Sunday, March 04, 2007

MLK - Six Weeks Late

Dan Franklin's post "MLK - One Week Late" just over a month ago really put MLK Jr. on the radar for me - hence the inspiration for the title of this post.

The following is a quote from a book that caught my eye as I was walking through the library to study for Physics:
"Emphasis on the role of a civil rights activist, Gandhi's influence, and Afro-American culture has tended to obscure King's debt to Christian theology and ethics except for the studies by a few interpreters. 'King was regarded'" Herbert Richardson has written, 'as a civil rights leader and as a man of extraordinary personal valor, but he has not been understood as a brilliant and mature theologian: the first two would, however, have been impossible without the first third.'"

-Kenneth L. Smith in "Search for the Beloved Community: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr."
All fault for personal ignorance is my own, but being exposed to MLK Jr. Day year after year in America, I have heard and seen excessive amounts on the prior two and very little on the latter third. Beloved Community was published in 1974. Thirty-three years later, the impact of the misconception Smith spoke of can be clearly seen in societies disproportioned value on the actions of MLK Jr.'s life. Even more devastating is how this skewed view has been similarly embraced among Christians. Yes, he was a pastor, that blatant fact is not brushed over. But...

How did his Christian world view influence his actions?

What theology did he understand that was so misunderstood by other Christians of the time to allow for acceptance of such atrocities?

What Scripture so overwhelmingly convicted this man to dedicate his life to carry out God's rescue plan on earth in such a drastic way?

How can he be an example to Christians to be more like Jesus in our day brimming with social injustice?

Through volunteering at Nightstrike and my Education Practicum at Glenfair Elementary School, God has put the chasms of social/economic status found in our world on my heart. I have developed quote a few thoughts on this subject - which I would like to get some feedback on - so check back in a week or so.

David Knepprath

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