Archive for the ‘MLK’ Category

Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963

If you have never watched the entire speech, here is a longer version. MLK’s vision was more than just a dream he imagined we could accomplish, and more than what the “American Dream” can provide. Here he stands in the prophetic tradition of announcing the coming of justice, whether we are ready or not. Kings, and nations, and churches, take notice. Our freedom, our destiny, is inextricably bound to those who are denied it.

Also, let me recommend Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and Brian Collier. It’s for kids a little older than mine, although we’ve read it to the young’un and he stays interested.


*The Dream of God is one of Brian McClaren’s suggested translations for “Kingdom” for cultures that don’t have any true context to interpret the idea of monarchy. That would be us. Or, you can just keep talking about it until people figure out what you mean. What is a “medium” at Starbucks again?


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Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968
(Closing only)

If you didn’t get a good enough sermon already today, the links below are the entire Memphis speech, for the cause of sanitation workers, given the evening before King’s assassination. Some of the accompanying slides are a little distracting, but the audio is worth the listen.

Part One

Part Two

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Martin Luther King, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

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MLK’s sermon at the National Cathedral came up yesterday in class, as we discussed the sermons of anti-apartheid pastor Peter Storey. Storey says, “sometimes we let our institutions do our sinning for us.” Here are a few exerpts from King, or read the whole thing, where he stands in our national pulpit and takes on America’s institutional complicity in poverty, racism, and an unjust war in Vietnam.

On those who say change will come with time: “Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

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If you didn’t already take time to hear the Reverend Dr. King speak, it’s always a good day to do it. If you’re not a TV watcher, Larry James posted the text of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on his blog.

When I’ve tried to illustrate what difference the biblical vision makes for how we are Christians in the world, I play the closing section of this speech and compare it to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Both dreamers, but when it comes down to it, Lennon’s vision depends on you and me getting the job done. We’re not the only ones, and God bless John Lennon, but it still isn’t enough. King reminds us that, front or back of the bus, every hill will be laid low and every valley is being exalted. We won’t get anywhere if the roads we’re building don’t match the shifting landscape. And in his dream, those hills and valleys aren’t just metaphorical – they are the topography of America, a place where the Kingdom of God could do a lot of beautiful damage.

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