Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr.

Deconstructing My “White” Christian Self, Part 3

It’s been February.

Black History month.

For thirty plus years that didn’t mean much to me.

But now with two black children from Ethiopia, I have come to care deeply about this month.

It’s an opportunity for me to lean in and listen to those who have suffered from America’s original sin of racism.

For the last three years during Black History month, I’ve been reading through Bearing the Cross by David Garrow, a Pulitzer award winning bio-epic of Dr. King and the history of the Civil Rights movement.

This book has been like a hammer in terms of deconstructing my “white” Christian self…and theology.

Truth, I’m learning, is largely situated.

All of us absorb like moons the cultures we live in.

There is an inevitable cultural transference.

From those over us like parents and pastors.

To those around us like our peers and pop culture icons.

Not to mention the places we inhabit.

Like our churches and schools and neighborhoods.

Growing up in an evangelical, middle class, suburban culture, for example, I certainly absorbed a particular worldview.  Those who passed it onto me did so with a genuine desire to see me respond to the call of discipleship.

I am so thankful for this.

But having said that, I never had a Dr. King speak into my life early on. Continue reading Deconstructing My “White” Christian Self, Part 3

Simple Sabbath: The Kingdom of God

Luther in Worms

When Martin Luther stood confidently before the Diet of Worms in 1521, he was emboldened by his devotion to the Word of God. Luther lived much of his early life oppressed by the guilt and burden of religion. But a careful reading of God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit offered him freedom. Luther achieved liberty by faith in Jesus Christ. His voice sparked the Protestant Reformation. Yet, Luther faced an almost certain death unless he would recant and soften his position on the authority of Scripture. His response was this:

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God.

Some 450 years later, another Martin would initiate a fire of change in America. Martin Luther King, Jr. became an iconic figure of the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King preached nonviolence in a war against segregation and discrimination. He was committed to non-retaliation; he preached the merits of love and a passion for peaceful, civil disobedience. And the backlash was intense – Dr. King was sharply criticized by both blacks and whites. He was beaten and struck with bricks; his house was bombed, and ultimately he was assassinated.

Both Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. suffered persecution as they prompted and promoted change.  But it was not only they who suffered—men and women who chose to follow these great leaders suffered consequences for their commitments to truth and justice. They understood that to share a leader’s vision meant that they might share in his persecution as well.

Admirer or Follower?

I have been greatly intrigued by the biographies of both of these great men.  Studying the contexts of their lives and the effects of their ministries inspires me.  I am staggered what they endured.  I admire them greatly.  But to be honest, I don’t know if I could have followed them. Why? I am a chicken at heart.  Daily, I pray for the grace to overcome obstacles that cripple my pursuit of truth. I want God’s will. I want to do more than admire the right path; I want to follow it.

The study of the Kingdom of God proposes a question for each person. Are we satisfied to be admirers of Jesus, or are we willing to become followers?  What are the implications of being a fully devoted follower of Christ?

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: The Kingdom of God