Good News and Better News … June 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Cassius and Martinsburg composite

On February 25th, 1964, I was twelve years old when Cassius Clay totally surprised the boxing world by destroying Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

It had been an interesting ninety days. Within three months, John Kennedy had been assassinated, the Beatles appeared multiple times on the Ed Sullivan Show, and now a 22-year-old black fellow was ranting and raving about his greatness.

My home town hated all three.

I was told that John Kennedy was a philanderer, the Beatles were communists and Cassius was an uppity colored man.

It got worse when Mr. Clay chose to change his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming a foreign, dangerous infidel.

I was in my twenties before I felt the freedom to think for myself and develop new opinions about JFK, the Fab Four and Ali.

I was thinking about this very thing in my green room yesterday at the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Muhammad Ali was cursed, threatened with prison and had his title removed because he refused to fight in the Viet Nam War. Why? Because at the time it seemed important to do so.

But we were wrong. We were wrong about him, we were wrong about Viet Nam, we were confused about the Beatles, and Kennedy certainly had some moments of brilliance.

You see, it’s not a political issue and it’s not a spiritual issue. It all comes down to deciding whether to live a life where you complain or an existence where you create.

Because complaining people don’t create, and creative people don’t complain.

My heart’s desire yesterday, as I sat in front of the audience and shared my journey, music and insights, was to communicate that simple thought–complain or create?

Because even though Muhammad Ali was condemned by society, his consecration to his causes has endured the test of time. Matter of fact, the southern city of Louisville, Kentucky has tributes to him all over the metroplex. Isn’t that amazing?

You see, it’s simple.

The good news is that if you stop complaining, you start to learn. And the first thing you learn is that the more you create, the less you need to complain.

The better news is that there were a handful of folks in Martinsburg who got the message.

Others will be driven down the streets named after the men they once condemned–on their way to the graveyard.

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