As we honor of the life and witness of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birth date, January 15th, and national holiday on January 21st, we offer this excerpt from an article he wrote in 1958. His call to "maladjustment" still rings true for all who strive to create the beloved community for our day.
Welcome to the 495th edition of Reformation Sunday! In the church in which I grew up, Reformation Sunday was kind of a big deal. It was the day when we confirmed groups of ninth graders who’d spent two or three years in Wednesday night confirmation classes. It was a morning for pulling out all the stops on the organ and hiring extra string and brass players. It was a day for preaching doctrine, talking about justification by grace through faith, and congratulating ourselves on being Lutherans. A lot has changed.
When Mitt Romney infamously belittled 47 percent of Americans, he was not exactly being an elitist. A lot of people imagine broad swaths of the country occupied by lazy moochers and freeloaders. They could work if they wanted to, but they prefer to sit in poorly lit apartments, surrounded by cockroaches and welfare babies, taking government handouts funded by hard-working (mostly conservative) Americans.
"She's such a racist." How many times have we heard that among friends, whether it describes a community leader, politician, or relative? That label lets the speaker off the hook, implying that racism is something foreign to her.
Hope is hard to have without its reflection in the faces of others; without realizing that those around us share our just anger, and the dryness at our hearts. This is why advocacy work must be done in concert with others. As people of faith, we have the fullness of our traditions to remind us that loving our neighbor, taking action in her favor, is not something only one of us is called to do. It is a call to all of us.
The attack on a peaceful, prayerful faith community during their morning worship stunned the nation--a nation still struggling with the recent tragedy in Colorado. But how is it that we are shocked, really? After all, awareness of broken families, spirits, and lives as a result of violence is a constant din in our collective consciousness.
In response to escalating violence in our city, Chicago clergy came together on July 23 to call for a weekend of peace and faithful reflection at neighborhood places of worship this July 27-29. Alongside other faith leaders, Rev. Phil Blackwell, PCG's board president and senior pastor at First United Methodist at the Chicago Temple, encouraged all Chicagoans to put their "words into action."
The murder rate in Chicago is up 50% from this time last year, reaching 250 deaths before June's close. Bodies, families, and spirits are broken. Those that live, live in shock. What now? Sojourners has begun a series on this wave of violence, asking contributors who are "on the ground in Chicago working for change" to discuss real, creative solutions to the epidemic.