His last sermon, on the evening before he was shot down outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered a conclusion that serves well as starting point for 2018. After declaring that America was sick in 1968, facing troubling times, King made this resolution:
Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school—be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.
Nothing would be more tragic than to turn back now, because we have seen the real possibility that, in the middle of this dark night of the American story, a Third Reconstruction is possible. “We made the world we are living in,” James Baldwin said, “and we have to make it over.” Imperfect though we are, we can do this work together in 2018 and move forward toward the more perfect union of our common creed.
Fifty years after Dr. King and many others launched a Poor People’s Campaign to demand a Marshall Plan for America’s poor, inequality in our nation has reached extremes we have not seen since the Gilded Age. As the Dow climbs and the wealthiest Americans get a massive tax break, 15 million more Americans are poor today than in 1968. In the same time period, the rate of extreme poverty has nearly doubled. Because of the systemic racism of voter suppression, which has been implemented in 23 of the nation’s poorest states since 2010, our political system is held captive by extremists who deny workers health care and a living wage, undermine the equal-protection clause of the constitution, attack public education, and encourage poor white people to blame people of color and immigrants for their problems. All the while, more and more of our collective resources are dedicated to a war without end.
-Rev. Dr. Barber
“If we are to remain true to our heritage and who we claim to be, we must stand with DREAMERS. It’s long past time for Congress to pass the #DreamAct Act now!”
-Eric Holder, former US Attorney General
Meditation readings today:
‘I destroy the ignorance-born darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom.’
‘I am resolved today to see the good in everyone and in every event.’
Wait. Even Mitch McConnell? And Ajit Pai? The universe really knows how to lay out a challenge.
Pai is the FCC chair appointed to the commission by President Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was appointed to chair by DT. He’s the one trying to eliminate Net Nuetrality. The five-member commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Science of Mind:
Faith in the justice of the universe is my altar. Up this altar I lay my offering of peace [and kindness].
‘If nothing goes forth from me that can hurt, then nothing can return to me that can harm.’
The humility of the manger is the common place in every person’s life. It is here, in the common place, that we must find the good and, finding it here, we shall also discover that the larger issues of our experience are overshadowed by this same good that we have discovered in the common place.
‘I believe what the self-centered have torn down,
the other-centered will build up.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We need quantitative change in our circumstances, and qualitative change in our souls.”
April 4th, 1968.
300 applicants wanted to serve on the Ferguson commission. The governor of Missouri chose 16. A 21-year-old community activist was one. Rasheed Aldridge. Our millennials want change.
The Huffington Post:
‘Sometimes, especially shortly after the establishment of the commission, protesters and other community members would disrupt meetings to share concerns about the commission simply being a distraction. The commission’s youngest member, 21-year-old Rasheen Aldridge, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he initially thought the commission “was just a way to really not get to the serious issues” but has since changed his mind.’
‘In the early days, he said, “the president (Obama), in my opinion, didn’t really step up to the plate.”
“But I remember when I was invited to the White House and he sat in the room with me and other activists and we talked about race and we talked about change that we wanted to see,” Aldridge said, “I could see in the president’s face that he was tired of having this conversation — that he really wanted to have some change happen.”
“I think after Ferguson, the president, he’s been hitting hard on race recently. And I appreciate it. I understand sometimes it is tough,” Aldridge said.’
Maria Papova/Brain Pickings:
MLK & the Birmingham Jail Letter
‘In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: 1) collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive; 2) negotiation; 3) self-purification; and 4) direct action.’
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
‘History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and give up their unjust posture; but … groups are more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed’
‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’
-Martin Luther King, Junior
‘Not only do we grow as individuals, but humanity itself is also evolving. Though because our individual lives are so short, it’s hard to see it. Imagine staring at a century-old oak tree for a week and trying to see its growth. To see the transformation from acorn to sapling to mature tree we need to see with ‘deep time eyes.’ It’s the same with the human race. We need perspective. Theodore Parker was Unitarian minister and social reformer. Shortly before the Civil War he gave a series of sermons condemning slavery. He said, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways;…I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.’ He knew that the present struggle was part of the healing of our country. It would take time. A century later, Dr. Martin Luther Kin Jr. used this quote to remind us not to lose heart in the work toward equality. As we heal our own hearts and reveal our own light, we help humanity to do the same. As we see our world today, our work is to know the truth of us all. We are learning. We are growing. We are becoming.’
-Rev. Michael Gott