If racism manifests itself as violence, we cannot be content simply to dialogue or just to talk over the negative consequences of prejudice. We cannot dismantle racism by fostering cross-cultural awareness. We must find the spiritual courage to speak truth to power, to take a public stand against the institutional evils of oppression. We must not engage in conversation, we must act; we must actively, as Martin Luther King, Jr., put it, strive toward freedom. We must live our truths to transform society.
From Manning Marable’s essay in Black Faith and Public Talk, 78
I’m glad people and technology make these things available. I think Dr. King writes and says many things worth hearing again and again. In this message he talks about a commitment to conscience, higher law, and how we obey what we consider just.
I’ve been reading Leadership Journal for several years. It’s a magazine that’s written primarily for church leaders. Most of the articles are written by pastors and the Journal provides a massive amount of practical material for people doing ministry, particularly in the Evangelical stream.
A little more than a month ago I recommended to a friend that he should suggest that the Journal publish an interview with Gardner C. Taylor. My friend, David Swanson, who writes for the Journal’s blog, Out Of Ur, liked the idea and passed it to the editorial team. He and I have fond appreciation for Dr. Taylor, for his historical significance as a pastor, and for his extreme gifts as a preacher and writer.
We were both pleasantly surprised that the editors took the idea to heart, discussed it with other folks on the magazine’s board, and agreed that it would be a great interview to try to get. My surprise continued when David and I were asked what kinds of things we’d ask Dr. Taylor. Of course, we chimed in, glad that our idea was being pursued.
A week or so went by when the next surprise came. Marshall Shelley, the editor of the Journal, asked me if I’d be interested in participating in the interview, in conducting it with him. You should know that this was no where in my atmosphere when I suggested the article to Leadership. I have a sense of how articles are queried, how they are discussed and decided upon, and getting this opportunity was not in my field of expectation. I was thrilled. I told Marshall I was thrilled. I saw mental pictures of him laughing at me because I was so thrilled.
I was at our denomination’s Annual Meeting, a day or two from being ordained when I saw Marshall’s email. It was a great addition to that week, the thought of participating in an interview with Dr. Taylor. My wife was happy for the same reason I was. My denomination was ready to bestow a life-long credential for pastoral leadership while, at the same time, I was about to participate in a conversation with a man who had served churches in various ways for seventy years, who was a friend to folks like Martin King Jr. and Samuel Dewitt Proctor, who had a love for the Gospel and for the church for which Jesus died, and who spent his life as a consummate communicator. I was looking forward to what was next.
By the way, if you’re interested in learning a bit more about Gardner Taylor, here are two interviews, one more current and one from several years back with the parent magazine of Leadership Journal, Christianity Today:
As other folks find a way to recall the important and significant life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I offer the following quotes from his THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE for your reading discomfort:
Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
This is the generation not only of war, but of war in its ultimate revelation. This is the generation that truly has no place to hide and no place to find security.
Growth requires connection and trust. Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.
A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walk on; it is not man.
As a minister, I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility.