Today, we are observing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday here in the U.S. While listening to one of Dr. King’s speeches on cable television this afternoon, I was scrolling through my “content and ideas” folder for this blog and came across a quote from an episode of the long running western and television series Bonanza: “Sometimes the truth cost a great deal, but never less than the cost of hiding it.” [Ref 1]
As I continued to listen to Dr. King’s speech, I was reminded that he put his life in harms way a number of times before he was ultimately killed by an assassin’s bullet. This is the ultimate price that many leaders have paid to advance their cause or the cause of those they were fighting for. I also remember that Dr. King and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement challenged America’s consciousness and moral fiber.
Now, back at the ranch: Bonanza aired on NBC and ran for 14 years. The series first aired in 1959, and the setting was 1859, before the Civil War, and before Nevada was granted statehood. Bonanza differed in many ways from the dozens of other westerns that were airing around the same time. The stories and episodes often evolved around the characters more so than focusing on action, although there was plenty of that. Good and bad weren’t always as simple as “black hats” vs. “white hats”. And there were many times when good people didn’t live happily ever after.
The show’s cast and characters, and the evolving episodes presented human nature at its best and worst. Given the difference in time from the show’s setting and now, much of human nature and the issues that came with it back then have changed very little unlike modern day infrastructure, cities, cars, technology, and a shift from an agrarian to a service economy. And if the truth is to be told, much of human nature has not changed in thousands of years! Although telling the truth may have been costly for Dr. King, America would have paid an even higher price had he and others not challenged this country to be a better place to live for all of its citizens when they did.
A few years ago, I was introduced to some concepts from the blogger, James Ryle. A particular post, Healthy Things Grow, from his blog, Rylisms reminds readers that [Ref 2]:
1. Healthy things grow.
2. Growing things change.
3. Changing things challenge us
4. Challenging things force us to trust God.
5. Trust leads to obedience.
6. Obedience makes us healthy, and
7. Healthy things grow!
Why does changing things challenge so many of us? Yes, there is good change and bad change. However, even good change proves to be a formidable task and horrific challenge for many. Fear of the unknown has created fictitious evil monsters in the minds of many. I also respect the fact that not all of my readers may believe in God, so I ask, who do you trust when challenged?
As this day draws to a close, I am once again reminded that the truth may cost a great deal, however, hiding it cost even more.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. From the episode “Right is the Fourth R” of the long running television series and western, Bonanza, March 7, 1965
2. Healthy Things Grow, James Ryle, From the blog Rylisms, September 2, 2008, http://jamesryle.blogspot.com/2008/09/healthy-things-grow.html