[This blog was originally written on April 3, 2011, the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech - given the night before he was assassinated. Moving beyond confronting racism, King had expanded his work to speak out against the war in Vietnam and to address issues of economic injustice. In a crowded church in Memphis, TN, he spoke about his intention to march in solidarity with that city's sanitation workers (black & white) who were on strike to protest low pay and poor working conditions.]
On this night in 1968, MLK delivered his last speech. He was shot and killed the next day.
These are words that haunt, inspire, challenge, and motivate me. I see signs of this kind of radical Christianity, this kind of critical patriotism, and this kind of unabashed spiritual boldness in various places around the world, but not so much in the country I call home. What happened?
(The clip above is the final minute/climax of the speech. Here’s a clip of the full speech.)
Are we afraid to speak truth to power? Have we become domesticated?
Perhaps I really am my pants.Guess maybe I should just stick with the program, get back to watching Friends/Lost/Seinfeld/Grey’s Anatomy/Trading Spaces/Dexter/Breaking Bad, buy some of the stuff they advertise, lose myself in some Angry Birds or Farmville, go to some mega-church and sing a bunch of praise songs and hear a feel-good sermon, go to some Americanized “yoga-as-exercise” classes, and otherwise
…assume the position.”
I haven’t seen much in the way of a reclamation of Rev. King’s prophetic, justice-oriented, spiritual intensity.
Have you? Again, “Discuss.”
Update: 4/4/14: The Christian Left’s Facebook page is now over 163,000; a “Nuns on the Bus” movement has arisen; a new pope has been breathing fresh life into his denomination; a growing number of states have allowed for legal recognition of marriages for homosexual citizens; and a series of “Moral Mondays” rallies in Raleigh, NC have been taking place.