January 16, 2006


From Martin L. King, Jr.'s last speech in Memphis:

"We need all of you. And you know what's beautiful to me, is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel. It's a marvelous picture. Who is it that is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, and say, 'Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.' Somehow, the preacher must say with Jesus, 'The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor.'

... It's all right to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do."

I've been reading Cornel West lately. He refers often to being a "prophetic Christian" and MLK being an example of this. How badly do we need "prophetic leadership" as opposed to "professional leadership" currently? I think what happened during the civil rights movement was an instictive response to the Spirit; a call for the Body, the Church to stand prophetically in that time... MLK emdodied this certainly, but so did a large part of the Church in general. Interestingly, today I believe there is a growing response to that same prophetic instinct within the Church. It is being seen in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, we are subject to labelling and explaining the phenomenon in the western world-acting quite defensive-rather than taking the offensive approach that King and others took during the Civil Rights movement.

Father, may we be caught up in embodying your Message in this world rather than maquerading our own agendas in the same language. Amen.

Thanks, Mike.

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