Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

if you've never listened to one of the greatest speeches in American history, don't let today go by without feeling the weight, momentum, conviction and hope of this man's words- there is a fire in him that i long to connect with. this morning i got up early to read about his life and understand the times a little bit more. we need his message today as much as we needed it in the civil rights movement. we have come so far and we have so far to go. what i love about his dream was that it was to bring the Kingdom of God through a social justice that was a beautiful and radical vision of humankind in partnership with the divine:
"Both man and God, made one in a marvelous unity of purpose through an overflowing love as the free gift of himself on the part of God and by perfect obedience and receptivity on the part of man, can transform the old into the new and drive out the deadly cancer of sin." (from his Strength to Love, 134)

4 comments:

pedro said...

Yeah, every time I watch/listen to the "I Have a Dream" speech, I get chills. I love King's use of Biblical metaphor. It is entirely appropriate that his message is inspired by the Prophets, a section of the Biblical cannon that espouses justice on every page.

elnellis said...

every year MLK Day rolls around, i feel my interest in him rise and also feel shame at how little i know about this monumental figure in history. this year i decided to let my curiosity lead me to learning and did a bunch of reading on him at 5am yesterday.
wikipedia has a great article on him, the events and governmental conspiracies around his death are fascinating and maddening.
my sons "gave" me a book for christmas that i found at a second hand shop called "Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries, and Other Christians in Disguise"- the author brilliantly weaves the stories and theologies of a few of these prominent figures- men and women who were critiqued, excommunicated, had their books burned, etc... in their day but are now lauded as some of the most important thinkers of the time. most interestingly, he describes some of these subversive christians as the harshest critics of modernity.
anyways, Robert Inchausti has a chapter on ML King. it's brilliant and describes his social theological and philosophical competency. very good stuff.
(other thinkers in the book are dorothy day, jaques ellul, walker percy, g.k.chesterton, william blake, kierkegarrd, amongst others...

Aaron said...

phil, thanks for this. i, too, have been intrigued with MLK but have never taken the time to read about him or even see this speech in its entirety.

i found myself encountering two things during this video:

1) a sense of shock that this happened almost within our own lifetime (or, at least, within our parents' lifetime). on the one hand it seems worlds away to have signs marked "whites only", yet on the other hand i know there is much more work to be done in this area.

2) i was humbled as i wondered where i would have stood on this issue had i been caught up in it. hindsight is easy, but many times i'm swayed by the crowd at the cost of living the ethics of the Kingdom. humbling, and it makes me say, "your kingdom come" all the more and hope that i can have the courage and commitment to play some small part in its coming...

elnellis said...

i hear you fats! definitely resonate with both of those points.
p