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Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929. The federal holiday in his honour in the United States is the third Monday in January.
King's legacy is a continual inspiration for those seeking an understanding of Christianity which is about personal and social transformation towards the peace and justice that is the prime characteristic of the commonwealth of God.
As Barbara Stanford recalls here (http://bloomsbury.org.uk/church/page/barbara_stanford/), Martin Luther King preached one Sunday for a morning service at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in the 1960s. We are delighted to be developing our partnership with BCBS in 2014. The MLK connection is one of many points of shared understanding.
Meanwhile, here are one or two crystalline thoughts of Dr King, from a variety of sources, which continue to resonate and galvanise in our own changing, confused times:
"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism." - A Time to Break the Silence (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm)
“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. ... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth."
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all [people]. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.”
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
"There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies."
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
“There is no gain without struggle.”
© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia. Twitter: @simonbarrowTweet