Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

One of my 2012 New Year’s resolutions was to celebrate EVERY holiday on the calendar (even the ones that usually are just passed over without much thought such as Earth Day and Columbus Day). So yesterday was Martin Luther King Day. To tell you the truth, I didn’t celebrate it with as much oomph as I should have. I know there were service venues and memorial walks that I could have attended but didn’t. Sometimes a day off is a day off and that’s all you want.

I did do something (small as it was, but something nonetheless). Camm has the book Why We Can’t Wait  by Martin Luther King, Jr. I snatched it from him and spent a little time thumbing through it. Here I am going to write some quotes I particularly liked as a little tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who sacrificed so much fighting for equality.

“Human beings with all their faults and strengths constitute the mechanism of a social movement. They must make mistakes and learn from them, make more mistakes and learn anew. They must taste defeat as well as success, and discover how to live with each. Time and action are the teachers” (p. 43).

I make mistakes regularly, but am I learning everything I could from them? Probably not. I think this is a great reminder to really look at the mistakes I make and figure out how to do better. How can I use those mistakes to help make the world better?

“Somehow God gave me the power to transform the resentments, the suspicions, the fears and the misunderstanding I found that week into faith and enthusiasm. I spoke from my heart, and out of each meeting came firm endorsements and pledges of participation and support. With the new unity that developed and now poured fresh blood into our protest, the foundations of the old order were doomed. A new order was destined to be born, and not al the powers of bigotry or Bull Connor could abort it” (p. 68).

Am I seeking from God the ability to translate my negative feelings into faith and enthusiasm? That’s the only way that I can ever make a difference.

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity” (p. 86).

Though so much has changed since Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote this text, we still have far to go until men are truly equal. Now is the time to do something about it.

“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’ an ‘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.”

Am I willing to be ridiculed for doing the right thing? Do I do the right thing despite opposition?

“No one could discuss racial justice with President Eisenhower without coming away with mixed emotions. His personal sincerity on the issue was pronounced, and he had a magnificent capacity to communicate it to individuals. However, he had no ability to translate it to the public, or to define the problem as a supreme domestic issue. I have always felt that he failed because he knew that his colleagues and advisers did not share his views, and he had no disposition to fight even for cherished beliefs.”

Am I ever guilty of believing in something yet doing nothing about it? That’s not real belief. If I truly believe in something, I should be motivated to do something despite challenges or ridicule.

I hope these quotes are inspiring to you as they are to me. Let us always remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us and strive to sacrifice ourselves to fight for freedom.

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