I'm like a mini planet.
I don't want to overstate my importance. I am just a guy who stood up. That's the only thing I ever did.
But I have a small gravitational effect. People and energies come towards me.
BY FAR, the people and energy that comes towards me are filled with love and hope.
Every single day I get to experience and witness the incredible goodness of humanity. I would recommend this work for that benefit alone. Doing this work has proven to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that people are mostly good and want to do good things.
But that's not the only energy that comes towards me. Anger and hate also come towards me.
I'm quite certain that if you effectively stood up for the rights of puppies you would get death threats by someone.
I was driving down Broad Street towards our community center the other day and a middle aged woman got out of her car and gave me the finger. I don't think I've ever met her. But she knows me and she is definitely not happy with me.
I was in our yard where our village once was and a neighbor was at the bottom of the hill cleaning some trash that blew down the hill. He started swearing at me and eventually told me to come down the hill to fight him. He was seething. And our village has been long gone.
I run a Dan Horrigan watch group where people can review our mayor, good or bad. But one person (it's probably just one person) couldn't resist to let loose on how they felt about me and the homeless:
And the homeless. Oh boy. They probably hate each other more than anyone.
On Good Friday I gave what I thought was an uplifting, hopeful message about second chances and the beautiful redemptive qualities of Easter at our weekly group meeting. Ya know what their response was to that message?
"Jim is stealing the toilet paper!!!"
But we all do it.
The neighbor behind us hates her next door neighbor because her house is well kept and her neighbor's house is run down.
Multiple neighbors hate the neighbor next to us because he heats his house with wood and has a very large stock pile of wood.
Our neighbor hates us because we put up a pool in the summer.
It goes on and on and on.
I'm to the point now where I think Jesus was several thousand years ahead of his time. I see absolutely no sign that large quantities of people are striving to achieve the "love thy neighbor" philosophy.
I think "at least try to understand where thy neighbor is coming from" might be a more realistic hope for humanity for the next thousand years.
Neighbors are too close, I think.
But we are fed these feeling of hate and fear. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit.
These are cesspools of steaming hot garbage thoughts.
And make no mistake. We are addicted to them.
We can't stop watching. There is a mass hysteria of hate and fear being fed to us 24/7 and we can't stop looking at it. (I'm just as guilty as the rest.)
Our political parties are trying to convince us that it is minorities and liberals and white trash and gun owners that are our enemy. When they are the ones feeding us this message of hate and fear.
And our corporations are buying up ad space around school shootings and church shootings and bombings and wars. They are selling their products off the addiction we crave of believing all the hate and fear.
Hate and fear. Hate and fear.
It is driving us down some dark roads that keep us isolated and at each other's throats so that we never really turn our attention on the people that are actually creating this illusion of hate and fear.
Politicians and corporations thrive off of filling us with hate and fear. And we just lap it up like kittens drinking out of saucers of milk.
The fear drives the hate.
It's hard to hate an entire group of people without fear.
You can hate Bob because he doesn't mow his lawn.
But you can hate all minorities and all poor white people because you are afraid of them.
This is what I'm going to tell you about fear: Fear is the true danger. The person that is afraid becomes much more dangerous than the thing they fear.
I have people that are worried about my safety around homeless people. I have NO FEAR about being around homeless people. But the people that are afraid of homeless people... they are the real risk to me.
No homeless person has ever threatened to kill me or do me harm in any way.
But haters of the homeless: Some of them would definitely like to see me dead. I definitely have had death threats.
I have been told that I now need to be afraid of the administration of Akron. They are not at all pleased that I'm standing up to them.
Activists get killed all the time. It's not usually the people they are standing up for that kill them. It's the people that are against them that are the threat.
They are afraid of change.
Martin Luther King Jr. didn't get shot in the face by the people he was supporting. He was killed by people that feared him.
The people that are afraid become much worse than the people they are actually afraid of.
Fear first kills your soul. Then it kills your love. Then it kills your community. Fear is the enemy.
You might wonder why I'm writing this message of hate and fear on Easter Sunday. (I'm SO glad you asked.)
Easter Sunday is the answer to hate and fear.
Easter Sunday is resurrection, rebirth, faith, hope, love.
It reminds you that you never had to be afraid of winter (death) in the first place.
The leaves on the trees will come again. The grass will be green. The warmth will come. You would be a fool to bet on any other outcome. Spring is as inevitable as the nose on your face.
I can hear some terrified people saying right now: "someday Spring won't come." That's not true. Spring will always come. You are just allowing a black curtain to cover up the truth. The beginning of our universe, the Big Bang, was the original Spring. It's the way it once was and it's the way it always will be. Always. Spring will ALWAYS come.
Practice letting be what will be.
You don't need to worry. You don't need to fear. Everything is going to be ok.
At least on this Easter Sunday, try letting go. Try to just let be will be. Try to have faith.
Everything is going to be ok.