Daily Archives: January 21, 2013

A Washington Post Editorial–Martin Luther King Jr. Day

It was 50 years ago this August that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. closed his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with his rendering of a dream he had for the country’s future. The soaring final sentences were somewhat extemporaneous ”” he let his emotions and sense of the occasion carry him past parts of the prepared text and on to the right words, concluding with the rousing “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.” It was an exultant moment for much of this country, and in the national memory it has acquired the gauzy image of a happy ending to our long struggle with racial inequality and bigotry. Less vibrant in memory is an image from less than three weeks later: four girls dressed all in white because they were to lead youth day services at their Birmingham, Ala., church, their lives suddenly ended by a racial terrorist bombing.

“During the short career of Martin Luther King Jr., between 1954 and 1968, the nonviolent civil rights movement lifted the patriotic spirit of the United States toward our defining national purpose,” writes Taylor Branch, a chronicler of those years. But it was a hard lifting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(Local Paper) Those who knew civil rights era say younger generation needs to know more about MLK

Today, the people who saw their lives changed in that turbulent time or in its wake say it is their job to keep King’s legacy alive.

“The whole era has taken on less significance than it had,” said Bernard Powers, College of Charleston history professor. “Next month is Black History Month, and he’ll be talked about along with Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, almost as if they were contemporaries.”

Today, more than 30 volunteers from the community ”” black and white ”” will be helping Ruth Ann Carr of James Island build her home. It’s a service day for Sea Island Habitat for Humanity, honoring the iconic civil rights leader on the holiday dedicated to him.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, History, Race/Race Relations

Richard John Neuhaus: Remembering, and Misremembering, Martin Luther King Jr.

As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it”“and I believe he is right”“he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ”˜This is not my first visit,’ I said. ”˜I was born in Alabama”“in Marengo County.’ ”˜Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ”˜then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations

(RNS) Beloved Hymns Carried Martin Luther King Through Troubled Times

At 87, the Rev. C.T. Vivian can still recall the moment, decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

As he stood to conclude a meeting in his Atlanta home, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. joined his activist colleagues in song, his eyes closed, rocking back and forth on his heels.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” they sang, “to make the wounded whole.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations

A Prayer for the Feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, History, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer

Cranmer on Leicester Cathedral Lay Canon Stephen Barney's Daughter's Report for Channel 4 News

This debate will attract an awful lot of media attention: it touches on theology, equality, morality, the governance of the Church of England, and the right separation of powers. One might expect Channel 4 News to have done rather better than get the daughter of the motion’s proposer to write a superficial and thoroughly biased article on the matter.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

CofE Lay Synod Member Sarah Finch Reports from the floor of the House of Laity debate

A significant complaint from Stephen Barney ”“ echoed by others ”“ was that the speech had undermined the speech of the Archbishop-designate, which happened to have come just before it.

But the whole case was built on a false premise, a misunderstanding of the true nature of the Chair’s role. During any debate only the chair of that debate must remain impartial; everyone else, Archbishops included, may speak as they like, in accordance with their consciences. The very idea that an Officer of the Synod may not do so has simply been imagined. It is not true.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou, who givest to thy children liberally and upbraidest not: Preserve us from all envy at the good of our neighbour, and from every form of jealousy. Teach us to rejoice in what others have and we have not, to delight in what they achieve and we cannot accomplish, to be glad in all that they enjoy and we do not experience; and so fill us daily more completely with love; through him in whom thou hast promised to supply all our need, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

–William Knight

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

–Ephesians 4:1-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Notable and Quotable

…I freely admit that, believing both, I have stressed the transcendence of God more than his immanence. I thought, and think, that the present situation demands this. I see around me no danger of Deism but much of an immoral, naive and sentimental pantheism. I have often found that it was in fact the chief obstacle to conversion.

–C.S. Lewis, “Rejoinder to Dr. Pittenger,” in God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 181, from an essay originally published in the 1958 Christian Century

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Faiths, Theology

SanFrancisco 49ers Edge Atlanta Falcons to make the Super Bowl

Congratulations to them.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports

Cranmer: BBC and CofE unite in worship of President Obama

His Grace is all for praying for those in authority – in whatever country, under whatever form of government, of whatever faith. But the Church of England in conjunction with the BBC have gone a little far with the Obamafest broadcast this morning on Radio 4.

Divine Worship came from St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the theme was ‘Learning to Dream Again’, in celebration of President Obama’s second inauguration.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(Barna Group) Most Americans are Concerned About Restrictions in Religious Freedom

From Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from the Inauguration Day prayer, to Hobby Lobby’s refusal to pay for health insurance that covers potentially abortion-inducing medicines, to President Obama’s newly decreed January 16 as “Religious Freedom Day,” the question of religious liberty and just how far it stretches and how much it covers is a media topic du jour.

A new study conducted by Barna Group shows millions of adults””particularly active Protestants””are concerned religious liberties are under threat. The research, conducted in partnership with Clapham Group, included 1,008 adults from across the religious spectrum, representing the nation’s population from the most active to the most skeptical. Here are five observations about the findings….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

A Review of Stephen Cave's Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilisation

In his survey of the subject, Stephen Cave, a British philosopher, argues that man’s various tales of immortality can be boiled down into four basic “narratives”. The first is the simplest, in theory at least: do what the medieval alchemists never managed and discover an elixir to simply avoid dying. The second concerns resurrection, or coming back to life after dying, a belief found in all three of the Abrahamic religions. The idea of an immaterial soul that can persist through death dates back, in a formal form, at least to Plato, and forms Mr Cave’s third narrative. His fourth narrative deals with immortality through achievement, by becoming so famous that one’s name lives on through the ages.

For the aspiring undying, Mr Cave unfortunately concludes that immortality is a mirage. But his demolition project is fascinating in its own right.

Read it all from the Economist.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Eschatology, History, Theology

(RNS) A Profile of Adam Hamilton, Methodist Pastor who will Preach At the National Prayer Service

“The National Prayer Service is an important tradition in the United States,” Hamilton said in a statement released Friday by the Presidential Inauguration Committee. “I am honored and humbled to have been asked to deliver the message for this service as President Obama and Vice President Biden begin their second term.”

Raised around Kansas City, Hamilton was baptized Catholic, converted to Pentecostalism as a teenager and attended Oral Roberts University, according to The United Methodist Reporter.

He later tired of Pentecostalism’s “black-and-white, very conservative theology,” and joined the United Methodist Church after reading its Book of Discipline – perhaps the most unlikely conversion story since Saint Paul.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

(AP) Texas churches help congregants avoid the flu

Texas churches are taking precautions to try to help congregants avoid the flu ”” keeping hand sanitizer at the ready, telling them they can skip the shared communion chalice, and encouraging a bow, nod or even fist bump instead of shaking hands.

As people left a morning Mass on Sunday at St. Rita Catholic Community in Dallas, many stopped at a table in the vestibule to bathe their hands in hand sanitizer. Church leaders also are advising parishioners that they can take just bread for Holy Communion and skip the wine, which is sipped from a shared cup. During the sign of peace when parishioners greet each other, they can nod or bow instead of shaking hands.

“There’s a lot of head bowing or nodding toward your neighbor,” said the Rev. Edwin Leonard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture