Are You Running With Me, Jesus? by Malcolm Boyd (Priest and Civil Rights Activist)I came across the Revd Malcolm Boyd when I read a small book of poetry and prose on gay couples.
Malcolm Boyd died earlier this year at the magnificent age of 91. He was an Episcopalian/Anglican priest with a long history of human rights and civil rights advocacy stretching back to the sixties when he participated in the civil rights movements and freedom rides.
He came out in 1977 and became a spokesman for gay rights risking his position and career. He was ordained in 1954 and wrote many books. He also knew how to reach people. In the 1960s he became known as the Espresso Priest for his religiously themed poetry reading sessions at a night club in San Francisco.
I am a romantic and it was his story about his partner that attracted me to this man. He met his partner, Mark Thompson, in the 1980s and they remained together until he died.
This book was first published in 1965 the year of my birth. It was considered ground breaking at the time because it was different to the formal prayers said in church. These prayers broke boundaries because they tackled gritty problems head on and are raw and urgent. These days this kind of prayer probably wouldnt raise any eyebrows (not in my church) because this kind of prayer is encouraged and appreciated but back in the sixties it was considered radical and gritty.
And these prayers are radical and gritty still, some of them written in the midst of the fire of the civil rights movement with honesty and emotion.
When he came out Malcolm Boyd had difficulty finding work at a church. He called it his wilderness time but he didnt give up and spent his life teaching and preaching and ministering to all. In 1984, he helped organise one of the first Christian masses for people with AIDS.
Desmond Tutu said that Boyds genius was to illustrate the presence of God even for those who say they do not believe in God.
And I have to say his life intrigues me because he was so radical and courageous and compassionate, and he also wrote about thirty books.
So I read this book of prayers as a way of beginning my study of this mans life. I believe there is much that I will learn from his life and perhaps things I can pass on to others as I continue to minister to people on the margins, but perhaps as well truths and lessons for people who arent marginalised.
This volume of prayer doesnt shock me the way it would have done people in 1965, but it encourages me to pray and to pray any where, any how and from who I really am. This book reminds me to pray.
So for me it is inspirational. Any life that is lived with such authenticity and courage is a life worth studying and I intend to do so.
Starting as I mean to go on!!
Everett McGill: Major Malcolm Powers
Audio is my main focus, technologically, but I frequently dabble in video. Usually goofy little clips I edit on my phone. When I realized how much video, exactly, I panicked. I encourage my students to take things slowly, to learn the three chord song before the twelve chord song. Instead, I forced myself to step back and assess where I was and what I needed to progress. I had to examine my goals and adjust my expectations. While I am a creative person with big ideas, my experience in the field of video production is limited.
Boyd's words are combined with musical themes by the late legendary jazz musician Vince Guaraldi. Over four weeks in a remarkable series of performances at the hungry i nightclub in San Francisco's North Beach captured the imagination of hip audiences and resonated around the world. Dick Gregory gave the stage to Guaraldi and Episcopal priest-author Boyd. Prayers, Beat poetry and jazz fused. Though covered by global media the performances were never recorded. Very few had an opportunity to experience this happening. Until now.
See a Problem?
Soul December 12, Death Awareness. If I should never see the moon again by Malcolm Boyd. If I should never taste the salt sea spray As the ship beats her course across the breeze. Or smell the dog-rose and new-mown hay, or moss or primroses beneath the tree. If I should never hear the thrushes wake Long before the sunrise in the glimmering dawn.