The Creative Battle to End the Long Night…

This is not a political statement. 

Yesterday I struggled with this piece, with the meaning behind the poetry in the oration.  If you love mercy, seek to act justly, if you wish to walk humbly, may this move you today.

It will take 12 minutes and 30 seconds. I hope you take the time.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall overcome! — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Is there something you’ve read or heard lately that moved you?

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9 Responses to The Creative Battle to End the Long Night…

  1. Matt Brock says:

    That is truly great. I think it is a political statement, but much more than just that. What he fought for was what we all want and it boils down to love. There needs to be love behind all that man does, and that includes politics. I’m sure we all can agree. I am fascinated by the impact of spiritualism/Christianity as it relates to our political system and our leaders. There was a great article about this in a recent New Yorker article. I’ll try to find it and put a link.

    • sethhaines says:

      I suppose that my main point was that I did not intend this to be any reflection of political view on my part. Instead, I posted it as a representation of one who used his creative power to alter the course of human history.

      But ultimately, you are right. It is a political message and the central theme is the central theme.

      Glad you are still hanging out here Brock. I’d love to see your bride drop in from time to time. I like her too.

  2. God has used MLK Jr to shape our home and hearts this last year…as we study him we see Jesus. I wish I had the right words to convey how alone we feel in agreeing with him. Thanks for posting this and chipping away at that ever so…

    -Arianne

    • sethhaines says:

      Arianne,

      I cannot tell you how glad I am that you stopped by and shared this. I’d love to hear more about how MLK Jr. has been used to shape your family’s heart, how he’s drawn you closer to Jesus. I’d also love to hear more about how your agreement with him can feel like aloneness. The Spirit work can be so difficult to see, I think.

      For those of you who are new around here, check out the work Arianne is doing at http://tothinkistocreate.com. Stuff like this video will make it worth your time.

      • Seth, how his sermons have reached our family – MLK Jr truly lived out how the bible says God wants us to love all humanity, even our enemies. To accept that *every* man and woman is made in the image of God. He helped us truly know the love of God and how we are to love others (by pointing us to Jesus and scripture at every turn). Unconditional love is how we do it, whether we agree with them, or they are enemies (and I’m not talking about annoying neighbor enemies – real, deep, scary enemies). He is one of the few people you can look at and say “THAT is what God wants us to do”.

        It was fascinating to us to realize that we knew nothing of his philosophies beyond the civil rights movement. Why have we never heard of his preaching in our own churches? My own mother, raised in the 60’s, didn’t know MLK Jr was anti-war. How many preachers, if any, have you heard sharing the same messages about non-violence since his time? I’d truly like to know if you know of any. By the way, the book he wrote called Strength To Love was epic – highly recommend it.

        On why we feel alone? It’s not so much an alone that we wish wasn’t there – because it’s just what we expect as Jesus followers and all’s grace and all’s His glory. It’s more of an alone that we are sad it’s *this* radical (among Christians) to have these beliefs. See above non-violence talk for what I mean here.

      • sethhaines says:

        Good words. And you are asking a good question about those preaching passifism. It seems sometimes that we live in a culture in which political ideology and theology are so intertwined that it may be difficult to find a mainstream preacher (especially in the south where I live) who is thoughtfully urging the theological consideration of passifism. Maybe we could separate the political from the theological for a moment so that we can think about this topic more clearly. Then perhaps we could allow the Spirit to inform our politics, to the extent that we have any left after the fact.

        In looking at these topics, it may also be a good idea to consider preachers who talk about “just-war” doctrines (biblically speaking). Maybe this would create a good balancing point?

        I’m not sure I have an answer right now, but I’ll do some digging. Maybe we can find a few preachers. I somewhat wonder how LL’s preacher might approach this topic.

  3. It won’t let me reply in the thread – sorry!

    I’m in the South too, and it’s definitely “patriotic” in the themes. Of course I only say that because our beliefs are considered unpatriotic. But I lived years in the Midwest and the West Coast and, when it wasn’t the patriotic themes it was basically never talked about. As we search now to study all this, the void (of it even being talked about) is pretty surprising.

    We’ve studied the just-war theory and I’d be interested to see if you find any preachers sharing that message publicly. Our theory is that it’s not preached because it’s not actually biblical, but that’s just a hunch.

    I think me bringing up the anti-war stance was to bring up the lack of public discussion on the topic, but really when taken out of the political context, it’s about what does the bible say about killing, non-violence, peace and loving our enemies and turning the other cheek. These are the larger points, and they are the points MLK Jr preached on and they’re the issues that led him to his anti-war stance. His autobiography (which is a collection of his autobiographical writings, he never technically published an autobiography) actually details how he arrived at his philosophy of non-violence and non-violent resistance. It’s pretty fascinating.

    (thanks for letting me ruminate on this here without judgment…)

    p.s. who is LL?

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