Ministry often seems like a very placid vocation. We engage with congregants as they heal from their surgeries. We attend birthday parties and anniversary celebrations, officiate weddings, and baptize babies and adults.
We Americans think of ourselves as advanced, at least technologically. The images of the first man on the moon, put there by American ingenuity and organization less than 200 years after the country's founding, can still thrill.
Last week, I went back to Oberlin for my 50th reunion where much of the weekend was a celebration of our graduation ceremony in 1965, whose commencement speaker was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Imagine what his prophetic voice might have accomplished had he lived into the 21st century.
In the face of the systematic racism of America's policing and prison system as well as crippling poverty that disproportionally affects the black community, how does non-violence work to actually solve the root of the problem? Or does it work at all?
Despite their persistent attempts to make it so, Dr. King was not merely a passive Black leader; he was a radical revolutionary whose vision of a racially and economically equitable society has yet to be realized.
Today, as we ponder Dr. King's legacy, we should understand the important role of government in ensuring fair opportunities for upward mobility, and we should welcome creative extremists in that just cause.
We've finally emerged from the crash of 2008. We've had 58 consecutive quarters of job growth. Unemployment is declining. Productivity is up. Yet, most Americans aren't exactly high-fiving each other. Never mind the state of the union; the state of their households isn't great.
Central to King's philosophy was the idea that men and women of all races deserve the dignity of work, the right to earn more than poverty wages. And he knew that goal was not attainable without full-throated worker voice.
"Maybe I sinned, and maybe I need to ask forgiveness," said Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has been lauded by conservatives for his resistance to paying fees for illegally grazing his cattle on government land since 1993, in an interview on CNN on Friday.
Long after the colored eggs are eaten, and the Easter bonnets stored away, the message remains that, as followers of Jesus, we are freed to work for liberation and freedom, do justice and seek peace and wholeness in his name.
On the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the activist Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a prophetic dream. He dreamed that his children would one day live in a world where justice would indeed be reality for all.