Letter from Birmingham (not the jail though)

Dear reader, I have decended into a pit of internet organization - I hope to soon return.  I have been migrating contacts, calendars, and emails from Outlook to Google and it has not been pretty.  The corpses of csv files and icalendar spreadsheets litter the office floor.  I will return!  But until then, I just want to say...

That today is one of those days where we (I say we as a white alabamian) are asked to re-evaluate where we are in life.  I have many friends who inwardly, if they don't show it, are frustrated with a.) The fact "they'd" give Martin Luther King, Jr. his own day. b) the fanfare that comes along with our first African-American President (read: non-white).

And to those people (and to you, dear reader, who obviously don't have those feelings), I offer this...

First, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a godly man.  A good man, and and was simply doing what he felt was right.  I don't think he was looking for fanfare or critical acclaim.  He just wanted the same opportunities for his children as any other child in America.  Where we are now is a result of his efforts - This is a win-win situation for everyone.  Its not like America has handed over control of the country to some crazy man.  If anything, it shows that we have overcome a lot of the racism that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr fought so hard against.  

Have you ever read his letter from Birmingham Jail?  Its incredible.  I think its one of the best written modern accounts of how Christianity should change a soul.  its a callenge - articulate and percise.  

One of his best known quotes from said letter:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Wow.  I think I've heard Americans use that statement in describing our reasoning for implanting democracy (forcefully) into other countries.  But Dr. King was convicted to work for justice for his fellow Americans.

You know, its not pleasant being on the recieving end of someone who is Godly.  Someone who is right, when you are wrong.

Sure, I might not personally have been one of the clergy who thought it was wiser to uphold the status quo than challenge the system.  But I feel that if I can put myself in their shoes so easily, I can also to myself in the shoes of Dr. King (another clergy).

I don't have anything ground breaking to add.  I just wanted to say thanks.  Thanks for having some guts.  Thanks for making our country better.  Thanks for being a wonderful example of how to love all people - not just one ethnicity or another.

Now, for Obama, history has not shown yet whether he is a godly man.  Or a good man.  He will be in my prayers, I wish him the best.  He is charismatic enough, I believe he is intelligent enough, and if there is anyone who can succeed in pulling America from this economic, spiritual, and social malaise, it just might be Obama.

My hope is that we will stand behind our country.  And that means standing behind our President.  But I also remind you that I am a Christian first, and will stand behind the one man who truly changes souls.  Dr. King knew him, and I hope you will too.


  1. Good post, Jack. Have you read King's A Time to Break Silence (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm). I think it is his best, most thoughtful, and most courageous speech and it's also one we never remember when we have MLK Day -- perhaps we don't remember it because it still indicts mainstream America today. So we remember his pre-1964 segregation stuff, but rarely do we remember his speeches and writings when he broaden his message to include issues of violence and economic disparity. I wonder if we do the same thing to Jesus with the uncomfortable parts of his teachings? Do we dismiss him by deifying him? Do we dismiss King by giving him his own holiday where we can hear the I Have a Dream speech for the millionth time?

    What do you think?

  2. I think you are really onto something. Its easier to catagorize and shelf someone who questions our life than interact with them constantly.

    I used to hear (in my little churches) grumblings of February being black history month. People would sometimes make one of two comments: "I can't wait til February is over so I don't have to listen to all this stuff" or "Where is white history month?" to which i loved to respond, umm, its usually the other 11 months of the year.

    Anyway...making piddly time concessions of King or Jesus is a dangerous proposition. With King, I think some people do it to get other folks off their back or make their conscience feel better. With God, I think they think he's some kind of pansy or something.

    I haven't read that speech but I hope to read it soon.


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