Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy…

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Faith, Reviews


In the next post on the series from Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel we look at the legacy of Dr. King, and what is was about the man and his words that is so starkly different from other civil rights leaders then (and now)?

The author makes an argument that he spoke much like Old Testament prophets: “pointing out sin and judgment, warning of the justice of God.” And there certainly were many similarities, whether intentional or not on Dr. King’s part.

But there’s something else…something important for ALL of us, and something quite different that ‘leaders’ of today (civil rights and others) who wish only to pit one group against another. The author explains it like this:

He did not simply speak about his opponents. He could have done so easily, in African-American churches, about how awful American race relations are and about who’s to blame. He did more than that. He spoke to his opponents, directly to their conscience. He preached to Americans with the words they said they believed, from Jefferson and Madison and Lincoln, of self-evident truths and unalienable rights. And he preached to Christians the words of Amos and Isaiah and Jesus…

Did you catch that? He didn’t speak about his opponents, and didn’t seek to divide. He spoke to them, and in ways that would reach them (as opposed to Malcolm X, for instance, whose rhetoric the author characterizes as “[preaching judgment] in harshly nationalistic Islamic terms.” Terms that wouldn’t resonate with nearly the numbers of people Dr. King’s message did.

Earlier today I posted to Facebook about a response I’d seen posted by someone on (of all places) LinkedIn that really captured where we are as a society, socially and politically. The original post was a political meme (almost always divisive, btw), but with a twist: the poster was asking about why some would say this particular thing. What happened instead is very few people read her questions, instead lambasting her, in quite harsh terms, for posting such a thing. This was the example comment:

rude comment

What I pointed out is that it seems the default setting these days seems to be reacting with vitriol and insult when disagreeing with a statement rather than discussing or even considering the other side, let alone even bothering to read what was actually asked or stated. I’ve seen it on both sides of the political aisle with various talking points, rather than discussing the actual details of the issues.

…and it makes me yearn for another Dr. King. It really does.

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