Monday, January 18, 2010

Reflecting on MLK Day

On days like today, on Facebook and many other outlets, we are reminded of the wisdom shared in the wonderful teaching of our country's greatest modern day prophet. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great theologian and advocate for the world's oppressed. It is easy to be captured by his charisma and powerful speaking ability; we shouldn't forget how brilliant and insightful he was as well. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from his writing and I learned another quotation I had not previously known.

"There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." (MLK from "Strength to Love")

A former professor of mine from seminary reminded me of this quotation today. These words are an accurate, stinging indictment. I think the church culture can be particularly guilty of promoting an attitude of "easy answers" which don't actually mean anything. Empty platitudes, cliche riddled perspectives, and cute aphorisms rarely do much but reinforce a status quote of either injustice or apathy. Nothing replaces thoughtful examination and reflection.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK

I wish I would have had this quotation available to me as I prepared yesterday's sermon. Among other illustrations, I used a portion of Dr. King's most famous speech as I chose the question "Why can't we dream?" as a driving force for my sermon. How can we look at the life of such a man and live with a pessimism or indifference which chokes our ability to dream?

I have truly enjoyed reading through the comments on Facebook and other blogs on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. His life continues to make a profound difference in the world.

Grace and peace,
James

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