Monday, January 17, 2011

Before MLK got to the "I have a dream" part...

I love words. And I love it when people use them with skill and passion. Martin Luther King Junior was a genius when it came to the words that he used to convince a nation that the time had come to change our perspective on the issue of segregation in this country. If you haven't read the speech in a while, I would encourage you to take a few moments and read the full text of his "I have a dream" speech here or you can watch the full 17 minute video here. The last half of the speech contains the most famous content.  But the beginning is equally as brilliant.  I've included below a few of my favorite sections from the lesser-known first half of the speech.

  • We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us, upon demand, the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
  • Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
  • In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
I pray that we will continue to make progress in the areas of justice and racial reconciliation in America. I'm so grateful for the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and the change that his words and his example enacted. 

1 comment:

Danny Lucas said...

Read a lot on MLK this Day of Dedication to him.

The best of the best on what he said regarding the church was this:

"The Judgment of God is Upon the Church"
Martin Luther King, from his April 16, 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

"There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust"

~~~ Martin Luther King, 1963

Nearly 50 years later, nearly all Christian denominations have been dragged through scandal and reprehensible deeds.

To those yet unaccused, the Light of the World is still shining, and what has been done in darkness will be revealed.

The Judgment of God is upon the Church. The full blogpost of NEW WOOD can be found here: