The need for toughmindedness

“There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of softmindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce softminded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Strength to Love

silhouette of man standing on window
Photo Credit: Stanley Shashi

The immorality of our nation

“Millions of Americans are coming to see that we are fighting an immoral war that costs nearly thirty billion dollars a year, that we are perpetuating racism, that we are tolerating almost forty million poor during an overflowing of material abundance. Yet they remain helpless to end the war, to feed the hungry, to make brotherhood a reality; this has to shake our faith in ourselves. If we look honestly at the realities of our national life, it is clear that we are not marching forward; we are groping and stumbling; we are divided and confused. Our moral values and our spiritual confidence sink, even as our material wealth ascends. In these trying circumstances, the black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws — racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be face.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. “A Testament of Hope” (published posthumously)

The work still to be done

“And I submit that nothing will be done until people of good will put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference. Yes, it will be a poor people’s campaign. This is is the question facing America. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. America has not met its obligation and its responsibilities to the poor.

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The simplicity (and complexity) of the Kingdom of God

This concept can’t be avoided in Scripture (though we do a good job of trying). The gospel, the Kingdom, is this simple (and yet, this difficult):

“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Ps. 82:2-4)

Too often we have v. 2 down cold in our lives and practice. It is verses 3-4 we too often find ourselves failing.

The simplicity of the Kingdom of God is to keep our hearts and eyes and actions toward the marginalized. This is our great difficulty. We fail too often.

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Dr. King and our continual call

I will continually go back to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on this weekend. Every time I draw something new from his challenge to folks like me… white moderates. I hear his rebuke to me more clearly each time.

I will continually draw from Dr. King throughout the year. This is a lesson I’ve established in these past few years, especially since moving to Alabama. His works and books on his life’s work are ever in front of me.

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The winnowing process of the Kingdom of God

There are two passages of Scripture I came through in my reading this week that describe what I am “seeing” in prayer during this time in our culture and the American Church.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. 3:12)

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