Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr.

DON’T ADD TO THE UGLINESS!

riot

After Charlottesville’s disaster on Saturday, while waiting in my car for some friends with whom I was going into the park to try to love some people toward Jesus, I broke into tears. I just sat there and cried––overcome by the sadness of it all.

I’m appalled and grieved by the demonically inspired hate that one group of humans can have for another, by that hate turning violent and murderous, by our President’s wet noodle, obfuscating seesaw remarks about it, and by the adolescent rhetoric and sloganizing that, predictably, has followed in the media.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t about “free speech.” You can’t have “free speech” if someone brings a gun to intimidate those they despise. You can’t argue with the armed, especially if they have friends in the White House. Continue reading

Hitler’s Hair

 

Adolf Hitler

I couldn’t help but share a piece from Woody Allen’s book, Getting Even, and make a few select comments of my own.

Allen’s hilarious satire contains excerpts from what he calls the memoirs of Hitler’s barber named “Friedrich Schmeed,” whom he labels “the best-known barber in wartime Germany.” In one passage, Allen quotes the barber as saying: Continue reading

Social Justice = Social Gospel?

 

social_justice_sliderA certain radio talk show host made the audacious plea to his audience to leave their church if it used such profane watchwords such as, “social justice.”

“I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

He went on to say that social justice is political code for communism and Nazism: “Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That’s what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner … But on each banner, read the words, here in America: ‘social justice.’” Continue reading

Humanizing the Dehumanized & Mutualizing the Marginalized

king-quoteHumanizing the Dehumanized…

For a number of posts now the topic has surrounded “Reaching Rahabs,” the prostituted citizens of our own Jerichos. The question now is, how do we treat the dehumanized and marginalized?

Greed appeals to sex for sale          

At her expense, it mirrors hell

A grave inside a human’s mind

They lock the doors and close the blinds

A human life is thrown in a cage

Raped until death, then thrown away

Deeds in the dark the light reveals

And judgment comes when the blood is spilled

They even changed her name

They even changed her name

They even changed her name

Continue reading

Resisting Racism and Other Injustices the Jesus Way

A older white guy wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat asked my friend the other day, “Were you one of the NIGGERS rioting in Oakland last night?”

Troubling times. Very troubling. Solutions anyone?

selmaMartin Luther King Junior offered his own solution to troubling times called, “Nonviolence and Racial Justice,” which was printed in the Christian Century in February, 1957. The entire article is one of the greatest ever written on the subject of how a Christian or any morally anchored human resists evil. Part way through he defined “nonviolent resistance” in five precise points. I quote only the points and some of his explanations (without commentary from me). Read the rest of his article here.

First, this is not a method for cowards; it does resist…

The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which he protests as is the person who uses violence… This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually; it is nonaggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.

A second point is that nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding…

The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness. Continue reading

Providence, Prayer, and Protest

protestI said in a previous post that “’Liberty and justice for some’” isn’t a world we can tolerate, especially when we’re not included in “the some.’”

So, what can we do about it? What do our biblically informed consciences tell us? They say a few things, that God is sovereign and worthy to be trusted, they remind us to intercede in prayer, and they tell us to interfere with injustice with our mouths, feet, and hands.

I’ve heard a lot of social media talk during this election cycle about the first two; God’s sovereignty and how prayer is our primary responsibility to influence elections and social policy. I’m quite interested in those truths, believe in them (in a manner of speaking), and have a few things to say about them if you’re willing to listen.

Providence…

First of all, yes, God is in control, but that’s a far cry from him being controlling. I hear people say that at the end of the day God will have his way! No doubt about it, but only insofar as they’re referring to the “end of days,” not necessarily at the end of each day.

Yes, God will get his way in the very end of time, but to claim that he always gets his way in the meantime is to insinuate that it was his way for Hitler to murder six million Jews, for 800 million people in the world today to be starving, for nearly half a million people to die in the Syrian conflict so far, for radical Islamists to bomb, behead, and traffic millions of innocents, for millions of babies to be born with horrific maladies! None of that has anything to do with God’s way or will.

It’s an absurd claim that God will work it all out, at least by the end of this 24-hour cycle or even by the end of our lifetime. Sometimes, even oftentimes, he does. Thank you, Jesus! But it’s only in the hereafter where our tears and sorrows completely disappear and God’s will is done with perfection.

Prayer…

Pray, they say, and God will give us the President we should have. Yes, pray––pray a lot and pray with faith! But to expect him to finagle the Electoral College because he loves America so much or because enough people prayed is just being naïve. It’s simply not how he routinely manages his omnipotence.

I would concede that prayer is our first responsibility to hinder the work of hell and to cooperate with the release of heaven (Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…). It is not our last resort in hell hindering, but it is the first.

I wonder if prayer comes first so we can give the Creator a chance to inject his perspective of world events and at the same time identify our worldly attitudes about those events. In other words, when we pray for the world we don’t come with our agendas, infused with our politics and preferences. We come asking him to ask us to ask him for what he wants! We begin with saying, How should we pray for this mess, Lord? Give us your perspective on your tangled up world. “For we don’t know how to pray as we should…” (Romans 8)

I wonder how we’re doing in the “Thy will be done” department. Do we want what he wants or do we want what we think we need? Do we pray, not so much with a blank slate, but with a Scripture-filled slate, trusting him to do what we can’t do about the mess we find ourselves in?

And then I wonder if we’re engaging with the powers that influence the atrocities, greed, and inhumanity to man or are we too busy interceding for Aunt Sophie’s foot surgery and Uncle Orville’s toothache? Just wondering.

The best prayers are those that begin in the heart of God. He shows us how to pray about a certain matter, we do so, and when he answers we praise him! Prayer then is a partnership, a collaborative conquest over hell and for the release of heaven. So, yes, let’s pray.

Lastly, prayer is where we begin, but not where we end––not by a long shot!

Protest…

God is in control! Amen! So, we must pray for him to intervene. Amen and amen! But then what? He does often intervene, but in addition to prayer we have the responsibility to interfere with the black hole of inhumanity to man. Someone said, “If I pray for God to move a mountain, I must be prepared to wake up next to a shovel!”

Those who know me are aware that I’ve never been nearly so vocal about politics and politicians as I have been for the last year. I admit that a certain candidate, who will remain anonymous, if not infamous, suckered me into this. I simply couldn’t, in good conscience, stay out the fray, especially since so many of my brothers and sisters have ridden the T. Train through the campaign season.

Okay, so whether or not you agree with my assessment of this particular individual’s suitability for public service, please hear me out about our responsibility to do more than pray and sit back and wait for God to do his sovereign thing. Prayer doesn’t let us off the hook. It usually sets the hook (God’s hook) firmly in our mouths.

I’m glad that Lincoln and Wilberforce did more than pray about the abolition of slavery. I’m glad that Martin Luther King did more than pray about civil rights for Black Americans. I’m glad that Billy Graham did more than pray for people to come to Jesus!

We have to do more than pray that God will intervene. Empowered by the truth and by his presence we have to interfere with the world’s destructive direction. We who possess heavenly “firepower” must interfere––at the polls, with our pens (well, computing devices), and with our petitions. In addition to our prayer petitions sent to the Lawgiver we must utilize our right to petition our lawmakers, if not through letters and peaceful protest, at the very least, through the vote.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel

PS If you haven’t already, please consider getting my book, The Other End of the Dark. The profits go to Freedom House, a safe haven and therapeutic environment for women and girls who have survived commercial sexual exploitation. Supporting their work is one simple way to protest against the horrific injustice of human trafficking.

“What should we do?” (Part 3 of 3)

what-should-we-doIf we have power, we must use it to help the powerless.

While John was preaching hot and heavy about what authentic repentance looks like, three groups of people approached him with the same operative question, “What should we do?” Okay, Messiah’s coming and God will judge the unrepentant. His ax is ready for swinging, so what do we do to escape its cut? John tailored his responses to each group a little differently.

He told the hyper-religious group to share their food and clothing with the poor and he commanded the tax-collecting shysters to stop robbing their neighbors. The last baptismal candidates were soldiers. To them the prophet said:

“Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

These mercenary soldiers likely operated as the tax collectors’ muscle in their shakedowns of helpless fellow citizens. The Greek term that John used for “extort” means “to rob with violence.” They were so discontent with their take home pay that they resorted to leg-breaking for the IRS of the day. The preacher told them to live within their means with their state-issued paycheck and refrain from manipulating the powerless for extra cash.

I warn you not to dismiss John’s word just because you’re not in the Army or an enforcer for the mob! Like the soldiers, most of us have some power of some sort over someone, and how we steward that power says more about us than our possession of the power itself. How we use our power is reflective of have truly repentant we are. Continue reading