Thursday, January 24, 2013

Martin Luther King & Modern Life

I didn't get to participate in Martin Luther King observances this year; I had meetings scheduled, day and evening.  Yes, on a holiday.  But I continue to be grateful that Columbia offers not just one, but several ways to recognize not only King's birthday but his ideas and legacy.  And I plan to be at the evening Walk next year.

I was reminded of that, and induced to post today, because of another blogger's comments about King and Les Miserables, which Mary and I saw almost a week ago.  A lot has been written on the religious perspective exhibited in Les Miserables.  I particularly remember an analysis from several years ago, suggesting that the English-language version was more explicitly Christian than the French original.

Jarrod McKenna suggests, after viewing the new movie, that there is a grace at work, seeking to convert and transform the world, and that it is fairly consistent with King's views about the need to transform American society and its institutions.

McKenna uses the "S-word" (no, not that one!) - "socialism" - to describe King's preferred direction; King himself used the term, but in a very particular way.  Labels, of course, have the unfortunate ability to be co-opted and then turned into something they didn't originally mean.

So read more on what King believed, from friend (and my blogging inspiration) Wes Ellis.  Wes suggests - as others have this year and as several do annually, that our society as a whole often misinterprets or even intentionally overlooks what King actually stood for.

A shout-out to Wes, by the way, for comments on my last post.  Somehow, I'm having trouble responding.  So know that you've been heard, my friend.  And I hope you and Amanda have a great semester at Princeton!

Finally, periodically I have discussions about what our church should do or say, how we should be present and active in the world around us.  Our church isn't alone in that.  And our denomination's ordination service confesses the usual dilemma by having new ministers promise to be "zealous in maintaining both the truth of the gospel and the peace of the church."  That's a tough line to walk!

So I was informed and challenged by Kimberly Knight's latest post, particularly the story she shares from someone she's recently met.

I'm sometimes asked why a church should - or needs to - identify publicly as Open & Affirming of lgbt persons.  Shouldn't that be obvious because we're a church?  Won't it too closely connect us with one issue, instead of the whole range of life?  What about the people who "aren't there yet"?

Read Knight's post, and be convicted by the pain suffered, the surprising barrier raised.  If for no other reason, a church needs to discuss and decide on being Open & Affirming in order to learn what the Bible really says (and does not say), so that innocent people won't be hurt like that.


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