Helen Keller spoke (literally, yes she did) on faith

In 1951, on an Edward R. Murrow radio broadcast, Helen Keller, assisted by Polly Thompson, spoke to the nation. The brilliant Ms. Keller, it turns out, though she never heard a human voice including her own, was able to learn to speak though she rarely did so, at least in public because she thought her voice must sound unsuitable to the ears of those who could speak without effort. I did not find a recording of this broadcast, but there are audio and video recordings of her speaking. I’d call it a beautiful voice. And her use of it I’d call miraculous. The assistance Ms. Thompson gave her was not to speak for Ms. Keller, but to repeat what she had said for the sake of clarity to ears not tuned in to Helen Keller’s voice.

“…faith is not one thing or two or three things; it is an indivisible totality of beliefs that inspire me….”

Helen Keller
Polly Thompson (left), Helen Keller (right)

On Murrow’s broadcast, part of a “This I Believe” series, Ms. Keller spoke on faith. Here is a transcription of what she said, from the heart and down to earth; yet theologically sophisticated in every respect.

I choose for my subject faith wrought into life, apart from creed or dogma. By faith I mean a vision of good one cherishes and the enthusiasm that pushes one to seek its fulfillment regardless of obstacles.

Faith is a dynamic power that breaks the chain of routine and gives a new, fine turn to old commonplaces. Faith reinvigorates the will, enriches the affections and awakens a sense of creativeness.

Active faith knows no fear, and it is a safeguard to me against cynicism and despair. After all, faith is not one thing or two or three things, it is an indivisible totality of beliefs that inspire me–

• Belief in God as infinite good will and all seeing wisdom whose everlasting arms sustain me walking on the path of life.
• Trust in my fellow human beings, wonder at their fundamental goodness and confidence that after this night of sorrow and oppression they will rise up strong and beautiful in the glory of morning.
• Reverence for the beauty and preciousness of earth, and a sense of responsibility to do what I can to make it a habitation of health and plenty for all.
• Confidence in immortality because it renders less bitter the separation from those I have loved and lost, and because it will free me from unnatural limitations and unfold still more faculties I have in joyous activity.

Even if my vital spark should be blown out, I believe that I should behave with courageous dignity in the presence of fate and strive to be a worthy companion of the Beautiful, the Good and the True. But fate has its master in the faith of those who surmount it, and limitation has its limits for those who, though disillusioned, live greatly.

True faith is not a fruit of security; it is the ability to blend mortal fragility with the inner strength of the Spirit. It does not shift with the changing shades of one’s thought.

Helen Keller
Edward R. Murrow

We should stop patting ourselves on our backs for getting plastics into recycling bins.

Click this link to connect to a 2547808National Geographic blog post dated April 4 of this year.  I’m beginning to wonder from an environmental perspective if we can justify the use of plastics at all.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Plastic (and Recycling)

Metal and glass can be recycled over and over again, infinitely.  Many plastics can’t be recycled at all, and when we put them in our bins to be carried away by our recycling services they’re still going to end up in the ocean killing off marine life and polluting the Planet’s water supply.

I’m somewhat eco-savvy, and I had no idea about plastic facts.  I’m actually alarmed.

This list appeared in The Guardian (US edition, March 16, 2018):

Top items that people wrongly think can be recycled

  • Hand soap pump dispenser tops
  • Non-paper gift wrap
  • Coffee cups
  • Plastic bags
  • Tissues
  • Wine glasses
  • Glass cookware
  • Window glass
  • Straws
  • Greasy takeaway pizza boxes
  • Soft plastic/laminated foil packaging such as pet food and baby food pouches
  • Photo paper
  • Nail varnish bottles
  • Post-it notes
  • Shampoo bottles and food containers that have not been rinsed
  • Tissue boxes where the plastic insert has not been removed
  • Plastic toys
  • Mirrors
  • Cutlery
  • Pots and pans

Respecting the Office of the US President Doesn’t Require Endorsing the Behavior of the Person Holding the Position

August 28, 2018

Mr. Tiger Woods                                                                                                                              Any Renowned Golf Course, USA


Dear Mr. Woods,

As someone who highly esteems you because of your professional achievements and, more, for the relentless ways you confronted personal demons to rebuild your life after cracking foundations nearly demolished the whole structure, I can’t believe you publicly excuse Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and his love for white supremacists, which of necessity means hatred of people of color.  Perhaps you have no close connections to

Condemning policies of Trump when they are demoralizing and causing physical harm to your fellow Americans is not disrespectful to the Office of the President.

immigrants or, say, Black people.  No wait!  Do you not realize the help a simple paragraph from you condemning Trump’s policies could do?  Had your own mother originally tried to enter the US today, she might be waiting in a Homeland Security cage to be processed.  And Trump’s racism stirs the killing of innocent, unarmed Black youth in the streets by police who will never be prosecuted; you might have been a frightened Black kid coming out of a convenience store and running when police chased you for you-can’t-imagine-what, and the wrong policeperson at the wrong time wanting fame and Trump’s approval might have shot you–leaving an arm or a hand or heart nonfunctional.

Trump talks with Tiger Woods after he captured the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship PGA golf tournament in Doral

The Office of the US President is not a person; it is a political position filled by a person, a person like the rest of us.  When she or he acts in unbecoming ways, we do not OK them because they were done by the president.  In fact, because of the Office we hold the person in the role to the highest of standards.  You could have condemned and you still can condemn the policies of Trump when they are demoralizing and causing physical harm to your fellow Americans.  This is not disrespectful to the Office of the President; in fact, it would be one of the most respectful moves you could make.


David Albert Farmer


Justice Champion and True Statesperson, Senator John McCain: Condolences to the McCain Family and His Beloved Nation in Their/Our Great Loss


Mrs. Cindy McCain, Mrs. Roberta McCain, and Children of One of the United States’s Most Effective and Devoted Leaders,

Your loss and the loss to true Americans is immense.

I’m profoundly sorry for your loss.  Being in the spotlight surely makes carrying grief much more difficult than it is without the eyes of millions and millions watching you.

I and my congregation are holding you in our prayers and positive thoughts maintaining the belief that prayer is a type of “love energy” (in the words of theologian and historian, E. Glenn Hinson) whatever one believes about who or what God is; and not a way of trying to urge God to do something healing and helpful for you that God wouldn’t bother to do unless asked nicely.

Trump repulses me daily, but the worst of the worst comments he has made growing out of violent jealously of Senator McCain was that he didn’t consider the Senator a military hero because, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

I preached a sermon yesterday titled “The Death of Dignity.”  It was announced before Senator McCain’s death, but when the news of his transition to the next realm came the parallel struck me as amazing for indeed he was the epitome of dignity for the duration of his military and political careers, even in the face of spending his last days as a Senator having to work with a president who knows nothing about dignity.  The current president can’t command respect so he tries to buy loyalty and intimacy, and those connections are unraveling quickly at this very moment.  The only way to be treated with dignity is to earn it by being dignified, which means that the office of the president will completely lack dignity as long as Trump holds the position, which the Russians helped him purchase.

It is a second level tragedy in many ways and yet a powerful tribute in others that the strongest tributes to Senator McCain thus far are not coming from members of his political party, but from those identifying as members of the other major US political party.  This could only be happening because Senator McCain knew the difference between people and perspectives.  A strong person in every respect, he did not need to be surrounded by yes-women and yes-men.  He could have and did have close friends who differed with him politically.

Trump repulses me daily, but the worst of the worst comments he has made growing out of violent jealously of Senator McCain was that he didn’t consider the Senator a military hero because, “I like people who weren’t captured.”  Laughing at the torture of any American serviceperson is unconscionable, and one wonders why Mad Dog isn’t mad.  Though it must have stung deeply to have his sacrifice scoffed at, I hope Senator McCain and each of you knows how courageous he was and what a true American hero.  Nothing Trump says can alter that in any way.

Thank you for sharing him with us.  We are a better nation because of him and the dignity he displayed as well as the dignity he recognized in others, working for the common good.

David Albert Farmer

Trump’s Biracial Child…which doors did Trump’s doorman open?

Seven years ago, comic Tracy Morgan had people laughing at his claim that Trump, no apprentice to illegitimate sexual arrangements, fathered a child whose mother is a person of color.  Now, plenty of interested parties want to know if there could be more to such an assertion than comedic gold.

If Trump has another child or other children running around somewhere, we extend our deepest sympathies to her or him or them.

If there is a child born to a woman whom Trump did not marry, and let’s go with the only one theory for now, and that mother is a person of color, we have to hope that

  1. she consented to have sex with Trump, her employer
  2. she has been well-compensated from the get-go
  3. the child has been loved and well cared for all these years on Trump’s or Putin’s dimes or kopeks
  4. she or he, the child, didn’t know until adulthood the identity of her or his white-supremacist father

In the larger picture, we also hope that

  1. Mrs. Trump no longer or never did expect her husband to treat her as other than someone deserving of disloyalty and humiliation
  2. the court jester, RUDE-y Giuliani, chokes on his own saliva the next time he implies that Ms. Clifford is a less principled person than Trump because she has sex in front of cameras
  3. Bill Clinton brings together “all” Trump’s illegitimate sex partners in front of Clinton’s family and international television audiences
  4. white supremacists whose asses Trump loves to kiss (male and female) are enraged at Trump though they publicly deny he would dare to have physical contact of any kind with an n-word (their language, not mine).tracy-morgan