope that is within us, regarding the future.
Thinking over some of those conversations, I am reminded of what is written in the Bible in 1 Peter 3:15, which reads, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear."
In 1996 I read an excellent interview of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan published in Executive Intelligence Magazine wherein he spoke of having seen a letter that Master Fard Muhammad had written to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Master Fard Muhammad, in one part of the letter, was making a point to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad about the nature and condition of human beings. He wrote, “Brother, people are strange, they are like schools of fish. If you do not learn to speak their languages you will not be as successful in teaching them as I desire for you to be.” That is the quote to the very best of my memory. Again, one can locate that interview for the exact words. My copy is in another location, as I write this. I understand that Minister Farrakhan has mentioned this on other occasions, and in other settings.
I read those words when I was co-managing Wu-Tang Clan. They have always stuck with me. They have shaped my heart and my mind regarding how to reach people. They inform the strategy I give my clients in politics, business and entrepreneurial development. They are at the foundation of what guides the approach of this website, BlackElectorate.com, which some call eclectic, others diverse, and which some think is crazy, misguided or too ambitious.
In my physical and spiritual travels I have met countless people of different perspectives. In the seven and one half years that we have published BlackElectorate.com not only have we published virtually every relevant perspective available in the public, but we and I have engaged much of it. It is one think to learn of a viewpoint. It is another to embrace it. It still more to critique it. It is a far different thing to defend it. And lastly, it is whole other world to establish it. From across the spectrum of thought and belief, we have witnessed this process taking place among our people in culture, economics, and politics. It has been a fascinating experience.
This experience is going to go to a new level as we are determined to build a community with a critical mass of those who have been part of the BlackElectorate.com experience. Obviously this means that all of those involved in this next phase are going to come into contact with others who represent perspectives, organizations, and ideologies that they are unfamiliar with, uncomfortable with, and possibly disagree with. But less obviously, I think, is the exciting prospect of what can happen when people of the widest range of thought and perspective come together guided by a set of the same recognitions, and cognizant of the fact that no particular ism, ideology, or organization inside or outside of the Black community has been able, thus far, on their own to establish a solution to the problems that face us on a broad enough level to improve the quality of life for the masses of our people.
So, my position is that we need the best of all of the schools of thought that exist among us. That would mean insight from spiritual teachings, business practices, religion, political ideologies, philosophy, street knowledge, theology, artistic expression, common sense, family values, free thinkers, rational thought, the scientific method, emotional intelligence, satire, and humor.
If we can get a broad enough cross-section of people, who with an attitude of respect, for themselves, others and our people, are willing to express the best of what they hold to and think out of, we will not only have a wide pool of knowledge, understanding and wisdom to draw from, but we will all experience a transformative experience in that the witness and insight of others will deepen our own understanding of what we claim to believe I, hold to and think out of. Indeed as it is written in the 27th Chapter and 17th verse of the book of Proverbs, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Of course this applies to Women as well.
The greatest influencers in recorded history have been those individuals who can reach the widest and broadest range of human beings with depth by connecting with them from their personal experience and school of thought. It is one of the reasons why Jesus is described as being so effective. We all could learn from his usage of parables to reach people. I am struck by how many people, who say they follow Jesus, don’t follow his example in this regard.
The other day, while waiting to catch an airplane, I just sat and read parable after parable of Jesus. I was struck by the sciences that he weaves together in scripture. Botany, zoology, astronomy, anthropology, economics, politics, military, geography, geology, theology, biology, and more are all used. Why don't those who follow this master teacher use the same sciences to persuade others of their viewpoint? I wondered. He always spoke to people in terms of their 'language' - taking complex truths and making them relevant, and easy to understand.
In reflection I am also reminded of two things about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s method of reaching people.
First, his teaching never relied on one single point of reference to convince and persuade people. To make and rest my case I direct anyone to consider the arguments that he made regarding the Divinity of man in a series of articles he originally wrote for the historic Black newspaper, The Amsterdam News. Those series of articles now appear on pgs. 61 to 74 of the book, Our Saviour Has Arrived. In clear arguments, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad relied on four reference points or schools of thought: 1) the scriptures 2) the laws of human nature 3) general science and 4) mathematics.
Secondly, I once heard of an occasion where the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was together with many of his Ministers. He said, “Alright…convert me.” He was asking his Ministers to convince him as to why he should believe what he was teaching. One Brother accepted the invitation and began making arguments from the scriptures. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to him, ‘OK. Suppose I don’t believe in the Bible and Holy Qur’an?”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad also taught that he could eventually argue the reality of God by beginning his presentation with nothing other than a discussion of a blade of grass. From there, his arguments would move logically and progressively into evidence and proof of the existence of a Supreme Being.
In the book, This Is The One by Minister Jabril Muhammad we read (bold and italics is mine):
No Messenger of Allah in the past was ever able to take the general natural laws of the universe and the laws of nature of man to bear witness with the truth of the all-wise Designer and Creator of the heavens and earth. Messenger Elijah Muhammad knows the relationship between the laws of our being and the law of the physical universe, and the truth originating in the mind of the Divine Being. He has already reached the point from which he has and is able to state exactly what the relationship is. Incidentally, this power of Messenger Elijah Muhammad wipes out the supposed difference between the true religion of God and true science.
I bring that up to place a bit of pressure on the minds of those of us who adhere to religion and theology but diminish, ignore or disrespect science, for some reason. I don’t think such persons properly understand what is being outright stated and implied in Surah 6 verse 75 of the Holy Qur’an which reads in the Yusef Ali translation:
“So also did We show Abraham the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might (with understanding) have certitude.”
In the same verse from the Qur’an in the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation we read:
“And thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and that he might be of those having certainty.”
The footnote to that verse, in this translation reads, “Showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth signifies granting him an insight into the Divine laws of nature working in the kingdom of the heavens and the earth…”
This reminds me of part of my interview with the brilliant Wise Intelligent of The Poor Righteous Teachers last year and his exhortation over the years that, ‘man was given law not religion…’
(He’s right. However, I think man was given both law and religion, and I think that Wise and I would agree on that if we were to build on it. Included in our discussions would have to be the meaning of the Arabic word, fitr, also spelled "fitrah".)
I strive to read the Holy Qur’an and study it regularly. I am doing so with more passion this month due to the pain and pleasure of Ramadan (smile). This book of scripture is full of a variety of arguments regarding human nature, the universe and the creation and existence. While many Muslims refer to what this holy book has to say about the Prophets and of course Muhammad, I less frequently hear them demonstrate the interconnection of those portions with the powerful arguments the Qur’an makes about the order in the universe, the nature of its creation, the process of how it works, scientific discovery and the appeals Allah (God) makes to the rational thinking process of the human being.
I have found that while these verses and sections - of both the Bible and the Qur’an - may not mean as much to the ‘religiously’ inclined, I have been struck by how powerful they can be in making connections with people who are not ‘religious’ in the general sense of that word.
I have built with original people – Natives and Africans – on these aspects of the Qur’an and found them to be pleasantly surprised at times, and greatly informed, at others about the oneness of insight from indigenous belief systems and what is written in the scriptures. Of course some of our greatest historians have argued about the similarities between what is written in the scriptures and that which is contained in ancient African, and say Mayan teachings. I think some improperly connect these similarities, but they do exist, nonetheless.
I also have experienced using the Holy Qur’an to inform and make points of agreement with scientists. Last year, in a recorded discussion that I intend to publish at BlackElectorate.com, I had a discussion for nearly an hour with a brilliant scientist on the cutting edge of the field of cultural psychology about the nature and evolution of human emotion. At a certain point in the discussion, he began to describe the evolution of emotional development of the human being that corresponded to what the Holy Qur’an teaches about the moral and spiritual development of the human being. I told him so. He was intrigued and asked me to read those verses to him. I did so. He was ‘shocked,’ and pleasantly surprised by what I told him. He agreed that his theory of human emotion in that aspect was in agreement with what I represented to him from the Qur’an.
That exchange developed mutual respect, and developed rapport.
That is what I want to see emerge within our BlackElectorate.com community.
Knowledge then Contact then Respect then Unity then Love.
On the final stage – Love – I intend to mention a few points from the perspective of the scriptures, theology, philosophy and anthropology, during the BlackElectorate.com “Business and Building” Weekend. Some of us may be surprised to see the unity between the religious concept of atonement and the anthropological concept of altruism; and how both relate to the rise of Black people all over the earth.
On that note I will end on this point. Some of us know the painful and helpful history in Black America, which has existed, as a result of the philosophical and personal disagreements that have existed between W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Phillip Randolph, and Dr. Martin Luther King in one school of thought, so to speak, and Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in another school of thought so to speak.
The relationship, and alternating state of disagreement and unity that has existed between The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. since 1966, has done more than any other factor to help us get over the worst parts of that history.
We are now in a position to finish what they have started.
The BlackElectorate.com “Business and Building” Weekend and Community can play an important role in that work.
It has to do with dialectics and the relationship between a thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
And I am so anxious to share with you all what I see in this painful but beautifully redemptive process. And not only to share but to provide a living example of it to ourselves and our people.
That can only happen if enough of us, from a wide enough range of experience, belief systems, and thinking can get in one room.
Please join us on October 26th, 27th and 28th to make this a reality.
You can register for the BlackElectorate.com “Business and Building” Weekend today at:
Note: Please Remember There Are Only Advance Ticket Sales For This Event.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
To discuss this article further enter The Deeper Look Dialogue Room
The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of BlackElectorate.com or Black Electorate Communications.