MLK Jr. Day

One year ago today I was speaking in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill during President Barack Obama’s Inauguration events. What a crazy time this past year has been. As Martin Luther King Jr. quotes have been flying around all day, here’s my favorite; and one that has shaped a huge part of how I frame my life and work (this excerpt comes from my book):

“Christians need to start willfully planting themselves in the middle of some very uncomfortable places—making a conscious commitment to stay in that place with the GLBT community. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was locked up in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. In a letter to confront his fellow white clergymen, MLK reflected on his life’s work to that point and said: “I must confess that I am not afraid of the world tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension my whole life, but there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension which is necessary for growth.”

I’m going to be real right now—the Christian community has been running from that constructive, non-violent tension for too long when it comes to gays and lesbians. The productive growth that MLK was talking about only comes retrospectively, after much time has been spent immersed in tension filled areas with what we are most uneasy about. Those tension-filled areas are cloudy, uncomfortable, confusing, overbearing, uneasy and in many times extremely painful. And they’re worth every minute for the kingdom we so boldly claim ourselves to be a part of.”

Much love.

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  • Brad Grammer

    Thanks so much for sharing this Andy. I heartily agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. I think I have grown so much over the years because I’ve constantly been in tension with good people who have taught me much and I hope I’ve been able to pass along some insights as well. It takes me back to a professor in my undergraduate that expressed that without conflict, there is no growth. I’m sure many people have said this or quoted it but I think MLK was saying the same thing. I hope for a country where we can grow to be in tension in healthy ways rather than hate each other because we don’t agree on important matters.

  • Mrs T

    I went to a MLK program at the history museum today. We forget how Christian he was. The news media downplays it, but I was glad to see the activities today(skits, music, & speech)emphasized the Christian aspect of his mission, which is what it was! Yes, he had his faults, but God still used him in his short life.
    He even touched a white dude, born after his death, to reach a mostly white demographic!! Keep it up!!!!

  • I hope to be reading about you in the history books some day, Andrew. I think you’re every bit as courageous as Martin Luther King.