What Kind of People Worship Here?

MLKjrOn Monday, we as a nation will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I thought it would be good that we, again, listen to the words of Dr. King from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” This excerpt, found in the later part of that marvelous and challenging letter, asks a simple but profound question: “What kind of people worship here?”  Are we a people of the Gospel that comforts the afflicted? Are we a Gospel people who stand with those on the margins? Are we a full Gospel people? Continue reading

Choosing

“You will be my people and I will be your God” Those are the words of a covenant, an oath, forever binding God and the descendants of Abraham, binding all who would believe. It is a covenant renewed some 400 years later under the leadership of Moses. It is the covenant that prophet Isaiah speaks about in the first reading – only it’s now another 700 years passed. For more than 1,000 years the people of Israel had understood that they, and they alone, were qahal Yahweh, the people of God. Understood that they, and they alone, were the inheritors of salvation and God’s justice. They were the people of the divine manifest destiny, privileged, and the chosen people. Continue reading

How Long?

Today someone asked me, referring to the recent events of Charlottesville and the WH response, “How long will this last?” It is a question that continues.

On March 25, 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a crowd of 25,000 marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of voting rights for African-Americans. At the conclusion of the march, King delivered this speech, familiarly referred to as “How Long, Not Long.” The speech was defiant at times, referencing the violence that beset the movement at the time. In fact, a previous march on March 7 was met with a violent response from state troopers who beat and gassed marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. King’s speech makes it clear that the movement cannot be dissuaded after coming so far, encouraging the people to keep up the struggle. Continue reading

What kind of people…?

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_4On Monday, we as a nation will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I thought it would be good that we, again, listen to the words of Dr. King from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” This excerpt, found in the later part of that marvelous and challenging letter, asks a simple but profound question: “What kind of people worship here?”  Are we a people of the Gospel that comforts the afflicted? Are we a Gospel people who stand with those on the margins? Are we a full Gospel people? Continue reading

Perseverance and Freedom

freedom-pastor-col-0705“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62) This saying of Jesus is at the root of a proverb, often quoted in communities struggling for freedom and justice:  “Keep your hand on the plow and hold on!”  Even in the ordinary of life, haven’t we all, at one time or another, put our hand to the plow and looked back?  Continue reading

Not yet….

popeTwo days ago, the 256-page, 60,000-word papal exhortation, The Joy of Love, was released to the waiting world. Since then, I have been asked for comments, quotes, opinions, and insight. Here is about all that I can respond: “Thanks for asking, but I haven’t had the chance to read it.” … or think about it, or pray about it, or muse about its content. So, have I read Pope Francis’ exhortation? Not yet. Continue reading

What Kind of People Worship Here?

MLKjrOn Monday, we as a nation will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I thought it would be good that we, again, listen to the words of Dr. King from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” This excerpt, found in the later part of that marvelous and challenging letter, asks a simple but profound question: “What kind of people worship here?”  Are we a people of the Gospel that comforts the afflicted? Are we a Gospel people who stand with those on the margins? Are we a full Gospel people? Continue reading

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_4On Good Friday, April 12th in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested with Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and other marchers in Birmingham, Alabama. At about that same time eight Alabama clergymen, while in some support of the goals, wrote a common letter decrying the methods and tactics of Dr. King and the movement for Civil Rights. Dr. King’s response was completed within days.  My favorite section follows: Continue reading