tv Mosaic CBS March 14, 2021 5:30am-5:59am PDT
at the high street presbyterian church and i was at the elmhurst united methodist church and we were involved with the clergy and the president was dr. j. alfred smith and he got us involved in the city council and the school board and our emphasis on social justice began then. hugh ended up being in el cerrito for 13 years and i was in richmond for 12 years. we continued our ministries together and 17 years ago, he asked me to host here. i was mentoring along with elizabeth, being a host and we are grateful for his ministry and we thank his wife, gail, for the wonderful celebration of his life that happened about
five weeks ago in el cerrito. blessings to you and your family, gail. you've been all over the world with you and have been to the ministry in pakistan. i've always admired and appreciated that and we are grateful for everything he has done .1 of thpeshave, was howard thurmond, the great spiritual and religious giant among us. whenever i would have this guest on, he would say, make sure you allow time for this guest. reverend dr. dorsey blake, great to have you. >> i always appreciate the invitation and the opportunity to, on mosaic. >> how many years have you been here? >> 25 plus years. i first went in 1992 and was not installed u 94. e actual ce years will be next year. >> we will also have a major conference.
we are expandingtook a where we are now and we have to do more than react to what more will be the focus next year. we hope to have it for three days, hopefully. >> the church for the fellowship of all people is in san francisco. >> it's between broadway and vallejo. the church for the fellowship of all people, as you know, was the nation's first intentionally interracial and interfaith church. it was started in 1944 by dr. howard thurman and dr. alfred fisk. they believed if people came together and had deep religious experiences, that they would emerge with a sense of unity
racialers and sexual barriers and going on for 74 yes and next year it will be 75. >> that's wonderful. you talk about different religious backgrounds, races of people and creeds? >> yes. many of the people were former jewish folks, buddhists, communists and the congregation and people who had no religious background. and dr. thurman attracted many others. some people say, is this what the church is about? i want to be part of it. it was a powerful book, the most well recognized and was influential with dr. king and samuel proctor and many ot ople. >> and meeting with gandhi.
>> he met with gandhi in 1936 as part of a pilgrimage with he and his wife and two other people. they were chosen to go to burma and india in 1935. it wasn't until 1936 that he met with gandhi. they discussed nonviolence. that is when gandhi said, it could be through the american negro that nonviolence would have its greatest exposition. >> i wondered why howard thurman would matter in this day and let's come back to that. thank you, dorsey. please join us as we talk about howard thurman and his spirituality and impact on all of us and thank you for being wi
to be you. >> that's good. >> if i go down deep inside of myself with my deep spirituality, i will come inside of you. he believed we are related and we are spiritually related. one hurt you, hurt me. he was always on what he called the sit to find spirituality. it's important especially today. through the church and other places, he was a model for people to come together, not to divide. to come together. he believed that where we are stripped to the literal substance of ourselves, we le, female, black or white. there is this presence and a human soul that is developed.
that is not negating our social identities, but it is a way of saying that there is something within each person that longs for the hunger of the heart and lungs for connection. it's not only with ourselves, but the all debating presence. >> a tremendous summary and that is just touching the surface. it's wonderful the way you speak about him. one of my favorite quotes of his is to find the grain in your own wood. that's what he told me. >> yes. he matters because his spirituality helped me to find my own spirituality and to be comfortable in my search for my own spirituality. what i mean by that, i grew up baptist. my father is a baptist minister
and i have no problem with that, at all. as a young person, i could not be, i guess, confined to the scriptures. i found truth in poetry and elsewhere. i always wondered, does this violate my understanding of being non-christian? i'm reading somebody that is not a christian, but that person speaks to me. dr. thurman told me it was okay. he said what is true in religion is true because it is true. it's not true because it is in that religion. that allowed me to explore the truth in poetry and nature, one of his foundations. he loved nature. he had an oak tree in his backyard and he always liked to stay near water, the ocean. it was this kind of freeing of the human spirit to search for truth wherever you may find it.
accept it as true. >> that is really good. i mentioned helen keller, recently and she said she could see by seeing the first day to see her friends in the second day, she would see nature and the third day, to see new york city. along with that energy and excitement. >> she was an extraordinary person. >> wasn't she? but you've touched on it. you mentioned gandhi and let's go back for a moment. gandhi's influence on him and nonviolence and with jesus and the disinherited. i remember the line, what do you do when you have your back against the wall? >> that is why he wrote jesus disinherited. he said he couldn't find very many sermons that had ever been preached about a person with their back against the wall.
in terms of how it matters. look today with so many people with their backs against the wall who do not have control of this society and are constantly crushed by society. his quest was, how do you live in that kind of situation and retain your own integrity? one of the things, when you talk about the spirituals, he said that we were climbing jacob's ladder and the question was, how have you lived your life and the knowledge of your truths? what he was trying to say is, how do you carve out and negotiate life and maintain your integrity in the present situation? >> it was said that jesus did it and here is what jesus did. he made certain decisions about how he was going to live his life and we all have to do that. he dealt with those things that really oppressed with fear.
oppressed people are afraid. they don't know what society will do to them and they are afraid to have encounters with people. that fear keeps them incarcerated. >> people survive by trying to see or to wear masks or to be hypocritical. his thought was, if you do that, and there could be justification, but you don't want to negotiate with people in power with oppression. the more you see, the more likely it is you will become an exception, yourself. >> that's true. amen to that. >> he talks about hatred and how that consumes a person. when you hate somebody, that person has control of you and hatred destroys your creativity and keeps you from beingcreati go toward the hated object or
the hated person, rather than taking control of your own life and moving forward. >> that is needed because we do a lot of reaction for what is going on. >> there is a commitment and we face those consequences and those choices but we can do it. one of the most radical things he says, when you read that at the very end, he said jesus did it and he talks about jesus and he talks about the humanity of jesus. he said because jesus was a human being who made these decisions, and became an extraordinary person that we still talk about, all of us can do it. he took away all of our excuses. >> i love it.
welcome back to mosaic. if you didn't know who howard thurman was, you get the idea with dorsey's intimacy with him, knowing him all these years and pastoring this church u had comption? >> every year we have a howard thurman convocation in conjunction with the church's anniversary. this was quite amazing. we had two extraordinary
panelists, reverend deborah lee and philip hutchins. we talked about immigration and collective liberation. we talked about collective liberation and now, we commemorate howard thurman's life and work. we do it to say, let's move forward with the issues facing us today and how do we deal with those? you mention howard thurman but he was born in florida in 1899. he became -- and there are many things about his childhood -- but, he loves the ocean and the darkness of the sky and he loved nature. in 1936, he became a copastor of the fellowship church. then, in 1953, he became the first black man, black person, african-american person, to be dean of a predominantly white theological seminary, boston university. he was there 12 years.
he did so many critical things. he had dance and drama and so on. he always wanted the service to surprise people because surprise is part of being awake, also. >> some of my mentors where they are and they always talk about that with john foster. that was the first minister i worked with. he always talks about that special time. he said it was precious. >> that convocation is every year on the third sunday in october. >> it is great to have that to lift him up. now, why do you think he influenced dr. martin luther king jr. and so many people? >> i would say, if you read dr. thurman and you read dr. king, you will see the influence. in many ways, king was the person who applied much of what
thurman talked about, in terms of social reality. he influenced many of the people you've mentioned. they were committed to social action. it was said that king carried with him, all the time, a copy of jesus and the disinherited. it involves social actions and they sought in his writings, this extraordinary understanding. >> he had his own spin on it with a way forward. >> they were dealing with the most critical issues in american society with racism and all kinds of separation. for king, in particular, the families knew each other. thurman new dr. king's father. they were at morehouse together. >> that's right point >> mrs. thurman new martin luther king's mother because they were both daughters of baptist ministers and met through baptist circles, and so on. the families knew each other and one thing that was very interesting with thurman, when
dr. thurman was at boston university, king was also there finishing his doctorate. >> i didn't know that. >> he went over to the sermons to watch the world series becaeach other. at that point, when he talked with dr. thurman, king and thurman were talking, mrs. thurman asked martin luther king about coming to san francisco to be pastor of fellowship church. >> isn't that something? my question is, what if? what if he had come to san francisco instead of the other? >> he learned that if he had come to san francisco instead, would there have been a civil rights movement at the level it was without king's leadership? quite a question. >> on the surface, san francisco lo lbett place to b quar
we've been with reverend dorsey blake, reverend dr. dorsey blake. he has really shared with us, howard thurman, with a great deal even in these few minutes. i asked him about some of the books if you want to know more about thurman. tell us about the books. >> the most critical book to read is "jesus and the disinherited" and it was the first book among so many others. he has books about meditation and for those interested in racial issues in the racial divide, "luminous darkness" is a fabulous book and many don't know about it. dr. thurman's own choice was
"the inward journey" and that was his favorite. to get a better understanding, i would read his autobiography. i love that one. >> for those who like centerin pr, "the centeringent" and there s he wrote that speaks out differently. the other is "the mood of christmas" with beautiful poetry. >> that's true. some great ones. one just came out, "the parables of jesus" and i just picked it out. i'm fascinated by that and after you told me, i went to order a copy. >> great. i think i got the last copy. >> at my installation service in 1994, it was a difficult time during in my life.
and what happened, and my installation service, mrs. man's ro been totally wiped out. she said, this rha >> this was 1981? >> it was in 1984. he died in 1981 and nobody had worn it for all those years. i was wiped out and could not speak, actually. finally, people came up and helped me and so on. on the third sunday in january, which is martin luther king sunday, we will have eric williams, with the smithsonian
institution, the african- american museum, and i will t td thurman ro l other person has worn it, my co-minister, dr. benton. it's a little fragile and i thought it might be an inspiration. i was contacted with a photo about dr. thurman and what about the robe? we will present the robe and we have dr. fisk, cofounder of the church. we will be getting photos of each one of them and the robe of dr. thurman. it will be wonderful. >> we have one minute. we can't go without mentioning the 139 songs. sointimate. god has searched me and known me and knows my uprising and understanding my thoughts. wit
in the darkness. >> both the light and the darkness, and he is dealing with this and we don't have these dichotomies. that happens too much in life. he said, no. even with god and with darkness and light, yes, the unity is there. >> you have to come back. you have, over the years and thank you. >> i appreciate it. >> praise god and continue the tremendous work you are doing. we are learning from it. i hope you will be with us and continue with us next month. i'm ron swisher.
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